BBC Radio 4 presents dramatisations of all Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe novels, with Toby Stephens playing Philip Marlowe throughout.
Philip Marlowe is a moral man in an amoral world. California in the 1940s and 1950s is as beautiful as a ripe fruit and rotten to the core, reflecting all the tarnished glitter of the American Dream.
The police are corrupt, the businessmen well-heeled racketeers with politicians in their pockets and their daughters have gone to the bad.
The taxi-drivers, maids and bartenders restore Marlowe's faith in human nature - scratching out a living at the bottom of the pile, Marlowe is there with them, in his shabby office with its cracked sign and no air-con, waiting for the next client to walk through the door.
“the plots - byzantine with their twists and turns, seductions and knock-out punches...”
Alison Hindell, Head of Audio Drama, says: "Classic Chandler is collectors' stuff. The Philip Marlowe stories cover the full range of Chandler's characters including some very tricky women; the crystalline sense of period and place; the plots - byzantine with their twists and turns, seductions and knock-out punches: all are presented together for the first time as a complete set.
Add to that the superbly focussed scripts by Robin Brooks and Stephen Wyatt along with Toby Stephens's sharp interpretation of Marlowe and the result is a memorable experience. And in addition, I found that, although the mood and the tone are definitely noir, the imagination is fired into full colour by these productions. The power of radio."
11.30am-noon, Thursday 3 February 2011
Harriett Gilbert presents a reappraisal of the life and legacy of the man from Upper Norwood who invented the private investigator as we know him. "I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun." Philip Marlowe has become the archetypal American detective anti-hero, yet his creator was educated at English public school, took the Civil Service exam and started a career in the Admiralty. With contributions from writer Sarah Dunant, Professor John Sutherland, David Thomson, and David Fine.
Producer Rebecca Stratford.
Friday 4 February 2011, 2.15-3.00pm
In 1944 Raymond Chandler (Patrick Stewart) and Billy Wilder (Adrian Scarborough) work on a screen adaptation of James M Cain's novel Double Indemnity. Billy Wilder is a 36-year-old German Jewish émigré just making his name as a director and Raymond Chandler is a reformed alcoholic with a developing reputation as a novelist - but absolutely no experience of writing for the movies.
By Stephen Wyatt.
Saturday 5 February 2011, 2.30-4.00pm
Philip Marlowe (Toby Stephens) becomes entangled with the Sternwood family - respectable sister with gambling addiction (Kelly Burke), younger sister with drink/drug problem (Leah Brotherhead) and an attendant cast of colourful underworld figures.
Dramatised by Robin Brooks; director Claire Grove.
Saturday 12 February 2011, 2.30-4.00pm
Derace Kingsley (Sam Dale), a wealthy businessman, hires Philip Marlowe to find his estranged wife Crystal. Kingsley fears that rich, reckless Crystal may have got herself into a scandal and the last place she was known to have been was a resort called Little Fawn Lake.
Dramatised by Stephen Wyatt; director Claire Grove.
Saturday 19 February 2011, 2.30-4.00pm
When Philip Marlowe sees a huge, loudly dressed man casually throwing a bouncer out onto the the pavement as he goes into a bar, he knows it's time to walk away, so he follows him inside. The big guy is Moose Molloy (Richard Ridings), recently released from an eight-year prison sentence and now on the hunt for his old sweetheart, a red-haired nightclub singer named Velma Valento. Marlowe follows a trail which includes a stick-up, blackmail, an irresistable blonde, a psychic, drugs and murder, and it leads him all the way to the top of a corrupt state of California.
Dramatised by Robin Brooks; director Mary Peate.
Saturday 26 February 2.30-3.30pm
Philip Marlowe is hired to tail the mysterious Betty Mayfield (Sarah Goldberg) all the way to the seaside town of Esmerelda, without knowing why or the identity of his employer. It's not long before he realises that he's not the only one on the trail, and that he too is being watched.
Director Sasha Yevtushenko; producer Claire Grove.
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