Murder, My Sweet (1944) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
128 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
An excellent Phillip Marlow film...with an odd ending
MartinHafer3 February 2008
This is the second filming of Raymond Chandler's novel, "Farewell My Lovely". Oddly, the first version was made just a few years ago and was a Falcon series film--with George Sanders instead of Phillip Marlow. While Sanders was quite dapper and sophisticated, he was nothing like the hard-boiled and sarcastic Marlow. Despite this, it was still a dandy film and it actually stayed closer to the original story in some places--particularly the ending (which, oddly, MURDER, MY SWEET screws up). I've also seen the Robert Mitchum version made in the 1970s, and while it's good, overall MURDER, MY SWEET is the best of the three film versions.

Perhaps the best thing about MURDER, MY SWEET is how well Dick Powell fit into this tough guy role. While in the past he was known as a "pretty boy" and a song and dance man, here he is all sarcasm--much like Bogart's rendition of Marlow in THE BIG SLEEP and Robert Montgomery's in THE LADY IN THE LAKE. All three veteran actors did a great job at catching the character, though (and I know this will sound like heresy), I liked Montgomery's version the best--he took sarcasm and being a total jerk to a level the other two didn't quite reach. I'm sure some of this was due to Montgomery, but having excellent writers also helped a lot.

As for the movie, like the other two versions I mentioned (THE FALCON TAKES OVER with a score of 8 and FAREWELL MY LOVELY also an 8), it is rather sanitized. Marlow is a smart-aleck--not quite as cold and hard-bitten as he is in the book and the Black neighborhoods and prostitutes and all are somehow missing or look amazingly Hollywood-ish. However, given the censorship codes of the time, you can't blame the first two films from changing the plot--at least in some places--otherwise the film never would have been shown!

Now despite these problems, this is a wonderful Film Noir picture---with a complicated but excellent plot, very good acting, writing and direction and it can't help but keep your interest. For a Chandler novel, you can't get much better even with its mistakes and omissions (though I still think LADY IN THE LAKE is a tad better--but not by much--both are 9s).

By the way, with a few negative story elements you might wonder HOW I still could give this film a 9. The dialog and suspense were so good, even with a few problems, it's a dynamite film.
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One night of murder that one won't forget
TheLittleSongbird24 April 2019
Love film-noir. Get a lot of enjoyment out of the Philip Marlowe stories by Raymond Chandler. Of which there have been many decent to great adaptations of. Haven't seen enough of Edward Dymytryk's films yet to judge him properly as a director, but the films that have been seen have been hit and miss but with no bearing on him and more the films overall. Was interested yet curious in Dick Powell's casting and wondered as to whether he would pull it off.

Was not disappointed at all in 'Farewell, My Lovely' (aka its original title 'Murder, My Sweet', as has been pointed out the film was re-named to that title to avoid confusion of an already existing title for a musical). It is a great film and very nearly one of the finest examples of film noir. Also find it one of the best adaptations of the Philip Marlowe stories and in no way disgraces Raymond Chandler at all. It is not as ahead of its time as the original story, but does incredibly well considering the censorship limitations in creating a film that was both highly suspenseful and highly entertaining, plus it is still hardly tame, far from it. As proven by a dream sequence brought on by heroin injection.

Hardly anything to fault 'Farewell, My Lovely', though maybe the ending could have been rounded off a little bit more. That is a nit-pick though. Do agree with those who say some of the story is messy from getting over-complicated in places but it didn't bother me hugely.

Visually, on the other hand, one cannot believe that 'Farewell, My Lovely' was shot apparently in forty four days when it looks so much better than many films that took significantly longer to make. In fact, of all the films seen recently it's one of the best looking, the dark, gritty atmosphere literally dripping off the screen, the photography captures the mood perfectly. The music is recycled but doesn't sound it at all, nothing cheap about it at all and it fits rather than being at odds.

'Farewell, My Lovely' is superbly directed by Dymytryk, who always keeps the story interesting, doesn't allow the atmosphere to dip, is alert yet accomodating and directs with style and taste. Of the films seen of his, this is his best film and contains his best directing. The script is taut and while there isn't any extraneous fat or rambling things are not skimmed over. The story is not perfectly executed, but when it comes to delivering on the suspense and grit 'Farewell, My Lovely' is a masterclass. The mystery keeps one guessing with many of moments that one does not predict at all, and there is a lot of unsettlement and fun action. There is also some of the most effective use of the voice over device for any film seen recently (and ever) by me, one that adds to the storytelling and makes it clearer while not over-explaining.

Powell is cast against type, usually associated with light-hearted musicals which this as one can guess is a far cry from, this is his grittiest role perhaps and there was curiosity as to whether he would work in a tough guy role or whether he would be anaemic. To my, and many people's, surprise, Powell turned out to be perfectly cast, one of his best performances and it was like seeing a completely different Powell. Mike Mazurki is effectively intimidating and couldn't have been a more ideal Moose Malloy, while Claire Trevor's Velma is unforgettable.

In summary, truly terrific. 9/10
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
That couldn't be the same fellow
bkoganbing5 September 2005
When I was a lad back in the 1950s I saw one of those Warner Brothers Busby Berkeley items on television and my father remarked that was Dick Powell. I thought he was pulling my leg, that sappy tenor singing those love songs, Dick Powell? I was used to the Powell who hosted Four Star Playhouse and acted in them every so often.

My reaction was the reverse of what the movie going public must have thought back in 1944 when Murder My Sweet was released. Here was Dick Powell, no make up, a five o'clock shadow, and a voice down an octave and very cynical and jaded as Philip Marlowe.

Raymond Chandler's private detective has been hired by two people, Gargantuan Mike Mazurki to find his missing girl friend and lovely Claire Trevor to locate a stolen jade necklace. The coincidences keep piling up and it's obvious the two cases are related, but how. That you have to watch the movie for.

Powell was some revelation as Philip Marlowe. He considered himself very lucky to finally escape typecasting as so very few in Hollywood do. It would have been nice to have been in the Oscar sweepstakes, but in 1944 no one was going to beat Bing Crosby out that year for Going My Way. Another singer/actor who escaped from musicals and lengthened his career was John Payne. I can't think of any others.

Claire Trevor also broke some casting mold here. Usually she played good time girls, but with a heart of gold. From Stagecoach, Key Largo, Honky Tonk and Man Without a Star, those were usually her type role. Here she's unredeemably bad, but she has a whole lot of men jumping through hoops for her. I don't think she was ever this bad on the screen ever again.

The mores of 1944 dictated that the film not get to specific on certain items. There were references to gay males and lesbians quite explicit that later did appear in Robert Mitchum's version in the 1970s that were exorcised here. But the spirit of Chandler's novel comes through.

I'm not sure Dick Powell is the best Philip Marlowe ever on the big and small screen. But he certainly has his champions and I wouldn't want to take sides in that debate. He's just very very good.

So good in fact that in the 1950s lots of fans were remarking, was he really ever in musicals?
52 out of 63 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Densely-plotted hardboiled crime
Leofwine_draca25 July 2015
FAREWELL, MY LOVELY is a dyed-in-the-wool film noir production featuring everyone's favourite hardboiled private detective Philip Marlowe on the trail of a missing girl. With Dick Powell's dogged detective as the lead, the rest of the character list is populated by a mix of backstabbers, villains, henchmen, conmen, and femme fatales, and just keeping track of the complexities of the storyline is a job in itself.

Still, the film benefits from Edward Dmytryk's solid direction which enlivens the film with atmosphere and some fun suspense scenes, a lot of them involving characters skulking around or getting beaten up by a seven foot tall bad guy. There are some good performances here from the likes of Otto Kruger and Mike Mazurki, and FAREWELL, MY LOVELY proves a solid example of the detective genre as a whole.
2 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
sets a fine example
SnoopyStyle15 May 2019
Private detective Philip Marlowe (Dick Powell) got blinded by an incident and is being interrogated by the police about some murders. He had been hired by dim-witted giant Moose Malloy who was recently released from prison after eight years. He lost track of his lounge singer girlfriend Velma Valento. Marlowe easily tracks down club owner Jessie Florian who tells him that Velma is dead but he suspects that she's lying. He is hired by Lindsay Marriott to protect him while he buys back some stolen jewelry. Marlowe is knocked out while his charge gets murdered. After reporting it to the cops, he is approached by Ann Grayle whose family had lost the jewels. Her father had remarried to the much younger Helen.

This is a nice noir crime drama. This brings a new wave of pulp crime drama along with The Big Sleep, Double Indemnity, and others. The only big issue is Dick Powell himself. His face is too soft. He lacks the darker edge except for one moment when he got scruffy. He needs a world weary look but he looks more like an accountant. He's a perfectly good actor otherwise. It's just his looks don't scream noir. Mike Mazurki is a great Moose. He's actually a little funny. The other performances are good. This sets a fine example of crime noir.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Puzzlement of Raymond Chandler
Hitchcoc9 August 2017
Someone seeing this might think it's clichéd. But this is representative of the underpinnings of clichés. This is true Noir with the wisecracking detective, played by Dick Powell, the girl, pure of heart, in trouble, and the blond who is like a powder keg. Throw in police who hate private detectives and you've got it all. The plot is quite complex but the lines are outrageous and clever, the ever nonplussed Marlowe delivering most of them. The object is a jade necklace worth a hundred thousand (probably a million in today's valuation). This is enough to get people killed and betrayed. It moves along nicely and has all those wonderful moments. It's too bad Raymond Chandler didn't write more books that were adapted for Hollywood.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Complex and Mysterious Story
claudio_carvalho21 September 2016
The private detective Philip Marlowe (Dick Powell) is hired by the violent and stupid Moose Malloy (Mike Mazurki) to seek out his former girlfriend Velma Valento. Moose spent eight years in prison and lost contact with her. Marlowe goes to the night-club where Velma worked but the owner died years ago; then he visits the widow that tells that she does not know Velma. However Marlowe finds a photo of Velma and the woman says that she is dead. On the next morning, Marlowe is visited in his office by a man called Lindsay Marriott (Douglas Walton) and he offers US$ 100 to Marlowe work as his bodyguard in an isolated area where he will pay an amount to retrieve stolen jewels. However things go wrong and Marriott is killed and Marlowe is hit on the head and faints. Marlowe goes to the police station to report the murder; the detectives ask if he knows a man called Jules Amthor (Otto Kruger) and to stay away from the man. Marlow meets Ann Grayle (Anne Shirley) in his office asking about the murder posing as a reporter. She brings him home and introduces his wealthy old father Leuwen Grayle (Miles Mander) and his young wife Helen Grayle (Claire Trevor) to him. Marlowe learns that a rare and expensive jade necklace was stolen from Helen when she was dancing with Marriott and Leuwen hires him to retrieve the jewel. When Marlowe is leaving the house, he stumbles upon Amthor. Then Moose forces Marlowe to go to Amthor's house and he drugs Marlowe trying to find where the necklace is. When Marlowe succeeds to escape, he starts to think to solve the puzzle. Who might have stolen the jade necklace? What happened with Verna Valento?

"Murder, My Sweet" is a complex film-noir with a mysterious detective story. The plot has many details and the viewer must pay attention to them. The plot begins with the private detective Philip Marlowe seeking out a vanished girl; switches to the investigation of a stolen jade necklace; and ends entwining the investigations. The romantic conclusion is entertaining. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Até a Vista, Querida" ("See You Later, Darling")
9 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Murder, My Sweet
Prismark1031 March 2016
Philip Marlowe might always be associated with Humphrey Bogart.

This first adaptation of Farewell my Lovely, directed by Edward Dmytryk with suitably film noir lighting by Harry J Wild who creates a dangerous shadowy world.

Dick Powell plays the hard boiled tough talking private eye Philip Marlowe hired by a recently released ex-convict Moose Malloy to find his girlfriend Velma. The case may sound simple but it leads Marlowe to a complex web of lies, deceit and danger.

I expected this film to have aged badly but was surprised by how much I enjoyed the film, it is edgy and hard hitting in places.

It was very well adapted from Raymond Chandler's novel and nice to see another take on Marlowe from that era played by a different actor.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The second version of the story and the best, with atmospheric direction, tough dialogue, convincing characters and great performances
bob the moo4 December 2004
Phillip Marlowe is tired and resting in his office when Moose Malloy comes to visit him and hire him as a private detective to investigate his former lover, Velma, who has gone missing in the past 8 years that Moose has been in jail. Without a great deal of luck early on, Marlowe takes another case, escorting a Mr Marriott. When Marlowe is knocked out and Marriott murdered, things begin to get more confusing. With the police suspecting him of being involved more than he is letting on, Marlowe investigates further, getting involved in other jobs for clients who want to find Moose Malloy for some reason. Murder follows murder as Marlowe finds himself right in the middle of it with only his link to Moose keeping him alive.

Having recently seen a strange telling of this story in 'The Falcon Takes Over' I decided to go back and see the most famous version. Of course this actually involves going forward in time (the Falcon did it first by almost two years) but it is certainly a step up in quality as this version is much, much better since in the first version it was used as plot fodder within an existing formula. I have not read the book but for me everything works really well here with the right mix of plot, character and atmosphere. As I have admitted before, I'm not the smartest of men on this earth and, as a result, I do get confused by some of this type of film where the twisty plot is not that well explained (The Big Sleep always has me a bit spun) and here at times I was a bit unsure of who was what, but this comes good by the end and is clear with a satisfying ending to the piece. The atmosphere is tough considering the period and is more effective for being built tough on the characters and not by just writing lots of F words into the script. Dmytryk directs really well with the time honoured shadow and use of music, the camera also moves well even if some of the shots look a bit dated (well – it has been sixty years this year you know).

The characters are well-written and convincing. Marlowe is a dead beat – cool but not so tough and together that it takes away from his status as being a downbeat. Powell is not someone who leaps to mind when I think about the noir genre but he is very good here and gets the character really spot on. Mazurki makes Malloy his own with a firm performance that shows Moose to be strong but also manipulated by the love he totally believes in. Trevor is very good, as are Shirley and Kruger. The dialogue is sharp and tough and all of them do really well with the lines and the characters they have (making them more than pigeon-holed genre clichés) but the film mostly belongs to Powell.

Overall this is a very good film and is miles better than the first filmed version of this story. The film is atmospheric and looks great; the story is not afraid to risk losing the audience and is smart but pulls it all together and didn't lose me totally at any point. The dialogue is tough and quotable and is delivered by a collection of actors giving good performances, headed up by Dick Powell, doing his best to make us think of him first when we think of this story and the character of Marlowe.
47 out of 60 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Jewel of the Musical becomes the Rhinestone of the Detective Story.
mark.waltz20 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
As America wrapped up its four years of World War, a more cynical Hollywood began putting together films with more serious methods of storytelling, a crisp new formula called "film noir". There had been tidbits of film noir going back to the silent era, and even as early as 1932 with "I am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang", Hollywood began telling darker stories with brooding anti-heroes, sexy femme fatals and creepy supporting characters looking in the background. There were a few early examples of the upswing of this genre, but it wasn't until 1944 that the era of Film Noir truly began, exploding with such masterpieces as "Laura", "Double Indemnity", "The Phantom Lady" and this dark look at the world of Philip Marlowe with former musical star Dick Powell in the part, moving on to the third phase of his career, having been more the light-hearted non-singing leading man during the early war years and now much more serious.

"Murder My Sweet" is actually a remake of one of the "Falcon" films, told much darker here, with Powell initially seen being blindfolded and interrogated by cops for his involvement in murder. The road to discovery is a twisted one, interrupted by hellish nightmares, innocent heroines, a deadly femme fatale and some unforgettable character performances of people you hope never to meet in the dark. Everything exploded for Powell's Marlowe when flashing lights kept a stranger standing behind him moving in and out of his visuals. Mike Mazurki is "Moose", a dumb knucklehead searching for his wife, a man tending towards violent mood swings which he seemingly can't stop himself from having. Powell's search for the missing wife leads him to the drunken hag Esther Howard, and a mysterious phone call which she makes that leads him on to even more deadly encounters.

Another client has Powell searching for some missing jewels, but this client soon is found dead with Powell knocked out like a light, being rescued by a mysterious young woman. He later encounters the same woman (Anne Shirley in her last film) pretending to be a reporter and discovers the truth which involves her father and his much younger second wife, the seductive Claire Trevor. Powell's involvement with this convoluted family brings him back in contact with Mazurki and the family's shady lawyer (Otto Kruger) and into a dangerous situation which he fears he may not come alive out of.

Tensely directed by the controversial Edward Dmytryk ("Crossfire"), "Murder My Sweet" is the first of the truly dark film noirs, one with so many twists and turns that you fear the plot might crash over the side of the road. But you are glued to find out what is really going on, and this really explodes when Powell has a nightmare of such horrific experiences that you could swear you were in a horror movie. Hitchcock picked up on the power of such dream sequences, utilizing it with equal power in the following year's "Spellbound".

All of the performances are exceptional, with Powell's darkness a far cry from the juvenile he played in the "Gold Diggers" series and "42nd Street". Trevor is an exciting vixen, and of course, gets some great lines. Shirley is an appealing young leading lady, and it seems a shame that she didn't continue on, even part time, as a movie actress. She's come along way from "Anne of Green Gables" and "Stella Dallas". The always unforgettable Howard makes the most of her one scene as a wretched woman whose life has fallen into utter despair, yet there's a tenderness about her which makes you want to see more of her. Of the male character performers, Mazurki stands out the most, his gentle child-like mentality being overcome with his brutal nature. Everything about this film will have you entranced, and even if the ending is a slight let-down, everything which comes before makes this stand out as one of the greats in a wonderful genre which has obtained a huge cult audience of its own.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
"Hold on to your chair, don't step on no snakes, I got an idea."
classicsoncall20 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Watching "Murder, My Sweet", one thing is certain - do not divert your attention for a single minute or you'll be hopelessly lost. Fortunately I read a few reviews on this forum prior to tuning in, so was prepared to stay focused, along with pen and paper to keep notes. I usually do that anyway, but sometimes it's more necessary than others. Even so, I was caught off guard when old man Grayle (Miles Mander) turned up later in the film after I thought he became a murder victim, it was actually Amthor (Otto Kruger).

Director Edward Dmytryk creates a dark and bleak netherworld in 'Murder', populated by sordid characters who give detective Philip Marlowe (Dick Powell) a run for his money, which by the way he gladly accepts since there's no regular payday on his calendar. He spends a lot of time on the wrong end of a blackjack, or in the case of Amthor's doctor friend, in a coked up digitalis nightmare that portends Hitchcock's "Vertigo" by more than a dozen years. That dream sequence was rather artfully done, culminating in the cobweb twilight of Marlowe's brain fog.

What I'm not willing to concede however is Powell's turn as Marlowe being the definitive interpretation as some claim. For me, it would be Bogey all the way in "The Big Sleep", dispensing sarcasm and wit in between dead bodies. Though this film also offered some snappy rejoinders, it also had it's share of clunky dialog as well, and when it did, the flow of the story was momentarily disrupted.

So what we know is - Moose killed Amthor, and Grayle killed Velma, but who killed Marriott? Marlowe offered some thoughts on the matter, but I don't think it was ever confirmed in the flick. But two out of three ain't bad, especially since the murderer's identity in "The Big Sleep" was entirely bypassed by the time that film ended; even Raymond Chandler didn't know who did it, and he wrote the book.

Here's a thought - how great would it have been if Mike Mazurki, Claire Trevor, Otto Kruger, Anne Shirley, heck, even Dick Powell were still around to do "Sin City"? Now that would be sweet... as murder.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Bit Convoluted
gavin694212 December 2016
After being hired to find an ex-con's former girlfriend, Philip Marlowe is drawn into a deeply complex web of mystery and deceit.

Murder, My Sweet is considered one of the best Chandler adaptations. Glenn Erickson, in a recent review of the film, wrote, "Murder, My Sweet remains the purest version of Chandler on film, even if it all seems far too familiar now." This does seem to be the consensus, that this is a great Chandler film and one of the key film noir options out there.

Although I loved the look and the casting, I did find the plot to be a little convoluted. I suppose this is not the worst, because it lends itself to repeat viewings. And, to be fair, noir does seem to work well when it is complex -- such later noir homages as "Long Goodbye" and even "Big Lebowski" are surprisingly intricate.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Farewell My Lovely
jboothmillard5 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The Americans know it as Murder, My Sweet, because they thought people would mistake it for a musical, we the English however have it with the original title based on the Raymond Chandler (writer of Double Indemnity) novel. Basically private eye Philip Marlowe (Dick Powell, famous in musicals) is hired by recently released petty crook Moose Malloy (Mike Mazurki) to find Velma Valento, his former girlfriend not seen for six years. At the same time, Marlowe is also hired by Mrs. Helen Grayle (Claire Trevor) to find a horde of jade jewels, and it seems that this case may be moulding into the Velma one also. There are some promising enquiries leading into him into a complex web of deceit involving bribery, perjury and theft. At one point Marlowe is taken into a world where he almost goes mad or something, but he eventually gets out, and the twist is that the Femme Fetale is Mrs. Grayle, revealing herself as Velma. Also starring Anne Shirley as Ann Grayle, Otto Kruger as Jules Amthor, Miles Mander as Mr. Grayle, Douglas Walton as Lindsay Marriott, Donald 'Don' Douglas as Police Lieutenant Randall, Ralf Harolde as Dr. Sonderborg and Esther Howard as Jessie Florian. Powell makes just as good presence as Bogart did playing the role of Philip Marlowe, I may not have caught up with everything going on, but it is a good black and white classic film noir. Very good!
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Love The Wisecracks, But Wish It Was Easier To Understand
ccthemovieman-113 May 2006
This is considered one of the classic film noirs ever made and some think THE film noir. In recognizing that before I had seen it, perhaps I was disappointed because I expected more.

What I found was a very confusing film, at least in the last third of the movie as everything started to be explained. It almost got ridiculous in the last 10 minutes when Dick Powell ("Philip Marlowe") explained the whole story. He talked too fast and it was next to impossible to follow. I guess I will have to view this more often to understand it better, or find someone who can explain it for my feeble brain.

The best part of the film was the cinematography, which really comes to life on the DVD. Someone did a very nice job restoring this film. That, and the general dialog by Powell, were fascinating. You could make a short book with all the wise-guy remarks made by "Marlowe" in this film - a lot of great stuff. I just wish they had made a simpler story and made it easier for the viewer to digest all the facts at the end.
47 out of 62 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Snappy Detective Yarn.
rmax30482314 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
With this movie, Dick Powell switched his image from faded musical star to tough guy, and he's pretty good. He's nasal and cynical and sure of himself as he works his way, as Philip Marlowe, through a world of suave villains (Otto Krueger), gigantic and rebarbative clients (Mike Mazurki), blond seductresses (Clair Trevor), and other assorted Chandleresque types.

Actually, Raymond Chandler's novel, "Farewell, My Lovely", is followed about as closely as the agents of social control would allow in 1944. Edward Dmytryk's direction is efficient and the black-and-white photography, along with the special effects, are well done for their time. Of course, we get Dick Powell's narration of Chandler's prose with its curious tropes. We HAVE to get Chandler's prose because what else is there? A PLOT? Five minutes into the film and already Marlowe is working on two separate cases with two separate casts, one having to do with stolen jade, the other with Velma Galento. The threads come together late but it would take the devotion of a Talmudic scholar to figure out all the meanders of this torturous story. No, the key to enjoyment of the film rests with the acting -- from one disjointed incident to the next -- and the recherché charm of the narration. ("I only took the case because my bank account was trying to crawl under a duck's belly.") The movie, like the prose that guides us through it, is inelegant and pretty literal. When somebody hits Marlowe over the head with a sap, the narration tells us that "a big black hole opened up in front of me. I dived in. It had no bottom." And the screen shows us a big black hole opening up in front of him. He dives in. It has no bottom.

It's a good film and enjoyable from beginning to end, once you blind yourself to its limitations. I prefer the 1975 remake with Robert Mitchum. The features that are good in this movie are improved upon in the later version. The photography here is just fine. The photography in 1975 was magnificent. And Powell is a good Marlowe, tough and confident, but Mitchum brings something unique to the role. Mitchum isn't stereotypically hard boiled like Powell. He slouches with exhaustion. (And that's acting, not Mitchum's natural state, because in Mitchum's remake of "The Big Sleep," a year or two later, he was speedier and carried the momentum of a bull dozer.) And Mitchum brings more nuance to the role. Watch the scene in which he's slapped hard by the whorehouse Madam, gapes at her for a second, then lets out a feral yell, leaps to his feet and belts her in the mouth. Powell, satisfying as he is, doesn't have that kind of range.

This one has everything that a thoroughly coagulated detective story ought to have. Great scene, when Powell tries to shrug off the effects of the drug he's been given and finds himself surrounded by smoke and spider webs. He tries to threaten the placid doctor who has shot him full of joy juice: "I've got a GUN. When people with a gun tell you to do something, you're supposed to do it!" He sounds frazzled, confused and a little saddened because the conventions of the detective genre aren't working for him.

See it, you big lug, or I turn your face into a dish of moo goo gai pan.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Dick Powell as Philip interesting--if somewhat uneasy--choice
moonspinner5524 December 2011
Adaptation of Raymond Chandler's enduring mystery novel "Farewell, My Lovely" (filmed previously, so to speak, as "The Falcon Takes Over" in 1942) is mostly a set-bound noir, with Dick Powell looking a tad fit and clean as "grubby" Los Angeles detective Philip Marlowe tying in the disappearance of some jewels to a missing lounge singer. Powell revitalized his career with this performance, and he's indeed quite good in the scenes where his Marlowe is drugged and being held hostage. The mixture of darkly sarcastic humor with gun-play was probably very fresh in 1944, but some of the joshing (as with the final tag outside the police station) is a little broad for a crime drama. Remade (and improved) in 1975 with Robert Mitchum as Marlowe. **1/2 from ****
4 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
a curved, sharp story, with a very good (if not great) performance from Powell
Quinoa198413 February 2005
Edward Dmytryk's Murder, My Sweet, adapted from Raymond Chandler's classic Farwell, My Lovely, is clear from the first viewing that anyone with a remote interest in the style and approach of the "film noir" should see it, particularly if one has a fondness for the couple of dozen private-eye films made from the era. Like with Chandler's scripted Double Indemnity, we get the story told in flashback (under strange circumstances), and many of the familiar tones and notes in the subject matter (femme fatale, of course, and also the big half-wit and the 'good girl'). But what makes the film memorable even more on a repeat viewing (as my second time around, and not having read the novel but not being a stranger to Chandler's works) were a few great assets.

For one thing, Dmytryk supplies steady and surprising direction, with many shots and shadows throughout characteristic of the style of film at the time. There is, of course, the unforgettable, shocking (in terms of 'how did they do that back then') scene involving Philip Marlowe (Powell) in a tortured state. He's been injected with something by someone (or some people), and sees 'smoke' all around him. The camera lens is covered with a kind of glaze that pops up again in another scene- one of the most exciting in the picture- and that was the kind of approach that really struck me about the film long after I saw it. There is always a swift, cool touch of atmosphere in many scenes, even the ones that don't draw attention to themselves (which are also done wonderfully). On that note, Dmytryk's work on the film, with the look of the film as well as the proper casting (some of it appropriately one-note, some of it not), is flawless.

For another thing, there is the performance by Powell, his turn from his previous musicals and comedies. It would be one thing to try to compare his work to Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep, but I'm not sure that would do the film justice. I found that there were notes of humor in Chandler's writing that weren't carried as well as could've been, and maybe he doesn't seem to carry off that sense of 'aloof' that I found when I read Chandler's Marlowe. But then, Powell is also very strong at carrying his performance in and of itself, by having a certain level of ingrained charm that keeps him afloat with the other character actors. He's not the first actor you'd think to play a private-eye (not like Bogart, who for my money fared better anyway as Sam Spade), thankfully however he didn't over-play some of the cynicism, which was just getting accustomed to the audience of the times. And when the film gets relatively dramatic, he finds the right pitches and reactions with the story (it's one of the more amusing aspects in all of film-noir with his chemistry not with the women, but with the actor playing Moose Malloy).

Mystery stories may come and go with time, but the work of Chandler outlasts many stories without a grounded sense of humor, believable and likely characters, and twists to keep people on their seats. The movie is no exception, and it's got a few good quotable lines to boot. Grade: A
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The best Chandler on the screen!
JohnHowardReid29 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Late in 1944, when Raymond Chandler's popularity and critical esteem were at their height, RKO seized the opportunity to dust off their song-bought "Farewell, My Lovely" and film it straight.

They couldn't resist changing the title to "Murder, My Sweet", but otherwise this is pretty well as authentic as Chandler ever got on the screen.

Marlowe, for instance, was sensationally played by Dick Powell who, sick to death of his namby-pamby screen image as a lightweight crooner, talked the studio into re-inventing him as the tough, resilient, cynical private eye - a role that he was to play with minor variations and only one or two exceptions for the rest of his acting career.

Powerfully directed by Edward Dmytryk, the movie not only won the Edgar Award for Best Mystery of the Year, but took millions at the box-office.

Twelve years later, Chandler himself declared that Dick Powell deserved recognition as the nearest cinematic equivalent of Marlowe and that "Murder, My Sweet" was the best screen adaptation of any of his novels.

(Available on a 10/10 Warner DVD).
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Private Dick Powell Gets Tough
wes-connors15 December 2007
Good looking film version of Raymond Chandler's "Farewell, My Lovely", with Dick Powell taking a great career turn as private detective Philip Marlow. Claire Trevor and Anne Shirley are perfect (and sexy) as the two women who become involved with the storyline, and Mr. Powell. Though very well written, and adapted (by John Paxton), this is still a sometimes confusing film. Mainly, it's the flashbacked story which begins the piece - Powell is hired by burly Mike Mazurki (as "Moose" Malloy), fresh out of prison, to find his old girlfriend, Velma...

Director Edward Dmytryk and photographer Harry J. Wild give the film a fantastic look, despite a limited 1940s budget; a surrealistic, drug-induced sequence fits the film perfectly. The supporting performers, like Otto Kruger, Ralf Harolde, and Esther Howard are great. Ms. Howard is particularly memorable as sobering drunk Jessie Florian; she provides an essential clue to the film's main mystery.

******* Murder, My Sweet (12/9/44) Edward Dmytryk ~ Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Anne Shirley, Otto Kruger
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Fine Cast, Messy Plot
dougdoepke20 June 2011
The hard-boiled dialog flies faster here than eggs at Easter. Then too, practically every line out of Marlowe's (Powell) mouth is a cynical figure of speech, making the 90-minutes one of the more corrosive in the private eye canon. No need to recap the plot since I couldn't, anyway. There're so many twists and turns on who did what to whom, you may need to call in the proverbial rocket scientist. But then, I think writer Chandler said something about reality being a lot messier than usual detective fiction. Judging from this, he wasn't kidding.

Speaking of messy, catch the great Esther Howard as old lady Florian. No one was better at sloppy slatterns than the be-robed Howard, and when she says "no peeking" to Marlowe as her robe flops open, I'll bet a wave of shudders swept across theatres everywhere. At the same time, ex-song and dance man Powell shows he could do hard cases with the best of them, that is, when he wasn't jumping helplessly into another 'black pool'. And who knew hulking thug Mazurki could go from lion to lamb so quickly. It's really he who gives the film a heart.

There's some great photography and art direction from RKO's expert production team. No wonder that studio became the one of record for post-war noir. In fact, this 1944 effort signals the emerging era of noir, bringing together the private eye and a chaotic world of shadows, as it does. I especially like those final beach house scenes, perched precariously beside a dark sea of eternity.

Anyway, the movie's a fine piece of private eye noir; just don't try to figure out the plot, which is incidental, anyhow.
9 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The dark pit opened up and I dived right in!
hitchcockthelegend4 March 2008
Well well, here we have a noir film that really has to be one of the most divisive in the genre, it would seem that some feel it's closer in texture to what Raymond Chandler wrote, and that the portrayal of Phillip Marlowe by Dick Powell is spot on in its execution.

Many others disagree completely though...

Now since I haven't read any of the novels Chandler wrote I have no frame of reference there, but having watched The Big Sleep this past week I feel the push me pull you polar opposite feelings this film creates.

Phillip Marlowe (Dick Powell) is a gruff wise cracking private eye, he is hired by ex convict Moose Malloy (a splendid Mike Mazurki) to find former girlfriend Velma who has been missing for 6 years, this sends him spiralling into a web of deceit, blackmail, theft, murder, in short all the great ingredients for classic noir. For sure the film has a cracking plot that dovetails a treat, but is it dark enough to fully flesh out the material? I just got this annoying itch that where the film should be getting murkier and deadly dark it was in fact far too breezy. Powell does good enough, but the wisecracks to me became more of a hindrance than an enjoyment, I felt in short that I was being lifted out of the dark when I actually wanted to stay cloaked in mud.

The film is still an incredible watch, the photography from Harry Wild is lush, and the core essence of the story is bang on the money, while I should mention the cracking performances of the supporting cast as Claire Trevor and Otto Kruger join in the mystery to help raise the film to a higher standard. Some scenes are joyous in the extreme, witness a nightmare sequence that is as gorgeous as it is unnerving, and director Edward Dmytryk excels in creating a bleak topsy turvy underworld, I just wish that this particular film had done away with the airiness. 8/10
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The jade necklace
jotix10019 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Raymond Chandler's novels made great film adaptations based on his strongly written characters. Point in case, Philip Marlowe. He was a practical P.I. man. In the adaptation of the novel "Farewell, My Lovely", by John Paxton, Marlowe gets a great treatment from Mr. Paxton and the director, Edward Dmytryk.

This 1944 film has been dissected by a lot of contributors to this forum. As it happens with films of this genre, the convoluted plots create an aura of mystery without sometimes making too much sense, but the viewer is hooked from the start. One goes along for the ride with this version that proves to be one of the best adaptations of the Chandler novel, something the other version didn't have.

The film works because of the presence of Dick Powell. He was a good actor who came from a different world into playing Marlowe. Mr. Powell is the glue that holds all the action together. He doesn't make us believe he is a super hero, he is just a regular man on a mission for solving the mystery of Velma's disappearance for his client, Moose Malloy, but he gets side tracked by circumstances that bring him back to Velma, after being hit and doped by the people that don't want him to get to the truth.

Claire Trevor contributed to the success of the film with her duplicitous Helen, who we realize is holding out on us. Anne Shirley, who plays Ann Grayle, is of two minds, while hating her attractive step mother, Helen, she will do anything to separate her from the father she adores. Mike Mazurki is the burly Moose Malloy. Otto Kruger and Don Walton have important moments among the supporting cast.

"Murder My Sweet" was given a great look by Harry Wild. His impression of Los Angeles, at night, and the interesting camera angles he photographed, are what distinguishes this film and makes it a classic. The atmospheric music is by Ray Webb. Director Edward Dmytryk showed he was inspired in this production that remains a must see for all fans of the genre.
9 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Murder, My Sweet
Scarecrow-8818 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
A jade necklace, a brute wishing to find a dame he loved from eight years back waiting patiently to being let out of prison, and a young woman wishing for the end of her father's marriage to a much younger woman are just the start of Marlowe's problems as he sinks into an abyss of untrustworthy characters in this marvelous film noir. Crackling, sharp observational dialogue full of metaphorical magic is perfectly placed in the trustworthy hands of a very good Dick Powell as Philip Marlowe who must somehow find this long-lost jaded necklace for it seems to be desired by several individuals.

It seems the necklace's owner, Claire Trevor perfectly embodying the femme fatale, seems to be the center of all of Marlowe's troubles. But what does the big brute(who nearly at certain points breaks Marlowe's neck when others misinform him of things the detective didn't do)have to do with those scheming to get their hands on the missing jade? The lovely Anne Shirley plays Ann Grayle, the daughter of the 60ish father married to much younger Trevor's Helen. Ann gets immersed in the plot as well as Marlowe often battles forces he never realized he'd ever face such getting walloped over the head several times from the back and drugged.

RKO score another highlight noir with trippy visuals when Marlowe is drugged or hit over the head. The B&W photography is also top notch.

Otto Kruger plays the villainous intellectual who desires the jade necklace and blackmailer of Hellen who also coerces Mike Mazurski's Moose, the brute, to choke a possible confession from Marlowe for whom he believes has the necklace(he lies to Moose by way of Marlowe's hidden secret of the missing girl in order to get the massive man to assist him).
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Satisfactory noir style but not up to THE BIG SLEEP...
Doylenf15 November 2003
In terms of its story-telling technique, MURDER, MY SWEET is just as convoluted as THE BIG SLEEP--but there the resemblance ends. When Dick Powell says "I don't know what side anybody is on", that's true for the viewer most of the time. The story is etched in puzzled fashion with none of the pieces coming together until the beach house finale. Nevertheless, you won't want to look away until the conclusion.

All of the actors go through their paces in satisfactory noir style. Dick Powell is not Humphrey Bogart but his crisp delivery of Chandlerisms and tough guy demeanor are enough to convince you he means business. His performance is especially good during his hallucination scene in which the camera acts as subjective witness to his beating. Claire Trevor, as usual, does her femme fatale stint convincingly although the role itself is practically a throwaway. Mike Mazurki is at his best as a hulking menace with a short fuse. Otto Kruger does a fine piece of work as a charlatan doctor. Anne Shirley is wasted as the other femme lead in a role that has no substance.

Powell takes an inordinate amount of beatings which reminds me of the Alan Ladd-William Bendix fracas in THE GLASS KEY. The low-key lighting and night visuals are a fine example of film noir at its grittiest. And Roy Webb's score creates an evocative mood.

Worth seeing at least once--but don't expect anything even remotely approaching THE BIG SLEEP.
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Easily one of the best film noirs
preppy-323 January 2005
Philip Marlowe (Dick Powell) is hired by big, violent ex-con Moose Malloy (Mike Mazurki) to track down a woman he loved before being sent to prison. He's also hired by a man to accompany him when he goes to get a stolen jade necklace. They go, Marlowe is knocked unconscious and things get very twisted. Also Claire Trevor and Anne Shirley play the two femme fatales who get mixed up in the business.

Not an easy film to follow. The plot is very convoluted, twists and turns pop up everywhere and if you don't pay STRICT attention you're gonna be lost. Still this is one of the best noirs of the 1940s.

Powell, before this, just played an annoyingly sweet guy in musicals. When I read he was in this I expected the worst--I didn't think I could take him as a tough detective. I'm glad to say I was wrong--he's GREAT! Even the author (Raymond Chandler) of the book this was based on said Powell was perfect as Marlowe--even better than Humphrey Bogart! Powell plays Marlowe as a regular tough guy just in over his head--and he knows it. Bogart played Marlowe like he was superhuman. Also Powell narrates the movie and Chandler's (sometimes) ridiculous tough guy talk comes out sounding quite natural. Also Trevor is incredible playing an evil woman. Shirley is just OK playing a younger kid (this was also her last movie).

For its time this was pretty strong stuff--the violence is brutal and at one point Marlowe is shot up with drugs (quite a taboo subject for 1944). It's still pretty grim today but well worth seeing. I recommend this highly but remember--you have to give this film your FULL attention. Otherwise forget it. I give it a 10.
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed