Quick recap: Detective Philip Marlowe has been hired by an ex-con to find his missing ex girlfriend. Somehow this also turns into a jewelry heist and murder mystery. Always with the murder mysteries, noir films.
Fun (?) fact: The film was originally titled Farewell, My Lovely but was changed because audiences thought it was a musical. If anything, I think this speaks more about the advertising department for the film than the initial confusion.
My thoughts: I’ve mentioned my least favorite genres at length as of late, but now I’m glad to talk about a new favorite- the film-noir. I’ve watched a few already and really love how dark they can be, and yet have such a quick wit about them . Murder, My Sweet is no exception. If I had to describe what film-noir was to someone, I would use this movie as a prime example.
The mystery at the heart of the film is a complex one and I’ll admit to still not completely understanding some parts. Not understanding a plot would annoy me in other situations, but it’s all par for the course in this type of genre. I wasn’t able to figure out where the ex-girlfriend was until the very end and I’d like to say it’s because of the intricate plot, but it’s most likely because I’m the worst at solving mysteries. I couldn’t even handle Encyclopedia Brown as a kid because the stress of solving the puzzle, mixed in with the crushing disappointment of knowing the answer was right in front of me the whole time was too much for a 7 year old to deal with. In a positive light, if I had figured out the ending to Murder, My Sweet I wouldn’t have been as entertained.
I loved Dick Powell as Detective Philip Marlowe. He was fearless when it came to hunting down clues and never lost his cool. I’m not sure detective work is really a good choice for him in the long run however, on account of how easily he blacked out throughout the movie.The scene where he wakes up after being drugged is my favorite because of all the work it took to put the viewer in the perspective of someone who has lost his mind. The camera’s lens was made to look like spider webs had formed in the room, a perfect symbol for that foggy feeling we all feel at some point. Hopefully not because we have been strangled by a dim witted ex-con, but I still get it.
Some favorite tropes I observed in Murder, My Sweet:
- beach house as a scene of the crime (seriously, I’m staying away from beach houses)
- making out with all the girls, even the ones who are about to murder you
- police interrogation at the beginning of the film to launch the story
- gun mishandling- always a laugh
Final review: 4/5. This one was a lot of fun, but still a little to complex for its own good.
Up next: Persona