Murder. Marlowe. Mitchum. No one is a saint in the City of Angels. The immortal Robert Mitchum stars as Raymond Chandler's legendary detective Philip Marlowe in the neo-noir mystery Farewell, My Lovely. The hard-boiled Marlowe's latest cases (one, a search for an ex-convict''s lost love, and the other, the murder of a client) take on an even more sinister turn when they begin to connect, leading the private eye deeper and deeper into the seamy underbelly of 1940s Los Angeles. As the stakes are raised and the body count swells, it looks like Marlowe might be next on the list to take the big sleep. Also featuring Charlotte Rampling, Sylvia Miles, Harry Dean Stanton, and Sylvester Stallone in an early role, Farewell, My Lovely is an unflinching take on Chandler's pulpy novel and a mystery film as powerful and complex as its leading man.
When Lindsay Marriott is in Marlowe's office; there is a baseball in front of him on the desk on the left side of an ashtray. But on the following cut, the baseball has changed orientation and is now on the right side of the ashtray. See more »
Tommy Ray still living across the street from the place with that nigger he married and that kid?
Yeah, same place.
Just about ruined him in show business, marryin' a nigger.
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Stylish remake of the much-filmed Chandler classic. Was Mitchum too old for the rolethat was the rap at the time. In hindsight, I don't think so, especially when he has that persuasive moment about aging near film's end. He certainly looks like he's climbed too many stairs and closed too many bars, but then that creates an unusual amount of pathos that deepens the role. Still and all, the passionate clinches with a sleek young Charlotte Rampling are borderline at best.
This is one of the few successful neo-noirs in my little book. Director Dick Richards and crew manage a funky look just right for the hard-boiled atmosphere of 40's detective fiction. Marlowe (Mitchum) drifts from one seedy venue to the next in his search for the mysterious Velma. But true to Chandler's slice-of-life LA, there's also a glimpse of the high- and-mighty in a Beverly Hills palace worthy of royalty. In fact, Marlowe resembles something of a pilgrim loner navigating greater LA in search of an elusive truth even after he's forgotten why.
Mitchum, of course, lowkeys all the way, hardly changing expression whether being roughed up by Moose Malloy or nuzzling up to Helen Grayle (Rampling). It has to be one of the more downbeat performances in private eye annals. But my Oscar goes to Sylvia Miles as the ultimate blowzy drunk (Florian). Her house is a mess, her hair is a mess, and her robe never quite fits in revealing ways Marlowe refuses to pick up on. Still and all, a fling with her looks more promising than an interlude with that plastic mannequin Marlowe does cozy up with. At the same time, Jack O'Halloran as the Moose comes across as the kind of pitiable dumb ox who would sacrifice everything for a faithless woman. In fact, the movie boils down oddly to something of a Samson and Delilah update.
But not everything is upside. The dialogue occasionally gets a little too cute, while the DiMaggio running thread seems forced at times. Nonetheless, it's a worthy version of the popular novel, and I'm just sorry that director Dick Richards hasn't been more active in the production end of the business. Judging from this film and the under-rated Culpepper Cattle Company, he certainly has the talent. And when an expressionless Marlowe comes to part with his money at movie's end, we finally glimpse that remote inner terrain and the heart of Chandler's heartless world.
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