During the film noir boom of the '40s and '50s, cinematic private eyes were a dime a dozen. But there was one who rose above the rest and that was Philip Marlowe, author Raymond Chandler's hardboiled detective who was portrayed by Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep. Others have played Marlowe since then, and now it's Liam Neeson's turn to give it a shot.
Neeson is set to star in Marlowe, from a spec script written by The Departed's William Monahan. The story is adapted from The Black-Eyed Blonde, a new mystery published by author Benjamin Black in 2014. Here's a synopsis for the book:
“It was one of those summer Tuesday afternoons when you begin to wonder if the earth has stopped revolving.” So begins a new novel featuring Philip Marlowe — yes, that Philip Marlowe. Channeling Raymond Chandler, Benjamin Black has brought Marlowe back to life for a new adventure on the mean streets of Bay City, California. It is the early 1950s, Marlowe is as restless and lonely as ever, and business is a little slow. Then a new client is shown in: blond, beautiful, and expensively dressed, she wants Marlowe to find her former lover. Almost immediately, Marlowe discovers that the man’s disappearance is merely the first in a series of bewildering events, and soon he is tangling with one of Bay City’s richest — and most ruthless — families.
No word on a director or even what studio this will end up at, but I don't know how much of a demand there is for the return of Philip Marlowe. Having Neeson on board helps, obviously, and what director he's paired up with will go a long way in forecasting the movie's prospects. I would have said the time to revive the film noir genre was 2005 when we got Brick from Rian Johnson and Robert Rodriguez gave us Sin City. The time may have slipped by, though.