Last semester, I took a Films and Literature class. A big part of the course was the novels of Raymond Chandler. Philip Marlowe, a character Chandler created, had been the star of many of the books and films we studied. I hated the character at first, but he eventually grew on me. He’s a fantastic stereotype of the film noir detective, and most of the films centering around him are pretty good.
A few weeks ago, in Current Cinema class, we saw The Long Goodbye. It was a modernized version of the Chandler book, and starred Elliot Gould as the hard-boiled Marlowe. One of the main things about the film that I felt didn’t work was Marlowe himself. He was pretty much the same character from the novel, but he was in modern-day Los Angeles. His characteristics felt so out of place, and just didn’t seem to work. He was out of his element, and the world he was in was much different than the one we were used to seeing him in.
That’s why the news today has gotten me a little nervous. ABC is teaming up with producer Sean Bailey to develop a pilot based on the further adventures of Marlowe. Greg Pruss and Carol Wolper are set to executive produce and write it.
Much like The Long Goodbye, Marlowe would be set in present-day Los Angeles. The hour-long show will be a procedural crime drama. At the moment, there are no plans to adapt Chandler’s novels for use in the show.
Bailey said that Marlowe will be “a detective show, but very much a character-based one. He’s a guy who can travel in the highest echelons of power and the darkest and dirtiest corners of the city, (and will still) get his ass kicked every once in a while.”
Staying true to the noir form, we can expect to see classic femme fatales and wealthy individuals, always at Marlowe’s heels.
While a part of me is excited about a film noir-ish show coming to television, another part of me is still thinking of The Long Goodbye. Hopefully the writers find some sort of happy medium to the character, so he doesn’t feel so out of place in Los Angeles.