Former footballer and present private detective Harry Moseby gets hired on to what seems a standard missing person case, as an aging Hollywood actress whose only major roles came thanks to ... See full summary »
A boat has been destroyed, criminals are dead, and the key to this mystery lies with the only survivor and his twisted, convoluted story beginning with five career crooks in a seemingly random police lineup.
This, the second adaptation of Raymond Chandler's novel, is much closer to the source text than the original - Murder, My Sweet, which tended to avoid some of the sleazier parts of the plot... See full summary »
Former footballer and present private detective Harry Moseby gets hired on to what seems a standard missing person case, as an aging Hollywood actress whose only major roles came thanks to being married to a studio mogul wants Moseby to find and return her stepdaughter. Harry travels to Florida to find her, but he begins to see a connection with the runaway girl, the world of Hollywood stuntmen, and a suspicious mechanic when an unsolved murder comes to light. Written by
Gary Dickerson <email@example.com>
Where do you know Arlene from?
From way back.
Oh, yeah? What's your name again? Ziegler? Joey Ziegler?
I don't think you were one of the names.
One of those she cheated on Grastner with. I got them all.
I'm one of a small, select group. We hold meetings in a telephone booth.
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This is the perfect role for Hackman as the aging sports star unable to find his role in life once the playing days are over. He is the accidental jock, too sensitive to play the stereotype and so finding no sense of belonging. He has become a detective but he is a bumbling amateur compared to a Philip Marlowe type. He is shy and hestitant and is frequently made to feel discomfort by the seedy, untrustworthy people he comes into contact with. He has none of Marlowe's self assurance. It begs the question why has he become a detective? Maybe it is partly due to his abandonment by his father who years later Hackman tracks down only to fail in confronting him. He is condemned to search for people to whom he is of no importance.
This idea of the lonely seeker is Hackman's own turf. His affable charm conveys a sense of a lifetime's wrongheaded idealism. In the wrong job, deluding himself, looking for a way out. Eventually, he is able to see clearly and see how his drifting has allowed the people around him to manipulate him in their games. Unlike many of this film's peers such as 'Chinatown', 'Taxi Driver', 'The Long Goodbye', we are not left to be slightly repulsed by the lead actor's ways. Hackman plays the everyman character as an affable, amateur sleuth whose hestitancy and chronic lack of commitment give him a fallibility more recognizable to an audience.
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