Murder, My Sweet

Haunted by a lovely face... hunted for another's crime!

Mystery Drama
95 min     7.2     1944     USA


After being hired to find an ex-con's former girlfriend, Philip Marlowe is drawn into a deeply complex web of mystery and deceit.


John Chard wrote:
The dark pit opened up and I dived right in! 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