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HISTORY

The working title of this film was The Little Sister.
       Writing in the 15 Sep 1968 LAT, Kevin Thomas visited several Los Angeles, CA, locations during filming and spoke with screenwriter Sterling Silliphant and director Paul Bogart. Silliphant, a fan of Raymond Chandler’s private detective “Philip Marlowe,” realized he could not use much of the dialogue from the 1949 novel, The Little Sister, because it was too “dated” and “literary.” However, despite the film being set contemporarily in 1968, he did not want modern expressions like “‘groovy’ or ‘man’ creeping into the script.” He also changed one of the characters, “Mavis Wald,” from a “starlet” to a beloved television star, because “I don’t see how you could blackmail anybody in the movies today.” Director Bogart sought out vintage locations, including the ornate 1893 Bradbury Building at West Third and Broadway (Marlowe’s office building), the circa 1905 Alvarado Hotel at West Sixth Street and Alvarado (where the ice pick murders were committed), and the 1939 Union Station on North Alameda Street. Among other locations—over twenty in all—were Los Angeles International Airport, the Largo Burlesque on West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, Malibu, and Mount Wilson. The Bradbury Building was also used as private detective “Mike Hammer’s” office in I, the Jury (1953, see entry). Writer Thomas observed that in the novel, Chandler actually based the murders scene on the late nineteenth century Van Nuys Hotel at Fourth and Main streets, but the location scouts mistakenly thought the place, renamed the Barclay Hotel, no longer existed.
       Marlowe marked the feature film debut of Bruce Lee; for more information about Lee’s career, see entry ... More Less

The working title of this film was The Little Sister.
       Writing in the 15 Sep 1968 LAT, Kevin Thomas visited several Los Angeles, CA, locations during filming and spoke with screenwriter Sterling Silliphant and director Paul Bogart. Silliphant, a fan of Raymond Chandler’s private detective “Philip Marlowe,” realized he could not use much of the dialogue from the 1949 novel, The Little Sister, because it was too “dated” and “literary.” However, despite the film being set contemporarily in 1968, he did not want modern expressions like “‘groovy’ or ‘man’ creeping into the script.” He also changed one of the characters, “Mavis Wald,” from a “starlet” to a beloved television star, because “I don’t see how you could blackmail anybody in the movies today.” Director Bogart sought out vintage locations, including the ornate 1893 Bradbury Building at West Third and Broadway (Marlowe’s office building), the circa 1905 Alvarado Hotel at West Sixth Street and Alvarado (where the ice pick murders were committed), and the 1939 Union Station on North Alameda Street. Among other locations—over twenty in all—were Los Angeles International Airport, the Largo Burlesque on West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, Malibu, and Mount Wilson. The Bradbury Building was also used as private detective “Mike Hammer’s” office in I, the Jury (1953, see entry). Writer Thomas observed that in the novel, Chandler actually based the murders scene on the late nineteenth century Van Nuys Hotel at Fourth and Main streets, but the location scouts mistakenly thought the place, renamed the Barclay Hotel, no longer existed.
       Marlowe marked the feature film debut of Bruce Lee; for more information about Lee’s career, see entry for Enter the Dragon (1973).
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Los Angeles Times
15 Sep 1968
Section C, pp. 16-19.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Asst cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gayle hunnicutt's gowns & furs
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Rec supv
Boom op
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec visual eff
Spec visual eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstyles
Hairstyles
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Gaffer
Prop master
Key grip
Stunt supv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler (Boston, 1949).
SONGS
"Marlowe" words and music by Peter Matz and Norman Gimbel.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Little Sister
Release Date:
October 1969
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 22 October 1969
Copyright Claimant:
Katzka-Berne Productions
Copyright Date:
27 May 1969
Copyright Number:
LP37232
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Metrocolor
Duration(in mins):
95
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Private investigator Philip Marlowe is hired by Orfamay Quest to find her missing brother Orrin. He visits a sleazy hotel and questions both the manager and Grant W. Hicks, the current occupant of Orrin's room. Neither can provide any information, and both men are soon found murdered with an icepick. Marlowe is knocked out, but regains consciousness in time to see primetime television actress Mavis Wald flee from the hotel. He searches Hicks's body and finds a claim check for a camera shop, where he picks up some photographs of Mavis making love to notorious gangster Sonny Steelgrave. Marlowe tracks Mavis to her apartment and meets Dolores Gonzales, a stripper and close friend of Mavis, but both are uncooperative. In addition to a threat on his life made by Steelgrave and his henchman, Winslow Wong, Marlowe is harassed by police Lieutenant Christy French, who suspects him of murdering Hicks. Following a new lead, Marlowe calls on Dr. Lagardie and discovers the mortally wounded Orrin, who stabs Marlowe with an icepick before dying. After Marlowe is nursed back to health by Dolores, he tells Orfamay of her brother's death. At Dolores' request, Marlowe goes to Steelgrave's house and discovers Mavis, who is revealed to be Orfamay's sister, sitting next to Steelgrave's dead body. Believing that Mavis is protecting her sister, he lets her go. The following day, Mavis learns that Orfamay and Orrin planned to use the photographs to blackmail her. At the nightclub where Dolores works, Marlowe uncovers Lagardie's association with Dolores and telephones the police. Lagardie arrives before the police, shoots Dolores, and kills ... +


Private investigator Philip Marlowe is hired by Orfamay Quest to find her missing brother Orrin. He visits a sleazy hotel and questions both the manager and Grant W. Hicks, the current occupant of Orrin's room. Neither can provide any information, and both men are soon found murdered with an icepick. Marlowe is knocked out, but regains consciousness in time to see primetime television actress Mavis Wald flee from the hotel. He searches Hicks's body and finds a claim check for a camera shop, where he picks up some photographs of Mavis making love to notorious gangster Sonny Steelgrave. Marlowe tracks Mavis to her apartment and meets Dolores Gonzales, a stripper and close friend of Mavis, but both are uncooperative. In addition to a threat on his life made by Steelgrave and his henchman, Winslow Wong, Marlowe is harassed by police Lieutenant Christy French, who suspects him of murdering Hicks. Following a new lead, Marlowe calls on Dr. Lagardie and discovers the mortally wounded Orrin, who stabs Marlowe with an icepick before dying. After Marlowe is nursed back to health by Dolores, he tells Orfamay of her brother's death. At Dolores' request, Marlowe goes to Steelgrave's house and discovers Mavis, who is revealed to be Orfamay's sister, sitting next to Steelgrave's dead body. Believing that Mavis is protecting her sister, he lets her go. The following day, Mavis learns that Orfamay and Orrin planned to use the photographs to blackmail her. At the nightclub where Dolores works, Marlowe uncovers Lagardie's association with Dolores and telephones the police. Lagardie arrives before the police, shoots Dolores, and kills himself. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.