Where’s Marlowe? (1998)

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Two flies on the wall of the PI’s office!
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US / 99 minutes / color with some bw / Western Sandblast, H2O Paramount Dir: Daniel Pyne Pr: Clayton Townsend Scr: John Mankiewicz, Daniel Pyne Cine: Greg Gardiner Cast: Miguel Ferrer, Mos Def, John Livingston, Allison Dean, John Slattery, Elizabeth Schofield, Barbara Howard, Clayton Rohner, Miguel Sandoval, David Newsom, Olivia Rosewood, Kirk Baltz, Bill McKinney, Heather McComb, Wendy Crewson.

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A mockumentary in much the same spirit as Rob Reiner’s Spinal Tap (1985) but focusing not on rock but on another supposedly glamorous profession, that of the noirish private eye.

The last documentary made by A.J. Edison (Livingston) and Wilton “Wilt” Crawley (Def), a three-hour epic called Water in the Apple: How New Yorkers Get their Water, was a tad unsuccessful—to euphemize. “I don’t believe you can cover a topic of that magnitude in less than three hours,” according to A.J. “And I don’t care what the festival people say.”

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A.J. (John Livingston) and Wilt (Mos Def) spy on some sinful canoodling.

(As an aside, the notion that the story of New York’s water supplies is an inherently boring topic seems rather askew. It’s a fascinating tale, and I’d happily watch a documentary about it. Okay, maybe not a documentary three hours long.)

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Joe (Miguel Ferrer) fancies himself as a screen personality.

And so they go in search of a subject that might have greater commercial potential . . . which leads them to the LA detective agency Boone & Murphy Inquiries and an agreement to make a documentary about the day-to-day operation of their business. One partner, Joe Boone (Ferrer), is very keen on Continue reading

Red Wind (1995 TVM)

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A fine, and often overlooked, Philip Marlowe incarnation
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US / 60 minutes / color with bw credits / Mirage, Propaganda, Showtime Dir: Agnieszka Holland Pr: Stuart Cornfeld, William Horberg Scr: Alan Trustman Story: “Red Wind” (1938 Dime Detective) by Raymond Chandler Cine: Robert Brinkmann Cast: Danny Glover, Kelly Lynch, Dan Hedaya, Ron Rifkin, Miguel Sandoval, Nick Sadler, Ralph Ahn, Bennet Guillory, Tyrin Turner, Valeria Golino.

Red Wind 1995 - 0 opener

This was the final episode of the HBO/Showtime series Fallen Angels (retitled Perfect Crimes when shown in the UK), created by William Horberg, which ran for two seasons, in 1993 (six episodes) and 1995 (nine episodes). The stories were based on works by classic or, in a couple of cases, modern masters of the hardboiled. Most of the episodes were about a half-hour long; this series envoi runs for double that.

The Santa Ana—the Red Wind—is covering everything and everyone in Southern California with dust, not least PI Philip Marlowe (Glover). Seeking relief in a beer in a near-deserted bar across the street from the hotel where he lives, he has his evening ruined when the drunk at the end of the bar, Al (Sadler), suddenly stands up and puts a bullet through the head of a guy called Waldo Ratigan (Guillory), who has just stormed in looking for a blonde in a bolero jacket.

Red Wind 1995 - 1 Lew Petrolle welcomes Marlowe to his bar

Lew Petrolle (Tyrin Turner) welcomes Marlowe to his bar.

The bar owner, Lew Petrolle (Turner), calls the cops, who arrive in the form of the savage, corrupt, bigoted Detective-Lieutenant Sam Copernik (Hedaya) and his good-cop counterpart Detective Ybarra (Sandoval). Copernik’s a bull whom it’s easy to dislike; not only does he rob Waldo’s corpse of all the money and valuables he can find on it, he has strong opinions, as he tells Ybarra: “What is this town coming to? A spic cop and a nig private detective.”

Red Wind 1995 - 2 Copernik examines Marlowe's credentials

Copernik (Dan Hedaya) examines Marlowe’s credentials.

Having told the cops all he knows, Marlowe is on the way back to his hotel room when he runs into the blonde with the bolero jacket, Lola Barsaly (Lynch). He advises her to keep out of things, and she takes refuge in his room. She’s there when Continue reading