A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
This adaptation of the Raymond Chandler novel 'Farewell, My Lovely', renamed for the American market to prevent audiences mistaking it for a musical (for which Powell was already famous) has private eye Philip Marlowe hired by Moose Malloy, a petty crook just out of prison after a eight year stretch, to look for his former girlfriend, Velma, who has not been seen for the last six years. The case is tougher than Marlowe expected as his initially promising inquiries lead to a complex web of deceit involving bribery, perjury and theft, and where no one's motivation is obvious, least of all Marlowe's.Written by
Mark Thompson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Nat Pendleton is in studio records/casting call lists as a cast member, but did not appear in the film. See more »
In several scenes with elevators, there are no thresholds, the floors are simply flat, and elevator doors are simply that, doors. See more »
You know, I think you're nuts. You go barging around without a very clear idea of what you're doing. Everybody bats you down, smacks you over the head, fills you full of stuff... and you keep right on hitting between tackle and end. I don't think you even know which SIDE you're on.
I don't know which side anybody's on. I don't even know who's playing today.
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Based on the novel Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler, Edward Dmytryk's film adaptation Murder, My Sweet is one of the essential works in the genre of film noir. The film stars one of Chandler's most famous characters: private detective Philip Marlowe (Dick Powell) has been arrested and explains his story to the police in a flashback. Everything started when Marlowe is hired by a tall, violent man named Malloy (Mike Mazurki) to track down a woman. He is also approached by a rich family to investigate the theft of a valuable jade necklace, but Marlowe soon realizes that there is more at stake than just jewellery. Can anybody be trusted, when everyone from the family's daughter Ann (Anne Shirley) to a self- proclaimed psychic named Amthor (Otto Kruger) seems to be reaching for their own personal goals?
Describing Murder, My Sweet is like listing the characteristics of film noir in general: shadowy and starkly contrasted black & white cinematography, morally ambiguous characters, snappy dialogue... All the traditional noir elements work fine in the movie, but what Murder... is probably best remembered for is the surreal dream sequence and its drug-hazed aftermath that powerfully capture the sense of confusion and weakness in front of an overpowering opponent. The striking imagery of the sequence is actually so effective that it somewhat overshadows the other scenes that are largely dialogue-driven. The arguably confusing plot is full of twists and turns that further underscore the unpredictable nature of the world the film is set in – it can be said that the mood is equally important to the plot.
Dick Powell plays the lead role quite lightly and doesn't come across as tough as some other noir detectives. The final scene would actually fit better in a romantic comedy, but for the most part Powell can pull the hard boiled image off well enough. Of the supporting actors the most memorable ones are the menacing Mike Mazurki as the easily angered (if slightly cartoonish) "Moose" Malloy and Ralf Harolde as the calm Dr. Sonderborg whose indifferent attitude during the drug sequence makes the scene all the more devoid of hope.
Even though film noir hasn't become one of my favourite types of cinema, Murder My Sweet is a rather enjoyable crime story on its own right. As one of the most notable examples of the genre, it is a good starting place for noir novices and essential viewing for any experienced fan of the genre, in case there are any noir enthusiasts that have yet to see it.
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