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>
When the drunk looks through the broken window of Marlowe's overturned car and Marlowe cold cocks him, later we see the drunk's body lying near the bottom of the overturned car. If he had been standing next to the bottom of the car (on its side) he could not have looked into the window. See more »
What was Mrs. Kingsby doing up at the lake house?
I could guess, but I haven't been up to count the bottles.
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Opening credits are shown on what appear to be holiday cards, as someone flips through the collection. See more »
Shatteringly clumsy and agonizingly inept treatment of a Chandler story, totally lacking in style, variety and excitement. First impressions, for once, can be trusted: the disastrous opening scene in which Marlowe sits at his desk and *addresses the camera* gives you an utterly correct impression of the kind of cinematic screw-up you are in for. Next disaster: Robert Montgomery is a wholly uninteresting and un-charismatic actor whose attempts to portray the fast-talking, back-chatting Marlowe frequently come across as merely nasty. Failure Number Three is the ludicrous decision to film the entire story as a series of 'point-of-view' shots, giving us a 'Marlowe's-eye-view' of what little there is to see (Don't miss the bit where Marlowe crawls on his hands and knees - and we see the backs of his hands - before going on to use a telephone - when, gosh, we find ourselves looking at a telephone...). The two-fold pointlessness of the continual P.O.V. beggars belief: first, because it throws the weight on supporting players whose third-rate skills cannot carry it; second, because the fact that we have to watch a series of long, unbroken, unvaried, UNINTERESTING takes - in which whoever Marlowe is talking to simply faces the camera 'square-on' and talks 'back' to it - make vast stretches of the film UNBEARABLY TEDIOUS to watch and the details incredibly difficult to take in. Directors don't cut, employ 'reverse angles', reaction shots, profiles and so on for no reason. Fourth problem: removing Marlowe almost entirely from the visible action removes a lot of useful possibilities and adds PRECISELY NONE. Fifth problem: when Marlowe *is* actually visible, all we see is some lug talking to the camera - whereas a 'voice-over' would at least let us see something *different* happening. And why angle the story as a 'solve-it-yourself' mystery when *everyone* tries hard to work out a Chandler plot anyway? All in all, the results are so abysmal that one asks oneself how it could possibly have come to be done that way. Well, here are my suggestions. First, Bogart is a tough act to follow: by putting Marlowe out of view here, someone must have thought they were avoiding unfortunate comparisons. Second, look who the director is: yes, it's wooden leading man Robert Montgomery, who plainly can't see how bad his direction is when he's acting, and won't see (or hear) how bad his acting is when he's directing. Someone has bitten off more than they can chew - and this is the result: an unwatchable, saggy mess that manages to be significantly less interesting than 90 minutes spent putting your books in alphabetical order.
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