Marlowe (1969)

marlowe_5Starring James Garner, Gayle Hunnicutt, Carroll O’Connor, Rita Moreno, Sharon Farrell, William Daniels, H.M. Wynant, Jackie Coogan, Kenneth Tobey, Bruce Lee, Christopher Cary, George Tyne, Corinne Camacho, Paul Stevens, Roger Newman

Directed by Paul Bogart

Expectations: Low.

twostar


It’s never a great idea to watch the movie version of a book right after you read it, but yet I can never help myself from doing just that. Like almost every other Raymond Chandler adaptation, Marlowe misses the mark by quite a bit. It’s a shame, too, as I think they really could have had something good here if they didn’t inject a bunch of corny bullshit into the novel’s tight plotting. At the broad level, though, the film is a pretty fair and faithful adaptation of The Little Sister‘s plot. It hits many of the novel’s events in basically the same way, even making use of many lines of Chandler’s dialogue. But while it may bring most of the plot to life, it does so without a single shred of the novel’s tone, an offense far worse than changing a plot point or adding something corny.

One of the finest aspects of The Little Sister is how beaten and downtrodden Marlowe has become. It was the fifth Marlowe novel, and over the course of the novels his character becomes more disillusioned with Los Angeles and the shit he’s always dealing with. Marlowe in The Little Sister is the same witty, sharp detective he always was, but instead of being a leg up, he’s almost always playing catch-up. Unfortunately, Marlowe doesn’t attempt to replicate any of this version of Marlowe, instead giving him a cocky smile, a happy relationship with a girlfriend(!!!), and a swanky jazz score whenever he does something “cool.”

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Run of the Arrow (1957)

runofthearrow1Run of the Arrow (1957)
AKA Hot Lead, Yuma

Starring Rod Steiger, Sara Montiel, Brian Keith, Ralph Meeker, Jay C. Flippen, Charles Bronson, Olive Carey, H.M. Wynant, Neyle Morrow, Frank DeKova

Directed by Samuel Fuller

Expectations: High. Sam Fuller.

fourstar


This review officially marks the halfway point of my Sam Fuller series. It’s a little crazy that it’s taken me this long to only get halfway through, but I’m attacking it with newfound vigor and strength so I hope to complete it by year’s end. We’ll see. Anyway… Run of the Arrow! A truly impressive movie on so many levels, Sam Fuller once again crafts a yarn unlike any other I’ve seen, even among his own films. Every film I’ve seen of his is unique and thought-provoking, and Run of the Arrow is definitely one that brings up many questions. It’s a film about war, disillusionment, race and tolerance, and the road it travels to explore each of them is very unique.

Customary for a Sam Fuller film, the story opens excellently. Dead bodies rest on the smoking fields of battle and blood-red titles fade on-screen to let us know that it is the final day of the Civil War. A Union soldier rides lazy and confused through the battlefield. A gunshot sounds, and the soldier falls from his perch atop the horse. A rebel stands from a crouch behind a wagon wheel. He loots the soldier’s pockets and eats his food, using the man’s chest as a table. But when the soldier makes a tortured sound, the rebel finds the compassion within him to take him to a doctor’s tent that just so happens to be right outside the house where General Lee is surrendering to General Grant. The rebel is disgusted and refuses to accept the rule of the Yanks, so he leaves his family and rides west. There he meets up with a wandering Sioux named Walking Coyote, and his personal journey truly begins.

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