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From The Pen Of Frank Jackman
Murder, My Sweet, starring Dick Powell, Clare Trevor, directed by Edward Dmytryk, based on the crime novel Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler, 1944
Although there is a fairly straight line that joins the seven Philip Marlowe crime novels written by Raymond over a span of about twenty years from his grisly windmill-chaser youth to his tired out world weary and wary private detective in the 1950s that is not true of the various Marlowes in the film adaptations of Chandler’s works. Of course when one thinks of the classic Philip Marlowe then the name of the tough as nails, no nonsense, grabbing rough justice wherever he can no matter the price Humphrey Bogart in the film The Big Sleep automatically comes to mind and old Eddie Mars paid the price for not nothing that bit of wisdom.
Other have been suave like Robert Young in 1940s The Lady in the Lake, gritty like James Garner in 1960s Little Sister and Eliot Gould as ultra-cool and cynical in the 1970s The Long Goodbye. So there are many Marlowes to choose from.
In the film under review, Murder, My Sweet, based a little loosely, maybe too loosely on the dialogue and plot, on Raymond Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely old song and dance man Dick Powell plays the role somewhere between the pretty boy next door and the stand- up guy ready to take the fall for the client, if only the client, or clients, will level with him just once. Powell’s Marlowe here is set out to do two tasks before he is done-find ex-con Moose’s Velma and find big shot Grayles’ damn expensive jade that had allegedly been stolen from the elderly Mayfair swell, or rather his young evil femme fatale wife (played by Clare Trevor). So during the almost two hours of the film old good guy Dick gets sapped, drugged, waylaid, lied to, propositioned, seduced, sent on wild goose chases, and plenty else before he “finds” Velma and that damn jade. But see that is where all Marlowes are equal-they don’t give up the ghost until there is a little rough justice in this wicked old world. Even if as here the bullets fly fast and furious at the end with no obvious winners. And old Dick grabs the girl next door to boot.