Murder, My Sweet
Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe has been portrayed on the big screen at least 10 times. I haven’t seen all of them, but I have seen most. No question in my mind that the best one was Robert Mitchum in Farewell, My Lovely, in 1975, which is a remake of this one but with Chandler’s original title. Number two would probably be Bogart in The Big Sleep. (I can’t count Elliott Gould in Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye, though I loved his performance, as his character has absolutely nothing to do with Marlowe as described in the books.) This one, with Dick Powell as the famous Los Angeles sleuth, is somewhere below those, but not bad at all. The chief problem is that Dick is not very big, and doesn’t look all that tough. Well, sure, he gets knocked on the head a lot by people who sneak up on him, but that’s standard in films like this. It’s just that a lot of the tough-guy dialogue just doesn’t quite fit, coming out of his mouth. This is compensated for by a top-notch supporting cast, especially Mike Mazurki as poor old Moose Molloy, obsessed with finding his Velma. There is really great B&W photography by Harry J. Wild and direction by Edward Dmytryk. It is one of the seminal noir movies, and still one of the best ever.