Murder, My Sweet

Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Murder, My Sweet
A down-on-his-luck private detective searches for an ex-convict's missing girlfriend and finds himself in a dark world of mayhem and murder.


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Dec 31, 2014
  • plotline rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The Screen's Best Marlowe

"I caught the blackjack right behind my ear. A black pool opened up at my feet. I dived in; it had no bottom."- Phillip Marlowe in MURDER, MY SWEET.

There are plenty of bottomless pools in MURDER, MY SWEET, Edward Dmytryk's outstanding noir. Tapping into a direct line to the dark places of the human psyche, the film raises the curtain on one shadowy scene after another. It leads the viewer on a convoluted trip through a very gloomy and treacherous labyrinth where oily con men, pesky cops, scheming ladies, and at least one gargantuan lovesick Romeo put the down-at-heels private investigator through the wringer.

Moose Malloy's vanished girlfriend (and a tidy retainer) occupies Marlowe at first. Then, when an expensive jade necklace needs retrieving (with another fat fee offered), Marlowe bites again. But suddenly those too deep pools begin to appear.

John Paxton's screenplay has the cast of characters thinking out loud a lot, which helps occasionally. But just as in Raymond Chandler's other overly schematic crime story, THE BIG SLEEP, strict attention must be paid. Yet even if you become confused, you can still revel in Harry J. Wilde's sterling cinematography. (By coincidence, Wilde, along with a slew of other people, including Orson Welles, shot additional scenes for THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS for which he and the others received no credit. As Welles himself intones rather solemnly at that film's conclusion: "Stanley Cortez was the photographer").

The really big draw in MURDER is Dick Powell, not just delivering a career-changing performance (and being the first actor to play Marlowe) but also giving the best interpretation of Marlowe on film... and that includes Bogart's fine outing in Hawks' THE BIG SLEEP (1946), Robert Mitchum's two disappointing films, and Elliot Gould's daring 1973 performance in Altman's THE LONG GOODBYE. Powell projects the detective's weary cynicism and dogged determination without any hint of showy mannerism or overplayed toughness. His presence is completely natural and convincing, far from any Hollywood ham acting.

In addition, MURDER, MY SWEET presents the polished villainy of Otto Kruger, slithering around Powell with his characteristic reptilian menace; Anne Shirley as a spunky good girl who brightens the gloom somewhat; and, on the femme fatale side, the high voltage glare of Claire Trevor, laminated in heavy make-up like a pricey, megawatt doxy. Literally towering over everything is Mike Mazurki's Moose (far more effective than Jack O'Halloran's catatonic trance in Mitchum's FAREWELL, MY LOVELY). Mazurki's silent entrance into Marlowe's office at the beginning sets the uneasy mood where huge, powerful forces stir and then emerge from the darkness.

Sep 28, 2014
  • 7duffy rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Good film noir. Decent story, a bit convoluted, but eventually explained. Great lighting and direction....goes hand-in-hand. Dick Powell may even be a better Phillip Marlowe than Bogart, because Bogart is, well, Bogart. When he is on screen, it's tough to tell where Bogart ends and Marlowe begins. Powell, however, is Phillip Marlowe. The character comes through, loud and clear. Interesting to hear the tough guy vernacular of the day and fun to figure out it's meaning. I would say in the top 10 of Crime film noir's. Looking for the remake starring Robert Mitchum - "Farewell, My Lovely"..

Aug 10, 2013
  • voisjoe1 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

“Murder My Sweet” is one of the top ten film noirs, probably just missing the top five. The best film noirs were "The Maltese Falcon," "The Big Sleep," and "Double Indemnity." This film noir has the detective that doesn’t really know much about the real reason he is being hired (everyone around him is a liar, covering up something). It includes the femme fatale who is plotting to make a quick buck or to kill a husband, etc. This film includes some incredibly clever hardboiled similes as Detective Marlowe in his narration of his surroundings makes fun of various people, places or things that he observes.

Jun 09, 2013

After watching this film, I am of the opinion that Dick Powell was the best on screen Philip Marlowe ever. I have read all the Philip Marlowe mysteries and Powell perfectly matches the Philip Marlowe that was portrayed in Raymond Chandler's novels.. Bogie was fine in the Big Sleep, but in the end the latter was really a Bogie and Baby film wasn't it? Not a Philip Marlowe film. George Montgomery and Robert Montgomery were forgettable. The same for James Garner and Eliot Gould.

Mar 15, 2013
  • Bazooka_Joe rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

From my point of view, this excessively convoluted, 1945 Crime-Thriller just barely managed to scrape by on the skin of its teeth with a 3-star rating._____ Murder, My Sweet's story started out intriguing enough, but before long it became too muddled and confused as too many characters and unimportant situations were introduced into the whole business of having gumshoe, Philip Marlowe solve what seemed to be a very simple case of blackmail and murder._____ By rights the Marlowe character should've been bumped off within this film's first 20 minutes, but, boy, as it turned out, this guy certainly had more lives than a cat!_____ I think that this sort of plotline confusion was characteristic of a typical Raymond Chandler Murder-Mystery, which Murder, My Sweet was adapted from. Chandler was noted for purposely adding irrelevant twists to his stories as a way of keeping his readers guessing right up to the very end._____ Unfortunately this sort of approach doesn't work well when transposed into a motion picture (even with voice-over narration added to fill in all of the gaps). It only leaves the viewer exasperated and dissatisfied, as it did with me._____ But, all-in-all, with that all said, from a nostalgic point of view, this film was fairly entertaining in its own right.

Dec 26, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

THIS is it. THIS is how you define film noir. Raymond Chandler was genius. Anything for a buck private dick Philip Marlowe's razor sharp narration to the cops about getting "sapped" on the head with a blackjack by an unseen mystery person in the fog, sending him into a "black pool"... Poetically sparking a match to light his smoke on Cupid's rear-end... Big goons named "Moose", femme fatales, stolen jade necklaces, a dead client, Dr. Jekyll (Marlowe's words, not mine) induced hallucinations... Absolutely top shelf shadowy sinister suspense. The whole cast is brilliant (particularly Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, and Mike Mazurki). FIVE STARS.

Sep 04, 2009
  • KarenW rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

What a winding trip this movie provides on the way to solving a crime. Dick Powell as Philip Marlowe is wonderful - his clipped narration is perfectly in tune with his character.


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Dec 26, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Philip Marlowe (voiceover): "...She was a charming middle-aged lady with a face like a bucket of mud. I gave her a drink. She was a gal who'd take a drink, if she had to knock you down to get the bottle."

Dec 26, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Lindsay Marriott: "I'm afraid I don't like your manner." Philip Marlowe: "Yeah, I've had complaints about it, but it keeps getting worse."

Dec 26, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Lindsay Marriott: "How would you like a swift punch on the nose?!?" Philip Marlowe: "I tremble at the thought of such violence."

Dec 26, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Philip Marlowe (voiceover): "I caught the blackjack right behind my ear. A black pool opened up at my feet. I dived in. It had no bottom. I felt pretty good -- like an amputated leg."

Dec 26, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Philip Marlowe: " 'Okay Marlowe,' I said to myself. 'You're a tough guy. You've been sapped twice, choked, beaten silly with a gun, shot in the arm until you're crazy as a couple of waltzing mice. Now let's see you do something really tough -- like putting your pants on.' "


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