Posts tagged TV

”I’m a sucker for long legs. I wanted to shinny up one of hers like a native boy looking for coconuts.”

Great profile of SNL genius Phil Hartman on Grantland this morning.  It includes a mention of his hardboiled spoof character Chick Hazard.  Hazard only appeared a couple times on SNL, I think.

UPDATE: Check out Chick Hazard making an appearance in Hartman’s SNL audition.

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I recently lamented the lack of recent Marlowes.  Well, The dearth was not so dire as I thought.  Since then, I stumbled upon this Japanese adaptation of The Long Goodbye from earlier this year.  
The five-hour miniseries is quite good, and very faithful to Chandler’s novel.  The addition of a milquetoasty reporter as a sidekick and third-person narrator is a bit clunky at times.  Why not just use first-person narration?  But Tadanobu Asano is excellent as Marlowe, here renamed Banji Masuzawa.  Asana strikes all the right notes as a detached, stubborn private detective.  The miniseries is set in postwar Tokyo (which bore a passing resemblance to Blade Runner, evidently), and the postwar Japanese context is woven through Chandler’s plot in an intriguing fashion.  Don’t expect a film noir aesthetic à la Dick Powell or Humphrey Bogart, but this Long Goodbye is a sumptuous period piece that doesn’t lack for good production values.  More importantly, noir fatalism (sorry, Penzler, Raymond Chandler is noir) was explicit and implicit throughout the series.
I don’t speak Japanese, so I’m not sure how closely the dialogue matches Chandler’s tough-guy prose.  The subtitles were not Chandler-level material—but what is?  I’m not sure if Chandler’s telegraphic prose would make sense in Japanese anyhow.  
All in all, a worthy Marlowe adaptation.  

I recently lamented the lack of recent Marlowes.  Well, The dearth was not so dire as I thought.  Since then, I stumbled upon this Japanese adaptation of The Long Goodbye from earlier this year.  

The five-hour miniseries is quite good, and very faithful to Chandler’s novel.  The addition of a milquetoasty reporter as a sidekick and third-person narrator is a bit clunky at times.  Why not just use first-person narration?  But Tadanobu Asano is excellent as Marlowe, here renamed Banji Masuzawa.  Asana strikes all the right notes as a detached, stubborn private detective.  The miniseries is set in postwar Tokyo (which bore a passing resemblance to Blade Runner, evidently), and the postwar Japanese context is woven through Chandler’s plot in an intriguing fashion.  Don’t expect a film noir aesthetic à la Dick Powell or Humphrey Bogart, but this Long Goodbye is a sumptuous period piece that doesn’t lack for good production values.  More importantly, noir fatalism (sorry, Penzler, Raymond Chandler is noir) was explicit and implicit throughout the series.

I don’t speak Japanese, so I’m not sure how closely the dialogue matches Chandler’s tough-guy prose.  The subtitles were not Chandler-level material—but what is?  I’m not sure if Chandler’s telegraphic prose would make sense in Japanese anyhow.  

All in all, a worthy Marlowe adaptation.  

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If you give your word, that’s it. There’s no renegotiating in Brooklyn. 

Never complain, never explain. 

Privacy is dead. Get over it.

There’s an NYPD detective I knew when I first started out. You’re supposed to carry your firearm with you at all times—on duty, off duty. He didn’t; he only carried when he felt like it, and he always dressed like an undertaker. We encountered some ferocious guys on this one case, and he handled it without a gun. How you present yourself is critical. You can never let that slip. 

You’re always on your own. If you rely on people to do the right thing, you’re screwed.

Don’t be a well-rounded person. Be a jaddegy-edged, pointy, acute-angled person.

Unless you’re going undercover, always overdress.

When Winston Churchill was on safari in the jungle, he would put on a tuxedo after six. Because, in his eyes, you were supposed to be wearing evening clothes after six. He was in the jungle—he could’ve been naked for dinner! You have to live by your own rules, by your own sense of propriety, your own sense of right and wrong.

I may have to tune in to this guy’s show.  Sounds like he’s got the hardboiled code down pat.

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Enough tobacciana for now.  There will be more, I promise.  Unless I’m hit by a truck today.  But let’s not indulge those morbid thoughts too much.  Let’s think about happy things.  Raindrops with roses.  Whiskers on kittens.  Warm woolen mittens that melt into spring.  And all that jazz.

While we’re on the subject of my favorite things, let’s talk about horology.  Watches.  This beautiful vintage number was on the wrist of P.I. Stuart Bailey in 77 Sunset Strip.  Sterile, uncluttered dial.  No need to brag about the watch’s manufacturer.  If you made it, go ahead and brag.  If you’re just wearing it, you don’t get much credit.  

But ol’ Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., gets credit for good taste.  Look at the watch hands.  Quarter after eight.  In the evening, natch.  The perfect amount of shirt cuff showing.  The elegant, masculine watch.  He isn’t affected.  He isn’t trendy or fashionable or stylish.  He isn’t trying to be.  He might be timeless.  But he isn’t trying to be that, either.

Bailey is functional.  Ready to sit down for a cocktail.  Ready to charm a lady.  Ready to punch a shyster out.  He’s a man.  He’s dressed like a man.  He’s ready to do everything a man needs to do.  That’s why he gets credit for the watch.

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I haven’t tracked down any episodes of Griff, so I can’t comment on the short-lived PI series starring Lorne Greene (of Bonanza and Battlestar Galactica fame).  But Greene sure made for a natty private eye.

I haven’t tracked down any episodes of Griff, so I can’t comment on the short-lived PI series starring Lorne Greene (of Bonanza and Battlestar Galactica fame).  But Greene sure made for a natty private eye.

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Watching the first episode of Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond.  Dominic Cooper looks nothing like Fleming, but let’s hope for the best.  You gotta love this picture of the real Fleming.  Nothing like a gun and bow tie.  I’ll even forgive him the short sleeves.
Despite all the “shaken, not stirred” business, Fleming (and Bond) drank quite a bit of bourbon.  Naturally, I have a few fingers of bourbon in a tumbler (that’s an old-fashioned glass, not this site) to accompany my viewing.  I’ll report back with more after I’ve seen more of the miniseries.

Watching the first episode of Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond.  Dominic Cooper looks nothing like Fleming, but let’s hope for the best.  You gotta love this picture of the real Fleming.  Nothing like a gun and bow tie.  I’ll even forgive him the short sleeves.

Despite all the “shaken, not stirred” business, Fleming (and Bond) drank quite a bit of bourbon.  Naturally, I have a few fingers of bourbon in a tumbler (that’s an old-fashioned glass, not this site) to accompany my viewing.  I’ll report back with more after I’ve seen more of the miniseries.

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I’m not sure if I buy Joe Mantegna as a Bostonian.  Still, this was a decent telefilm. Mantegna is arguably closer to Parker’s Spenser than Robert Urich was.

I’m not sure if I buy Joe Mantegna as a Bostonian.  Still, this was a decent telefilm. Mantegna is arguably closer to Parker’s Spenser than Robert Urich was.

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thelamplightersserenade said: Which Marlowe did you prefer? Bogart or Powell?

Bogart over Powell for me.  But as much as I love the Bogart hero, there is little in Bogie’s portrayal of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe to differentiate two very different characters.  My favorite Marlowe on screen is Powers Boothe from HBO’s Philip Marlowe, Private Eye.

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Han Solo, P.I.?

A clever mash-up of Star Wars and Magnum, P.I.  I would watch it!  

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PBS was showing The Beatles’ whimsical/psychedelic/bewildering Magical Mystery Tour this weekend.  Known mostly as an LP in the US, it is just now being shown on American television.  The hourlong special is quite interesting to see, especially if you are a fan of The Beatles or Sixties esoterica.

But Magical Mystery Tour also features the colorfully-named Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band singing their song “Death Cab for Cutie.”  The emo band would later adopt the song’s title for their group, but I wouldn’t hold that against the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.  ”Death Cab for Cutie” is a striptease in Magical Mystery Tour, and it’s one of the more intelligible sequences from the film.  The clip above is from another TV program, but the striptease scene is worth a look if you can find it (I couldn’t find it online).

Most importantly, the title is deliberately pulpy.  ”Death Cab for Cutie” is borrowed from Richard Hoggart’s pop culture expositional The Uses of Literacy.  Once you separate it from sensitive emo nonsense, “Death Cab for Cutie” belongs above a lurid cover illustration.  So give a listen, you’re not likely to regret it.

A rainy night.  A cutie.  A cab.  A hint of betrayal.  A warning.  The retro doo wop crooning fits the pulpy title perfectly.  And the refrain is relentlessly noirish: “Someone’s gonna make you pay your fare.”

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