Synopsis by Hal Erickson
One-time movie crooner Dick Powell literally turned his career around in the 1944 film noir Murder My Sweet. Powell stars as Phillip Marlowe, the hard-boiled private detective antihero created by novelist Raymond Chandler. Hired by hulking, psychotic Moose Malloy (Mike Mazurki) to locate Moose's old girl friend, Marlowe is pitched headlong into a morass of intrigue and deception. The participants include duplicitous glamour-girl Claire Trevor, sodden slattern Esther Howard, suave blackmailer Otto Kruger and dyspeptic doctor Ralf Harolde. At one point, Marlowe is railroaded into a lunatic asylum, where under the influence of drugs he experiences a surrealistic nightmare the like of which would not be seen on screen again until Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958). So fascinating are the "bad" characters in Murder My Sweet that the two 100% "good" characters, heroine Anne Shirley and detective Don Douglas, seem wishy-washy wimps by comparison. After years of insipid golly-gee roles, Dick Powell startled his fans with his cynical, world-weary portrayal of Philip Marlowe. The part put him back on top of the box-office tallies and enabled him to extend his acting career into the 1950s, which led to an even more lucrative "third life" as a powerful TV-studio executive. Murder My Sweet was based on Chandler's Farewell My Lovely, previously filmed in 1942 as The Falcon Takes Over; a remake, Farewell, My Lovely, was produced in 1975, with Robert Mitchum as Marlowe.
blackmail, detective, ex-convict, false-accusation, flashback, investigator, killing, missing-person, murder
High Artistic Quality, High Historical Importance, High Production Values