Sunday, January 1, 2012
Philip Marlowe - Private Detective
Raymond Chandler’s immortal private eye Philip Marlowe would once again make a return to radio. This time the BBC adapting Chandler's first 6 novels (The Big Sleep, The High Window, Farewell My Lovely, The Lady in the Lake, The Little Sister, and The Long Goodbye). UK-based American character actor Ed Bishop took on the role of Marlowe in these 90-minute presentations which would be produced and broadcast between 1977 and 1988. Bishop's voice takes a bit of getting used to in the role of Marlowe but once that happens his performance is actually quite good. The production of these 6 Marlowe stories is very enjoyable and well worth listening to. The only downfall to these productions is that the female voices don't always fit the parts. Often times the women sound much older than the character being portrayed. This exception aside, these are very well made dramas.
In 2011 the BBC would once again commission the production of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe novels. This time producing all eight of his works (The Big Sleep, The High Window, Farewell My Lovely, The Lady in the Lake, The Little Sister, The Long Goodbye, Playback and Poodle Springs which was finished 30 years later by author Robert B. Parker). Toby Stephens would take on the role of hard-boiled P.I. Philip Marlowe and bring his own brand of toughness to the role. Stephens fits the part well and does the character justice. These productions are crisp, sharp and filled with kick your door in, knock your teeth out adventure. Marlowe fans will find these productions most enjoyable. The only downfall to this series is the sound effects. They're mixed well but the sound engineer missed on many of the period effects. Cars, trains, guns and at times telephone sound effects are often not from the era of the Marlowe stories. Anyone who's ever heard a 38 Packard or an Oldsmobile, Buick, Ford or Chevy from the 30s, 40s or 50s knows it doesn't sound like a Toyota or a Fiat. Most listeners probably won't notice these sounds being from the wrong time period but those with a trained ear will pick up on it immediately. Voice casting for this series was very good and the female voices were exceptional. Marlowe fans should be very pleased with the BBC's efforts to capture the essence of the hard-boiled detective created by Chandler.