A BBC production, presented with all 3 parts.
Featuring Ed Bishop as Philip Marlowe.
Wealthy general Sternwood, is in his last days, well into his 70’s, and wants Philip to protect his daughters from blackmail. Carmen is a minor, and always seems to be hanging around in the nude. But that’s the least of her problems. Vivian, or Mrs Rusty Regan, is in her 20’s, more mentally balanced, but holds her secrets close to the vest. What happened to her husband, that the general was so fond of? Though most people figure that Philip is hired to find Rusty, his blackmail inbestigation sends him on a path to a book store owner, and a former bootlegger turned night club owner. Before the episode is over, bodies appear, disappear, and are found again. What does the murder have to do with the blackmail? Should Marlowe be worried about why Rusty is missing?
Is it any surprise that the typically nude Carmen is involved with a smut book racket. That means porn, in our modern day lingo. All she wants is to get her pictures back. Connections are made between the body, and Carmen being a wreckless shooter. Philip needs more answers, and puts the squeeze on Joe Brody about the smut books. Before Geiger is found, the body count rises. Cops are brought inm and though the case seems closed, Marlowe could be in risk of losing his license. For now the DA sends him home to get a good nigght’s rest. Is it as simple as that? A jealous lover? Marlowe still has some burning questions, and thinks there are embarrassing loose ends that the cops, and the DA are overlooking. Answers could lie in Vivian’s gambling habits, but we also haven’t seen the last of the nude Carmen yet either. No pun intended.
In search for answers beyond closing the blackmail scam, Philip digs into the motives behind it. What really did happen to Rusty Regan? Justice and fate conspire to kill off guilty parties, a matter that doesn’t worry Marlowe much, since they deserved it anyway. As Philip closes the gap on the connections of Carmen’s pictures, Bivian’s gambling, and night club owner Eddie Mars, he finds himself with a thump on the head. Body counts rise, and Philip might be one of them if he can’t get free of his bonds. Now that he knows how to kick the lid off the big steaming mess, will Marlowe live long enough to do anything about it? It’s a neat trick to ambush a killer, when you’re tied to a chair.
In epilog to the story, Marlowe comes full circule to confront the general with the latest findings. Has the case been solved, or not? Did he really want Marlowe to find Rusty, or not? The deadly, and mentally unstable Carmen gets the promise of help. I hope that includes clothes too. Vivian also comes clean about her gambbling, and relationships.
None today, it’s a long show. Just some opening comments about where this series comes from.