Philip Marlowe, Private Eye

HBO (ended 1986)


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Philip Marlowe, Private Eye

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"I put the duster away folded with the dust in it, leaned back and just sat, not smoking, not even thinking. I was a blank man. I had no face, no meaning, no personality, hardly a name. I didn't want to eat. I didn't even want a drink. I was the page from yesterday's calendar crumpled at the bottom of the waste basket." - From Raymond Chandler's The Little Sister

Welcome to the Philip Marlowe, Private Eye guide at!

This series was HBO's first original dramatic series, and it starred Emmy Award winner Powers Boothe (Sin City, Deadwood, Tombstone, 24) as Raymond Chandler's legendary private detective. Each episode was adapted from a Chandler short story. This series features some of the only instances that certain Chandler stories have been translated to the screen.

The series aired on HBO in the 1980's. In 1998, HBO produced a movie based on Chandler's novel Poodle Springs, starring James Caan as Marlowe.

The entire series is available to own on DVD from Goldhil Media.moreless
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  • The definitive on-screen Philip Marlowe

    Emmy Award winner Powers Boothe joined the club of actors who have played Raymond Chandler's legendary private detective Philip Marlowe with this 1980s HBO series. He stands in impressive company (Dick Powell, Humphrey Bogart, Danny Glover, Elliot Gould, James Caan and Robert Mitchum, among others), and it's a testament to his strengths as an actor that he is easily the best to take on the part.

    Of course, it helps to have such a strong series backing him up: a period piece that doesn't feel dated and one that is based on Chandler's short stories that continue to hold up today as great fiction. With behind the scenes talent including Peter Hunt (editor on the Sean Connery James Bond films and director of On Her Majesty's Secret Service) and titles by Maurice Binder (also of the 007 films), the production is top-notch all around. Throw in a cast of guest actors who can handle Chandler's purple prose dialogue and you have the makings for some excellent television.

    One wishes the entire Marlowe canon could have been tackled by this team, but on the plus side, we got filmed versions of some of the lesser known stories and get 11 hours of Powers Boothe breathing life into literature's most famous and influential private investigator. Recently, ABC's plan to produce a modern-day Marlowe series fell through. Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise. Marlowe and Chandler belong to a certain time, and efforts to "soften" the character wouldn't be true. Philip Marlowe works because of who he is and how he acts, something the minds behind this series understood implicitly.moreless