Murder, My Sweet

Written by Joe D on January 20th, 2016

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I love Raymond Chandler’s writing. It was one of the things that made me want to move to Los Angeles. Here’s a movie based on Chandler’s novel Farewell My Lovely. They changed the name to Murder, My Sweet because it was Dick Powell’s first non-singing, dancing role and they didn’t want the public to think this was a musical. I always liked this movie, it’s Studio filmmaking at it’s crazy noir best.
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Some excellent montages credited to Douglas Travers, classic stuff, the sequence with the ever smaller doors influenced the opening of The Twilight Zone and there are some great opticals, whenever Marlow gets slugged he falls into an optically printed pool of inky blackness spreading out by his feet.
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There’s also double exposed frozen smoke over a section of the film, that image was taken right out of the book and it works nicely.
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Also Moose Malloy (Mike Mazurki) is revealled reflected in the window glass of Marlow’s office by the blinking of an sign on the exterior of the building. A nice touch.
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The set-ups can feel a bit hackneyed but I still enjoy the hell out of this flick. The sequence at the fake sanatarium is priceless and oft repeated in other films. it is interesting to compare this film with D.O.A., both are bookeneded by the protagonist telling his story to a police detective at the station house. Murder is a studio production, RKO to be exact, D.O.A. is an independant film made mainly on location, with a lot of on the street photography, kind of proto New Wave. Anyway if you haven’t seen it you’re in for a fun time. It’s a classic tale, Chinatown rips it off, every L.A. detective movie was influenced by it. The one change I didn’t like was making Florian’s bar a white joint. It’s on Central Avenue and is a Black owned bar in the book. It makes the scene of Marlow and Malloy trying to get info on Velma even better, more tense. I’m sure the Black actors could have used the work!

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