Wednesday, May 27, 2020

FAREWELL, MY LOVELY - "I Need Another Drink" (1975)

Welcome to a "Well, If It Was Good Enough The First Time Wednesday!"
Let's do it again!

"Farewell, My Lovely" is a remake of "Murder, My Sweet" made thirty-one years later in 1975.
"Farewell, My Lovely" is also the original title of the Philip Marlowe book written by Raymond Chandler. 

Who would really name their son something like this?
A Dick Richards film about a private dick, how appropriate!

Most of the characters are the same, and the story kind of starts out the same, but after that, it's pretty much a different story! This time out an aging Robert Mitchum plays Philip Marlowe, and if you ask me, it's a pretty good fit. Philip Marlowe was supposed to be about 20 years younger than what Robert Mitchum was, but if you didn't know that, you would never know the difference. Just don't expect this film to be too much like the other one! It's just like a good cover tune, maybe like The Clash playing Glenn Miller's "In The Mood!"

If you've seen "Murder, My Sweet," you'll kind of know what's going on for a while, but "Farewell, My Lovely" is a completely different movie. I read that since nice guy Dick Powell was trying to break out of his singer/dancer mold, they changed the title from "Farewell, My Lovely," because it sounded too much like one of the musicals he was trying to leave in his past!

This time out, the Moose Malloy character is played by 6'6" former professional heavyweight boxer Jack O'Halloran, who won his first 16 fights, and had a career record of 34-21-2.
Still working today, Jack has four films in pre-production.

I have not read the book completely yet, but from what I've read so far, this version is truer to the book, like this part about the club "Florians" being a black club. 
Probably the most annoying thing about this film is the lack of much of the colorful language used by Raymond Chandler. I just don't understand that! Philip Marlowe's language as written by David Zelag Goodman is weak and tepid by comparison!

Original copies of the 1940 novel sell for thousands of dollars, but if you don't need a collectible copy, then you can go read it for yourself for free!

"Farewell, My Lovely" has a fine cast that includes Harry Dean Stanton, and Robert Ireland as a couple of very ineffective police officers.

The woman with a face like a bucket of mud is played this time by Sylvia (Violent Midnight, Life on Mars) Miles. Sylvia passed away a little less than a year ago at the age of 94.

Philip Marlowe follows a lead that Velma Valento is in a mental hospital in Camarillo, Ca.
Mental hospitals are barely a thing any more. Between 1955 and 1994, approximately 487,000 mental patients were released. The mental hospitals of today are the streets of every major metropolitan area instead!

The quite lovely Charlotte (Dexter) Rampling has the main female lead in this version, but the role of Mrs. Grayle/Velma was changed substantially for this version.
Charlotte is also still working and has four films in post-production.

"Farewell My Lovely" has a couple of early career appearances by Sylvester Stallone......

........And everybody's favorite sleazebag, Joe Spinell!!
In the middle is Kate Murtagh as Amthor, the lesbian who runs the whore house.
I love the fact that the one prostitute is reading a "Whiz" comic book!

Philip Marlowe does get shot up with drugs in this film too, but his trip is a lot shorter than in "Murder, My Sweet."

In this version, Philip Marlowe is a big baseball fan, especially of Joe DiMaggio!

It's really hard to say which film is better, because they don't even seem to be the same story most of the time. I think it's better to just watch each film on it's own merit, and forget about the comparisons! Between the color print, the cussing, and the slight bit of nudity, it really is a different movie.
There is one constant, the music is great in both versions!

If you've got some extra time on your hands, this would probably be a good time to watch a double feature of two movies that are the same, but completely different. There's no reason to compare them, just enjoy each one for what it is!
And to make it even easier for you.....


Rich Horton said...

It's been many years since I saw the Robert Mitchum's take on Phillip Marlowe in this version of "Farewell, My Lovely," but it's true -- the plotline is definitely closer to Chandler's novel, and even if Mitchum plays a much older Marlowe than the pre-middled-hero of Chandler's novels, it still works because Mitchum carries the world-weariness that Chandler's Marlowe carries with him. And it works! And the '40s version ("Murder, My Sweet") also works! Both films "get" Chandler, though you are absolutely correct: "Murder, My Sweet" (1944) has the better dialogue and captures the wit & punditry of Chandler. I would say only that as femme fatales go, Charlotte Rampling would not have been my choice for the sexy, seductive Mrs. Grayle (even as much as I have lusted after Charlotte Rampling much of my adult life!), and the casting the Amthor role as a lesbian running a whorehouse is simply gratuitous. Amthor was already chilling in his original portrayal as a phony "mystic" who preys upon the rich. No need for the other stuff.

In the end, I totally agree with you -- watch "Murder, My Sweet" & "Farewell, My Lovely" as a double-feature. But, then, by all means, read Raymond Chandler's original novel. It is a continual delight!

EEGAH!! said...

Thanx Rich! Couldn't agree more! I really liked Robert Mitchum as the world-weary Detective. Two great films in my humble opinion!

Anonymous said...

I watched both of these films recently, along with the novel's earliest version, The Falcon Takes Over. The Falcon version is, like most Falcon films, a bit more light-hearted. Worth seeing for Ward Bond as Moose.

Haven't seen it since it first ran, but there's a Mike Hammer (Stacy Keach version) episode called Harlem Nocturne, based on Farewell, My Lovely. No credit to Chandler, but it's clearly another version.

Scott Lovrine

EEGAH!! said...

Very Interesting Scott. I'll have to check out the Falcon and Hammer versions. Thanks!!

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