This, the second adaptation of Raymond Chandler's novel, is much closer to the source text than the original - Murder, My Sweet (1944), which tended to avoid some of the sleazier parts of ... See full summary »
Adam Hayward (Robert Montgomery), a successful New York City defense lawyer, receives a cable that the British war buddy who saved his life at Anzio Beach is now in trouble with the law in ... See full summary »
A private detective is hired to retrieve a valuable antique coin that was stolen from its owner by her son, who used it to pay off a blackmailer. The private eye soon finds himself up to ... See full summary »
The camera shows Phillip Marlowe's view from the first-person in this adaptation of Raymond Chandler's book. The detective is hired to find a publisher's wife, who is supposed to have run off to Mexico. But the case soon becomes much more complicated as people are murdered. Written by
Ken Yousten <email@example.com>
The first-person camera technique used by Robert Montgomery is known as "subjective camera," and had not before been employed in this manner beyond the first few minutes of a film (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in 1931, by pioneering director Rouben Mamoulian.) See more »
During the office party scene, the group sings "Jingle Bells" but the key shifts suddenly in the middle of the song, probably due to two takes being joined together. See more »
Out of the many Marlowe novel adaptations, this must be one of the closest to the spirit of the original. Unfortunately Chandler himself does not seem to have had the opportunity to contribute to the screenplay - although there are plenty of Chandleresque wisecracks. The film, unlike most of the other adaptions reflects the original author's full dislike of the cops (although the tough police chief having to answer a telephone call from his daughter during an interrogation is an unusual appeal for the viewer's understanding), and mistrust bordering on pathological hatred of women (I suspect that the ending is an uncharacteristic 'cop out' to assuage the producer's or popular taste). Director/star Robert Montgomery shows great self-restraint by appearing only briefly in the action. When he does show himself, mainly in mirror-reflections, the star appears (as in that other great latter day film noir, China Town) battered and bruised and not at all flattering. The plot is suitably twisted and confusing - just like the novels. And the concept of timing the whole dark affair against the backdrop of the Christmas holidays only emphasises the bleakness of the subject matter. Incidentally the idea of continuing the opening titles' jolly Christmas carol chorus in darker, more disturbing tones throughout the soundtrack is fascinating and I think unique. Audrey Totter (whatever happened to her?) makes a very sexy femme fatale. And as she plays most of her lines to camera we are seduced just as protagonist Marlowe. On top of that, her gowns are absolutely magnificent examples of forties chic. Lloyd Nolan deserves special mention as a superb heavy. What a wonderful example of Hollywood film noir.
38 of 45 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?