March 10, 2006

Missing jade necklaces: Murder, My Sweet

Needing to get back to some older movies after a pretty lengthy drought, tonight I watched one that had been in my movies on-deck circle for some time, 1944’s Murder, My Sweet directed by Edward Dmytryk and written by John Paxton based on the Raymond Chandler novel.

First of all – it’s good. Not great, but a good noir film and it captures most of the noir elements. It stars Dick Powell in the Philip Marlowe role and, if the scribblings on the packaging are to be believed, Powell was Chandler’s “favorite screen Marlowe.”

Not mine, however. And that is not to say I didn’t like him in the role. But I came away with a great desire to go back and watch Humphrey Bogart as Marlowe in The Big Sleep (also as Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon).

Again, this is no knock on Murder, My Sweet but, good as it is, it’s not an out of the park home run. (What’s with the baseball metaphors?)

The movie has a lot of what you would expect from a movie of this kind: a lot of uncertainty as characters appear to be good, then bad, then good again, then bad. Marlowe seems to think one thing then it’s shown he was only pretending, although a later scene shows he actually does think and feel that way. In other words, it twists quite a bit and in many cases the twists are arbitrary for the sake of being a twist and to sustain the mood. But they don’t make a lot of sense.

But that’s okay, it’s what we expect and want from a movie like this.

While this isn’t the best noir film of all time, it’s definitely a good example of the genre and an entertaining movie.

Murder, My Sweet:
- (U.S.)
- (Canada)

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