Source:The Daily Review
“In Vulture’s video series, Expert Witness, we ask scientists, historians, and other professionals to give Hollywood movies a good old-fashioned fact-check.
Private eyes are one of Hollywood’s greatest legacies. From the likes stone-cold Philip Marlowe to bumbling clown Gene Parmesan, private detectives have long been a source of drama, comedy, and everything in between. But would a real PI really break through a window to get evidence? Would they really ride a bus to avoid being tailed? We talked to veteran New York City private investigator Michael McKeever to expose some of the biggest movie myths about private eyes.”
From New York Magazine
Private eyes are one of Hollywood’s greatest legacies. From the likes stone-cold Philip Marlowe to bumbling clown Gene Parmesan, private detectives have long been a source of drama, comedy, and everything in between. But would a real PI really break through a window to get evidence? Would they really ride a bus to avoid being tailed? We talked to veteran New York City private investigator Michael McKeever to expose some of the biggest movie myths
This video gets off to a perfect start for me at least in the first few seconds with a clip from The Big Sleep with Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart. Because you have Slim and Bogie together in the same movie, but when I think of great movie detectives I start with The Big Sleep with Bogie playing private eye Phil Marlowe in that great film noir movie.
Bogie plays a guy who is simply out to do his job and solve the case that he’s working on and doesn’t play the saint or devil in that movie, but a guy who is a lot more complicated than that who plays a no nonsense ( except for the great quips and wisecracks ) detective who is working on a case. And of course Lauren Bacall, is Lauren Bacall I would watch her driving a bus in a movie simply to watch her because she’s Lauren Bacall and a chance to see her gorgeous, adorable, sharp witty self doing anything.
And I think Michael McKeever is right where he says that you can’t assume the truth and that people are telling you the truth that what private eye and police detectives have in common is that they have to know what’s going in the case and know about the important players and the key evidence, simply because it’s their job. The detective profession is the last of the romantics and idealists where you would find people who are always looking for the best out of everyone and everything they see. Similar to reporters it’s their job to know exactly what’s going and make the best possible case about the case that they’re working on and then to report to who they’re working for whether it’s a private citizen or organization or a detective lieutenant or sergeant exactly what they found out.
When I think of great movie detectives I think of Humphrey Bogart and James Caan who both played Phil Marlowe, but in different movies. Bogie, played Marlowe in The Big Sleep and Caan played Marlowe in a not nearly as famous movie Poodle Springs from 1998. Where they both play guys who are simply out to do their jobs and aren’t looking to change the world and are very unromantic with who they go about their business.
The great TV and movie private detectives go about their business and do their jobs. This is their assignment, this is the important facts and evidence, these are the important players in the case. And it’s their job to find out what happened and how it happened and then report what they found out and turned up back to the people they’re working for. My two favorite TV detectives are Joe Mannix ( from Mannix ) and Jim Rockford ( The Rockford Files ) for the exact same reasons.
I think the main problem with current TV private eye shows and movies is what Michael McKeever ( New York City real-life private detective ) is talking about which gets to realism. When you’re talking about Hollywood they have TV shows and movies to sell and for them to do that they have to be popular and for them to be popular they have to be cool or awesome. And for that to happen their characters have to be cool or awesome with a lot of young viewers.
And for that to happen that means their shows and movies might have to look unrealistic with heavy usage of new technology, expensive style and taste, a lot of violence, the detective physically getting involved with one of the key players in the case, heavy focus on their perusal lives, etc or young hipsters won’t be into the show or movie. Back in the day these shows and movies were less fashionable, but better simply because they were more believable and the actors and material was also much better.