A long time ago I learnt a valuable lesson in life. Don’t sweat the opportunities that you miss as they have gone and you can’t get them back, just move on and wait and try to grab the next one. However, when you are reminded of one of those opportunities and how close you came to having one in the palm of your hands it can really sting, I mean REALLY sting. (more…)
You have probably heard the saying “opinions are like butt-holes, everyone has one”. That is pretty much my feeling towards critics, be it music, film or book. Even though I have dabbled in said line of writing and this post could be construed a critic of Iron Maidens new album, I still think that the only opinion of a piece of art should be yours, so don’t listen to a critic unless they have paid for the coffee first. Listen to what your heart tells you about what you are observing. Here endeth the lesson.. now on to the good stuff. (more…)
In what seems to have become an annual type of thing the BBC are redoing a series of plays by a single author. This year seems to be Raymond Chandlers year as they have just started their Classic Chandler series with a new version of The Big Sleep.
The BBC’s previous outings of Chandlers hard boiled PI came from the late 70’s to mid 80’s and would quite possibly be called definitive by purists. I, on the other hand, feel that the earlier adaptations are a little light and not as gritty as 2011’s version aired today. It remains to be seen if the rest of the series sticks to this darker telling of Chandlers work.
I must admit I have seen nor read any of Chandlers work. I say never, if I have seen it it’s not stuck with me. I must remedy this at some point. Maybe after the run of radio shows this spring I may seek them out at the local Library and see if my point of view is valid and if this new version is more akin to the books or if the earlier versions are more true to the source material.
In this version Philip Marlowe is played by Toby Stephens. Stephens has a pretty impressive body of work to look back on. If you click the link I have put with his name it will take you to the Wikipedia page for Toby and you can see he is quite in demand. He leads the cast well and is not chewing the scenery as I thought he could have if not handled right. After all Philip Marlowe is a pretty iconic figure in Modern Literature and the fine line between believability and hamming it up with a corny American accent was always there. In this case he doesn’t do it. It’s quite an understated performance that carries the plot and play forward at it’s own pace.
One thing that did bother me about this version is that it seemed to start off quite slowly. It seemed to take an age to establish itself and get going. I knew I was going to write this review before I listened to it, So i went in listening out for accents and pacing and that is possibly the only thing I can fault this production on. Hopefully now they have established Stephens as Marlowe the rest of the plays (three more in February and then the rest of the Marlowe stories in the Autumn) they can pick up the pace from the outset and start off all guns blazing.
All in all I think it’s noble that the BBC are bringing the next generation of radio listeners retelling of classic modern literature. If you want to listen to the BBC’s other versions just keep an eye on BBC Radio 7’s schedules they replay the four that Ed Bishop did quite often.
You can listen to The Big Sleep for the next 7 days on the BBC Listen Again feature here.
The pictures are always better with radio as they say and Philip Marlowe is bought into the light again with surprising flair. Give it a go, you may just get hooked.
Be Safe and Be Lucky