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Joel Silver & Warner Bros. Bringing Back Ross MacDonald’s Lew Archer Novels With ‘The Galton Case’

Written by on November 1, 2011 

Fans of hard-boiled detective novels – and the movies they’re made into – worship at the altar of Raymond Chandler (The Long Goodbye, The Big Sleep) and Dashiell Hammett (The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man), but unless you’re seriously into noir, the name Ross MacDonald is often skipped. MacDonald wrote a series of highly praised private eye yarns featuring a SoCal detective named Lew Archer.

Two of Archer’s eight adventures were filmed (with Archer’s name changed to Lew Harper, for whatever reason) as Harper in 1966 and The Drowning Pool in 1975, both starring Paul Newman as the gumshoe. Now, Deadline reports that The Matrix and Sherlock Holmes super-producer Joel Silver is reviving the series with Warner Bros., staring with the eighth novel of the series, The Galton Case.

Silver Pictures and Random House Films will team on the film, with RHF head exec Peter Gethers joining the holder of the series’ rights, Stephen White, to produce. Here’s a synopsis of this particular novel, via Amazon:

Almost twenty years have passed since Anthony Galton disappeared, along with a suspiciously streetwise bride and several thousand dollars of his family’s fortune. Now Anthony’s mother wants him back and has hired Lew Archer to find him. What turns up is a headless skeleton, a boy who claims to be Galton’s son, and a con game whose stakes are so high that someone is still willing to kill for them.

MacDonald’s universe was a little weirder than Hammett’s or Chandler’s, with a lot of kinkier stuff
going down in the shadows. There is evidently no screenwriter attached to this project yet, but I’m hoping they stick to the book’s time period rather than update the story to the present (see the horrible, updated Marlowe TV series).

What do you think of this potential franchise? What star could make a good private eye these days?

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