Sunday, October 04, 2020

Murder My Sweet (1944)

Based on Raymond Chandler's Farewell My Lovely, Murder My Sweet is one of the great Film Noir pictures. Former song-and-dance man Dick Powell brings a vulnerability to Marlowe that heightens the danger he's in -- especially when being beaten and choked within an inch of his life by tough guy Mike Mazurki. He lacks the sort of toughness that Bogart brought to the character in The Big Sleep, but Powell is quite effective at this interpretation of Marlowe. It's an incredibly tough and brutal picture, too -- with Marlowe taking quite a beating at the hands of his captors. Mazurki delivers a deceptively nuanced performance as the hulking brute who is searching for the woman he loved and lost. There is a hallucinatory dream sequence in the middle of the film that is a delirious nightmare vision of Marlowe's trauma.

The book was filmed again under its original title in 1975, with Robert Mitchum as Marlowe. It would have been interesting to see what Mitchum would have done with the character if he'd played him in the '40s.

Directed by Edward Dymtryk. Also starring Claire Trevor, Anne Shirley, Otto Kruger, and Miles Mander. 

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