Lobby Card for The Big Sleep: Best of the Chandler Adaptations
To date, I have seen most of the Hollywood films based on Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe private investigator novels; and I suspect that these are the best of the bunch. Several of them I have seen multiple times. They are listed below in alphabetical order:
- The Big Sleep (1946) from Warner Brothers, starring Humphrey Bogart as Marlowe. Directed by Howard Hawks based on the novel of the same name. ***
- The Brasher Doubloon (1947) from 20th Century Fox, starring George Montgomery as Marlowe. Directed by John Brahm based on The High Window.
- Lady in the Lake (1947) from 20th Century Fox, starring Robert Montgomery as Marlowe. Directed by Robert Montgomery (who played Marlowe) based on the novel of the same name. *
- The Long Goodbye (1973) from United Artists, starring Elliott Gould as Marlowe. Directed by Robert Altman based on the novel of the same name.
- Marlowe (1969) from MGM, starring James Garner as Marlowe. Directed by Paul Bogart based on The Little Sister.
- Murder, My Sweet (1944) from RKO, starring Dick Powell as Marlowe. Directed by Edward Dmytryk based on Farewell, My Lovely.
There are several other films, including two starring Robert Mitchum as Marlowe; but they are of more recent vintage and directed by nonentities. I hope to see them anyway.
Lobby Card for Lady in the Lake, with Robert Montgomery and Audrey Totter
The asterisks denote my favorites: The Big Sleep; Murder, My Sweet; and Lady in the Lake. I also liked The Brasher Doubloon. Essentially, my favorites were all made in the 1940s. By the 1960s, I think that we were too far away from the atmosphere of the original novels.
Lobby Card for Murder, My Sweet with Former Crooner Dick Powell as a Convincing Marlowe
Who was my favorite Marlowe? I guess I would have to go with Humphrey Bogart. My other favorites—Dick Powell, George Montgomery, and Robert Montgomery—also turned in creditable performances. Lady in the Lake was a particularly bravura performance by Robert Montgomery, who also directed. In fact, the camera was in most scenes shot from the point of view of Marlowe—with the exception of some mirror shots and a brief prologue and epilogue.