Saturday, May 23, 2020

MURDER, MY SWEET - "An Original Philip Marlowe Mystery" (1944)

This week's Saturday Night Special is a terrific little film noir from 1944 called 
"Murder, My Sweet."

Rich Arithmetic is the guy you can thank for turning me onto this title!

So here you've got former singer/dance Dick Powell as hard-boiled dick Philip Marlowe!
He's being interrogated by the police, and you don't find out why he is blindfolded until the end of the movie!

All you have to do is hear the first few lines of the monologue to get totally sucked into this film!
Raymond Chandler penned the novel and approved of Dick Powell for the role!

Any movie with Mike Mazurki in it is probably going to be worth watch in my opinion!

Big Mike is Moose Malloy, and he needs Philip Marlowe to help him find his girl. You really don't want to get in his face like this!

Marlowe has to go out looking for clues, and this was one of his first stops.
"She was a charming middle-aged lady with a face like a bucket of mud."
Esther (Dick Tracy vs. Cueball) Howard is Jessie Florian. "Her husband died with a beer in his hand, and she finished it for him."

Dis is da Moose's goil Velma Valento! 
Velma was played by Claire (The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse) Trevor.

Philip Marlowe is up to his neck in trouble in no time flat!

Ann (Bachelor Bait) Shirley as Ann Grayle, tries to get Philip Marlowe's attention disguised as a journalist!
This was Anne Shirley's last role. She was only 26, but had already been in 68 films!

Shots like this make films like this great!!

Philip Marlowe is one tough cookie, but there's more of them than there is of him, so they  catch up with him and shoot him full of some funky drugs!

It makes for a pretty surreal dug scene considering the date!

The doors of perception are quickly closing!

It gets so bad, you don't know if Philip Marlowe is going to get through this or not!

He feels like he's in a literal haze and even after he escapes, he still has a couple of flashbacks!

Meanwhile, reality looks like this!

"Murder, My Sweet" is a different kind of movie, and Philip Marlowe is a different kind of hero, and you can check it out for yourself on The Internet Archive for free. If you feel guilty enough, you can even drop a buck or two into their donation box!

This is the reason Philip Marlowe was blindfolded at the beginning. He got too close to the flash from a gun, and was temporarily blinded!
There have been at least 17 other TV or movie productions about Philip Marlowe over the last seventy something years. And there's more on the way! If any of them are half as good as this film, then they all would be worth watching!


Rich Horton said...

An excellent summary of an iconic film during film noir's heyday. I would take issue with one thing, however -- I would not refer to it as a "terrific LITTLE film noir." Frankly, it is considered one of the iconic depictions of Phil Marlowe in film history, not bad for former song-and-dance man, Dick Powell, who saw his career revitalized by this role. Additionally, "Murder My Sweet" has superb & efficient direction, great sets & lighting, witty hard-boiled dialogue, and is relatively faithful to Raymond Chandler's original novel ("Farewell, My Lovely"). Plus, it checks all the boxes for classic film noir, (a) a flawed hero who may or may not be on the side of the law, (b) a believable misguided dupe along with a weak man, and (c) the femme fatale who may be the death of them all -- all of which, I think raises it above being a "little" film. But, yes, in every other respect, I love the summary of one of the great detective films of the 1940's, a time when detective films ruled. Great job!

EEGAH!! said...

Thanks! I guess what I meant by 'little' is compared to giant blockbusters of today. Movies like this are like Davey and Goliath, and 'little' in the sense that they are just as good or better than gigantic budget films in my mind, but I think you know that already! Couldn't agree with you more about Anne Shirley.

EEGAH!! said...

Henceforth I will drop the word 'little' from my vocabulary!

K said...

But...what about Little Annie Fanny? ;)

Unknown said...

Ha! You're a good man!

Rich Horton said...

In the case of Little Annie Fanny, "Little" is perfect! (RIP, Harvey Kurtzman)

Secret Squirrel said...

Nice overview and this is absolutely one of my top five favourite film noirs (along with Out Of The Past, Sunset Boulevarde, Criss Cross and Double Indemnity).

There are plenty of other noirs that I enjoy, but to me, there's something about having people like Dick Powell or Fred McMurray in the lead role. Maybe it's just me.

cheers from Downunder!


K said... in "Little" clothing on her body, you mean? ;)

Robert M. Lindsey said...

This has long been one of my favorites, and drove me to actually read Chandler! He is now my favorite author.

K(D) said...

Yeah, lately I've been dropping a buck or more to the Internet Archive every time I buy something via PayPal (almost daily purchases). That site has kept me entertained with old movies, tv shows, and music for a looong has this site(!!!), which introduces me to stuff I've never seen or even heard of before!*

*Maybe the Dungeon needs to have a DONATE button on every page of the site? Get rid of the "Mr. KD Himself" thing over there on the right, and replace it with a big fat DONATE button for the Dungeon!!!

Charles W Callahan said...

Nice post. I've never seen a MARLOWE project i didn't dig, MMS is toward the top of the likst.

The James Caan thing impressed me not at all.

Ralf Harolde was terriific. He was creepy in this and many other flicks. Check out

NIGHT NURSE and PICTURE SNATCHER. He was also creepy in real life. Google him. Sheesh.

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