Film, video and television productions based on the character created by Raymond Chandler:
Director Irving Reis; writers Lynn Root, Frank Fenton; featuring George Sanders, Lynn Bari, Ward Bond
Also called Farewell, My Lovely
Director Edward Dmytryk; writer John Paxton; featuring Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Anne Shirley
Director Howard Hawks; writers William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, Jules Furthman; featuring Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall
Director Robert Montgomery; writer Steve Fisher; featuring Robert Montgomery, Audrey Totter, Lloyd Nolan
Director Paul Bogart; writer Stirling Silliphant; featuring James Garner, Gayle Hunnicutt, Carroll O'Connor, Rita Moreno
Director Robert Altman; writer Leigh Brackett; featuring Elliot Gould, Nina Van Pallandt, Sterling Hayden
Director Dick Richards; writer David Zelag Goodman; featuring Robert Mitchum, Charlotte Rampling, Jack O'Halloran
Director Michael Winner; writer Winner; featuring Robert Mitchum, Sarah Miles, Joan Collins, James Stewart
James Caan's Philip Marlowe plans to settle down with his monied girlfriend in 1998 film.
Oneof the most unusual of Marlowes may be James Caan as an older, more vulnerable Marlowe in the 1998 TV movie Poodle Springs—made from Raymond Chandler's last and unfinished novel, which was completed by crime novelist Robert B. Parker (creator of the Spenser series).
Set in 1963 and with a cute script by acclaimed playwright Tom Stoppard, this is no film noir. In fact, it's almost anti-noir: over-bright, without visible shadows.
However, a more insidious, unnoticed corruption is at work in the west coast's broad daylight.
Director Bob Rafelson, who had earlier remade the film noir classic The Postman Always Rings Twice for the big screen, seems to go out of his way to keep the mood lightly cynical.
James Caan as Marlowe
Caan's Marlowe has lived through the 1940s, 1950s and dawn of the 1960s. Now he is the senior, somewhat tired but good-hearted guy we might expect him to be by then—and married to a young heiress, played freshly by Dina Meyer.
It's a long way from Bogie and Bacall in The Big Sleep, but it presents a respectful, natural progression of the Marlowe character—probably in the direction Chandler himself was taking him.
The plot of Poodle Springs is confused and confusing in the best Marlowe tradition, having to do with blackmail, murder and dirty tricks in the California and Nevada development industry.
Our jaded hero thinks and punches his way through the early sixties' boom before discovering the roots of the evil deeds he's investigating are uncomfortably close to home (also in the best tradition) and involving a crazy dame with a gun (ditto). Happy ending though.
Poodle Springs is not among the greatest Marlowe films but not among the worst either. A nice way to see our hero off into Sunset Boulevard.
At this time of writing it is not available on DVD, as far as I can tell, but it shows up on TV sporadically. Worth catching to bring your Marlowe marathon to a fitting conclusion.
[Update, 2011: Poodle Springs is available in a UK (Region 2) format now that won't play on most North American (Region 1) DVD players, but should be okay on most modern computing devices.]