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"Marlowe" - (DVR-on Demand)
Wayne Klein
Studio: Warner Home Video/On Demand
Release Date:
Special Features:

Trailer Rated: PG


"This is Philip Marlowe leave your message after the tone..." If "Marlowe" had opened with these lines I wouldn't have been surprised in the least even though it was made four years before "The Rockford Files". "Marlowe" based on one of Raymond Chandler's lesser known novels entitled "The Little Sister". Writer Sterling Sillipant and director Paul Bogart give us an update bringing the story into the swinging 60's. The screenplay by Sillipant ("In the Heat of the Night")keeps the basic elements of Chandler's story and while the direction is a bit pedestrian the performances especially star James Garner, Carroll O'Connor, William Daniels, Rita Moreno and a supporting turn by Bruce Lee prior to his leap (pardon the the movie and you'll understand)make for an enjoyable mystery/thriller. ***

Working on a missing persons case for a young woman (Sharon Farrell), Marlowe finds two of his potential leads dead with ice picks buried in their necks. He suddenly finds himself on the receiving end of an assault and threats for a case that suddenly takes a vicious turn. ***

Garner always had natural charisma and screen presence. It worked just as well on the big screen as the little one and with Marlowe he finds a nice balance between the cynical, humorous characters that were his forte and he still finds something unique to bring to the screen in his portrayal of Philip Marlowe. It may lack the world weary cynicism that was a highlight of Robert Mitchem's performance in Farewell My Lovely but it more than makes up for this with Garner's charm--WE can see why someone would want to hire Marlowe even if his seedy office suggests that he's just a bum. ---

Image & Sound:

Warner Archive has done a nice job on this DVD-R on demand. The print does contain speckles and there's some dirt and grit visible during the opening titles (no surprise)but, on the whole, the print looks quite nice even if there hasn't been any attempt to restore the film. Detail is nice and while the image occasionally veers on the soft side "Marlowe" looks quite nice for a 42 year old movie. ***

Audio sounds quite good with dialogue coming through nice and clear. It's a pity that there are no subtitles though as the likely audience for this movie would probably appreciate it. ---

Special Features:

The only special feature included is the original trailer for the movie.

Final Words:

While the film is a bit dated, it's a delight to see Garner in the role as Marlowe. Sillipant alters the material so that the role of Marlowe fits Garner like a well tailored suit. O'Connor and Moreno give terrific supporting turns that help elevate the material. ***

Recommended for fans of Garner, vintage late 60's films and Raymond Chandler. "Marlowe" may not be a perfect movie but this minor 60's classic is still an enjoyable flick.


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