Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Overlooked Movies -- Murder, My Sweet

Once again I'm talking about a movie that's not really overlooked or forgotten, but who cares?  Not me.  It's one I hadn't seen in a good many years, and when it turned up on TCM, I couldn't resist taking another look.

You've probably heard the story about how Dick Powell, song and dance man, changed his career by taking the role of Philip Marlowe in Murder, My Sweet (based on Raymond Chandler's Farewell, My Lovely), and a lot of people think he's the best incarnation of Marlowe on the screen.  I like Bogart in The Big Sleep, but even I have to admit that Powell is very good and probably closer to the Marlowe of the novel than Bogart is.  I liked Powell even better this time than I did when I first saw the movie.  The script handles the novel's first-person narration by having him relate his story to the cops.  Works for me.

You know the plot.  Moose Malloy (Mike Mazurki) wants Marlowe to find a woman named Velma for him.  Meanwhile there's hanky panky with a jade necklace supposedly stolen from a woman named Helen Grayle.  There's a ransom to be paid, but that doesn't turn out well at all.  And after that the plot gets really complicated.  I probably couldn't summarize it even if I tried, so I'm not going to try.  Let's just say that it involves a little romance, plenty of blows to the head for Marlowe, deceit, danger, that necklace, and snappy patter.  It's all a lot of fun, and Murder, My Sweet is right up there with the best of Chandler on film.  The Robert Mitchum remake under Chandler's original title isn't nearly as good, even though Mitchum might have been an even better Marlowe when he was younger.

Murder, My Sweet is a movie you don't want to overlook.  Trust me.

12 comments:

Greg Daniel said...

Can't recall the last time I saw this in its entirety, but I always catch a chunk every time its on TCM. And, every time, I am surprised to be reminded 1) how much I like it; and 2) how good it is. You'd think I'd learn by now, but even your post had the same effect. Though it's neither forgotten nor overlooked, as you wrote, I think paradoxically that it kind of is, at least by me. So I agree, if someone hasn't seen it, but all means, they should -- and, if they have, they should do it again. They just might be (re)surprised.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

This has always been a favorite of mine. Mike Mazurki was the perfect Moose Malloy.

Bill Crider said...

Agreed. He was great.

Cap'n Bob said...

I've seen it many times and always get a kick out of it. Iron Mike Mazurki was once a professional wrestler, which is where he learned to act.

Todd Mason said...

Claire Trevor very good as well...as she usually was...

Don Coffin said...

I really need to pull more of the DVDs out and watch them...and this is one of the ones I need to pull out and watch again...

Max Allan Collins said...

To me it remains the best Phillip Marlowe movie. THE BIG SLEEP is a terrific albeit confounding Bogart movie. I like James Garner in MARLOWE, but that's just a rough sketch of Rockford ("Does your mother know what you do for a living?"). Powell owned the part.

Dan said...

Mike Mazurki's entrance is a classic moment in Cinema.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Old movies are the best, I think.

Anonymous said...

Powers Boothe wasn't bad in the HBO series from the eighties. I'd like to see those again.

John M. Whalen

Bill Crider said...

Yes. I enjoyed those.

Bud said...

If you lay out all the plots, you have to laugh, but the actors made it work just fine.