Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Murder, My Sweet [1944]

Humphrey Bogart has been so ingrained in the cultural consciousness of film lovers that it felt a tad strange initially seeing someone else portray the character of Phillip Marlowe onscreen. But once I got over that, I must admit it was sheer pleasure seeing Dick Powell play the bitingly cynical and doggedly persuasive gumshoe, as well as, watching this wonderful cinematic rendition of Raymond Chandler’s marvelous pulp-novella Farewell My Lovely. The storyline is gleefuly byzantine and so I wouldn’t even venture explaining the plot here; suffice it to say, the film didn’t attempt to simplify the novel’s deliriously convoluted plot – which, disappointingly, Howard Hawks did with the Chandler masterpiece The Big Sleep. The story is infested by a series of delectably amoral characters, and their personifications were good throughout. Dick Powell, as the acerbic and world-weary PI, with a fiercely protected code of honour, was exceptional and was most certainly an inspired choice. This landmark film noir also boasted of terrific hard-boiled dialogues, and the sleazy characters, the murky atmosphere and the decrepit urban landscape, what with the blackmails, murders, human corruption and a free flow of double-crosses, were exceptionally captured through moody B/W photography, outstanding camera work and a superbly paced narrative, all bound together by great direction.

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Genre: Film Noir/Crime Thriller/Mystery
Language: English
Country: US

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