Murder, My Sweet

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Murder, My Sweet
(Farewell, My Lovely)
SweetPoster.jpg
theatrical release poster
Directed byEdward Dmytryk
Produced byAdrian Scott
Written byRaymond Chandler
Screenplay byJohn Paxton
Based onFarewell, My Lovely (novel)
Narrated byDick Powell
StarringDick Powell
Claire Trevor
Anne Shirley
Music byRoy Webb
CinematographyHarry J. Wild
Editing byJoseph Noriega
Distributed byRKO Pictures
Release datesDecember 18, 1944 (US)
Running time95 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
 
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Murder, My Sweet
(Farewell, My Lovely)
SweetPoster.jpg
theatrical release poster
Directed byEdward Dmytryk
Produced byAdrian Scott
Written byRaymond Chandler
Screenplay byJohn Paxton
Based onFarewell, My Lovely (novel)
Narrated byDick Powell
StarringDick Powell
Claire Trevor
Anne Shirley
Music byRoy Webb
CinematographyHarry J. Wild
Editing byJoseph Noriega
Distributed byRKO Pictures
Release datesDecember 18, 1944 (US)
Running time95 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Murder, My Sweet is a 1944 American film noir, directed by Edward Dmytryk and starring Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, and Anne Shirley.[1] The film is based on Raymond Chandler's 1940 novel Farewell, My Lovely, which was the title under which the film was released in the United Kingdom. Another film adaptation of the novel was made in 1975 and released under Chandler's title.

Plot[edit]

Detective Philip Marlowe (Dick Powell) is hired by hulking Moose Malloy (Mike Mazurki) to locate his old girlfriend Velma (Claire Trevor), whom he lost track of while serving time in prison. As he follows his leads, Marlowe encounters lies, larceny, perjury, theft, and a beautiful femme fatale (Claire Trevor).

Cast[edit]

Release and title change[edit]

The film was first screened on December 18, 1944 in Minneapolis, Minnesota with the title Farewell, My Lovely. It opened in New York City, however, on March 8, 1945, as Murder, My Sweet.[2]

Dick Powell was previously known (1930s and early 1940s) for light comedies and musicals, so the casting of him as Chandler's hard-boiled private detective antihero was a surprise to audiences. The studio executives changed the title from Farewell, My Lovely because they believed audiences would think the film was a musical. Powell's performance is much debated by fans of Chandler and film noir; some think it too light and comic; others consider it the best interpretation of Philip Marlowe on film.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

The film's opening scene

Murder, My Sweet is considered one of the best Chandler adaptations. Glenn Erickson, in a recent review of the film, wrote, "Murder, My Sweet remains the purest version of Chandler on film, even if it all seems far too familiar now."[4]

Alison Dalzell, writing for the Edinburgh University Film Society notes, "Of all the adaptations of Chandler novels, this film comes as close as any to matching their stylish first person narrative and has the cinematic skill and bravado of direction to carry it off. Since the '40s countless mystery and neo-noir films have been made in Hollywood and around the world. Murder, My Sweet is what they all aspire to be."[5]

According to film critics Ellen Keneshea and Carl Macek, the picture takes Chandler's novel and transforms it into a "film with a dark ambiance unknown at [the] time." Dymytryk was able to transcend the tough dialogue and mystery film conventions by creating a "cynical vision of society." As such, the film enters the world of film noir.[2]

When the film was released Bosley Crowther, the film critic for The New York Times, appreciated the adaptation of Chandler's novel and lauded the acting, writing, "Practically all of the supporting roles are exceptionally well played, particularly by Mike Mazurki, the former wrestler, as the brutish Moose Malloy; Otto Kruger as Jules Amthor, quack-psychologist and insidious blackmailer; Anne Shirley as an innocent among the wolf pack, and Don Douglas as the police lieutenant. In short, Murder, My Sweet is pulse-quickening entertainment."[6]

The staff at Variety magazine also gave the film kudos, writing, "Murder, My Sweet, a taut thriller about a private detective enmeshed with a gang of blackmailers, is as smart as it is gripping ... Performances are on a par with the production. Dick Powell is a surprise as the hard-boiled copper. The portrayal is potent and convincing. Claire Trevor is as dramatic as the predatory femme, with Anne Shirley in sharp contrast as the soft kid caught in the crossfire."[7]

Awards and honors[edit]

Murder, My Sweet won 1946 Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America for:

Other versions[edit]

The Chandler novel has been filmed once before, in 1942, as The Falcon Takes Over, directed by Irving Reis, part of a film series which featured George Sanders, as The Falcon.[9] In 1975 the story was remade as Farewell, My Lovely, featuring Robert Mitchum as Marlowe and directed by Dick Richards.[10]

The film version of Murder, My Sweet was dramatized as an hour-long radio play on the June 11, 1945 broadcast of Lux Radio Theater, with Powell and Trevor in their original film roles.

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ "Murder, My Sweet". NY Times. Retrieved 2011-05-05. 
  2. ^ a b Silver, Alain and Elizabeth Ward, eds. Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style, cast and crew section of Murder, My Sweet article by Ellen Keneshea and Carl Macek, page 192, 3rd edition, 1992. Woodstock, New York: The Overlook Press. ISBN 0-87951-479-5.
  3. ^ Clute, Shannon and Richard Edwards. Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir, Episode 26: Murder, My Sweet. Last accessed: December 13, 2007.
  4. ^ Erickson, Glenn. DVD Savant Review, film analysis, 2007. Last accessed: December 13, 2007.
  5. ^ Dalzell, Alison. Edinburgh University Film Society, film review. 1997. Last accessed: December 13, 2007.
  6. ^ Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times, film review, March 9, 1945. Last accessed: December 13, 2007.
  7. ^ Variety review of Murder, My Sweet, March 8, 1945.
  8. ^ "Awards" on IMDB.com
  9. ^ The Falcon Takes Over at the Internet Movie Database.
  10. ^ Farewell, My Lovely at the Internet Movie Database.

External links[edit]