Monday, July 6, 2015

Philip Marlowe Movie Week: The Brasher Doubloon

Hey cats, welcome to the scene that is Day 1 of Philip Marlowe Week. We don't take no eggs laying their meat hooks on our dolly birds. You jake with that??!!

Sorry just digging the slang. This time around Marlowe has been called out to Pasadena to a manor of impressive proportion for a wealthy widow for what appears to be a simple snatch and grab case but as usual, simple is never the likelihood in Marlowe's life. This is The Brasher Doubloon.

Ahh Cryptkeeper!! Oh, it's just you Mrs. Murdock.

Marlowe (George Montgomery of Orchestra Wives, Cimmaron City, Samar and Battle of the Bulge) is treated to clip and rude behavior on the behalf of the loaded widow Mrs. Murdock (Florence Bates of Rebecca, Portrait of Jennie, On the Town and A Letter to Three Wives) who speaks of the Brasher Doubloon, a rare and extremely valuable coin from her now late husband's collection. Hinting about the identity of the thief but refuses to tell Marlowe who, Marlowe has had about enough of her screwy behavior. Merle (Nancy Guild of Somewhere in the Night, Black Magic, Little Egypt and Lux Video Theatre) practically pleads for Marlowe to take the case and states Murdock isn't all that bad and has been quite generous to her as an example. Reluctant to even look into the case, Marlowe returns to his office to find a gunsel name of Eddie Prue (Alfred Linder of The House on 92nd Street, Canon City, Guilty of Treason and The Invisible Boy) who tries to strong arm him away from the case and invite him to see his boss but Marlowe too fast and smart for our thug, tosses him on on his ear.

Elisha Cook, you get up right now!

Taking the case out of spite and suspecting Murdock's wet smack of a son, Marlowe interrogates Leslie (Conrad Janis of Aiport 1975, The Happy Hooker, Mork & Mindy, Sonny Boy, Murder, She Wrote and Bad Blood) finding his company about as enjoyable as a root canal but can't get a firm grasp on the little greaseball. He then visits a coin dealer by the name of Elisha Morningstar (Houseley Stevenson of Native Land, Dark Passage, Moonrise and All That I Have) who tells Marlowe he did in fact glance at the coin in question and did inform Mrs. Murdock that someone attempted to sell it but is holding out for a bit more lettuce before he gives up the name. Marlowe realizing this canary won't sing, sneaks out but stays within ear shot as Morningstar gets on the blower and gabs with a shamus name of George Anson. Finding his whereabouts, Marlowe drops in on Anson only to find him resting... in peace.

With a body on the ground, Marlowe knows this is linked to the coin and has to duck the cops for confidentiality's sake alone regardless what an ass his client is. Finding the coin at a pawnshop Marlowe prepares to head to his client with Merle calls him telling them Mrs. Murdock found the coin and that he is let go from the case. Before he can really make heads or tails (COIN JOKE) of the situation gunsel bright boy brought a playmate with him, saps Marlowe and drags him off to gambler/casino operator Vince Blair, insisting that the coin is belonging to him because of such arrangements. Between pummels, a dead body or two and avoiding getting on the bad end of black jack, Marlowe has his work cut out for him?

Who else has to die for this coin? What isn't Mrs. Murdock saying?

A few points about the film now. This adaptation hails from Chandler's novel The High Window. Interestingly enough the flophouse was the Gladden Apartments where Raymond wrote the novel which it is based on, lived there for 30 prior the film was shot at.  Fred MacMurray, Victor Mature and Dana Andrews were all at one point cast for Marlowe when the studio settled for George Montgomery as his final flick under his 20th Century Fox contract. Seems almost flattering.

This film almost seems like a remake of the 1942 film Time to Kill which was a Michael Shayne P.I. film, so not sure what happened there.

Hmm?  Sorry didn't hear a thing you were saying, I was glancing at your boobs.