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James Caan as the new Philip Marlowe

James Caan takes on Philip Marlowe

Web posted on: Monday, July 27, 1998 5:58:50 PM

From Correspondent Ron Tank

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Hard-boiled detective Philip Marlowe is back, this time in the form of James Caan. The actor is playing the lead role in the newest film in the Marlowe series, "Poodle Springs," which is airing on HBO.

"Poodle Springs," the story of a devious plot to move the border of Nevada, takes its name from the movie's location in the desert.

Caan is not the first actor to take on Chandler's short talking, no-nonsense Marlowe character. Nevertheless, he cautions viewers not to look for anyone else in his portrayal.

Formerly Philip Marlowe

"You know what, I did not look at any of the old Marlowes," Caan says -- adding, "Of course I remember Bogart, you know, in 'The Big Sleep.'"

The history of Philip Marlowe: The hard-boiled detective was played by Humphrey Bogart, Dick Powell and Robert Mitchum

In 1946, Humphery Bogart took the role in Raymond Chandler's first novel of the popular series. Dick Powell, who some say was the best Philip Marlowe, played the part in "Murder My Sweet." And Robert Mitchum recreated that story in "Farewell, My Lovely." Marlowe was a single man in all those films. This time he's married.

Dina Meyer plays the role of Marlowe's old lady

'Night and day'

Dina Meyer plays Marlowe's wife. The part is a far cry from her role in "Starship Troopers."

"Oh my god, night and day, night and day," says Meyer. "In this particular film, it's all about the acting. It's about the dialogue between the actors. It's all about the script."

The style of lighting, mood and period harkening to the 1940s has become known as "Chandleresque." Last year's Oscar nominee "L.A. Confidential" capitalized on the look. If "Poodle Springs" successfully captures that in its 1960s time period, look for another Marlowe classic.

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