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Summary

Toby Stephens stars in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of Raymond Chandler’s final completed Philip Marlowe mystery.

Fast-talking, trouble-seeking private eye Philip Marlowe is a different kind of detective: a moral man in an amoral world. California in the ’40s and ’50s is as beautiful as a ripe fruit and rotten to the core, and Marlowe must struggle to retain his integrity amidst the corruption he encounters daily.

In ‘Playback’, Marlowe is awakened early in the morning by a phone call from a lawyer. Clyde Umney instructs him to meet the eight o’clock train from Chicago, and shadow one of the passengers.

The lady in question, Eleanor King, is beautiful, classy and clearly unhappy. Obediently, Marlowe follows her - all the way to Esmerelda, where she’s going under the name Betty Mayfield and being leaned on by a cheap blackmailer.

Stuck doing a sneaky job for people he doesn’t like, Marlowe feels even grubbier than usual: and he’s soon in more trouble than usual too as he comes up against gangsters, hard men and a hitman...

Starring Toby Stephens, this exciting dramatisation retains all the verve of Chandler’s last novel.

©1958 Raymond Chandler Limited (a Chorion company); 2011 AudioGO Ltd

What members say

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Too short for the price

I have been devouring this series over the past week and this one comes in wanting on both plot and character development. Still a treat to hear more of TS and his particular brand of PM.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • angeline
  • birmingham, United Kingdom
  • 26-09-12

toby stephens is excellent

i was very impressed with the exceptional quality of this version of raymond chandler's 'playback'; the music, sound effects and actors were top level and added to the entertainment. i especially enjoyed the superb voice of toby stephens - i felt that he nailed the complexity and character of philip marlowe, and made him sound truthful, human and attractive. well done on a good production... i have been a long-time fan of the marlowe radio adaptations starring the late great ed bishop, but i am sorely tempted to revisit them with toby stephens in the lead role! scandalous!!

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  • Rollin
  • 15-11-11

Hard hitting Chandler. Great radio listen

I've come to enjoy Audible's growing offerings of radio dramatizations. This one is very well performed, retaining the grittiness and fast dialogue of the great Raymond Chandler. Highly recommended for old noir fans.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cheryl Waters
  • 14-07-11

The British View of Philip Marlowe

The only complaint about this production is its brevity, as the Brits interpret Chandler's 1940's view of Southern California. Very good value when purchased during any of Audible's many sales.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Marek
  • 25-01-13

Marlow the Great

Would you listen to Raymond Chandler: Playback (Dramatised) again? Why?

I did in fact do that several times already and will be back again.
Beautiful story, the character that is unforgetable, tough guy with short speech not eager for the money. That is what I do not see a lot around myself

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The plot is one thing. The atmosphere is the second. Attitudes of characters is third. All of these are keepinng on the edge of your seat.
You do not want to go to work...

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have listened and/or have read all of them. This is probably the shortest but very mature

Any additional comments?

I would like to hear not abbriged version made in the same way