Actor/director/producer. In his early career, from the late ‘20s to the early ’40s, Montgomery was an amiable light comedian and dramatic actor, appearing in almost 40 sound films before 1935. He starred opposite Norma Shearer in Private Lives (1931), Joan Crawford in The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1937), Carole Lombard in Hitchcock’s comedy Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941) and was nominated for an Academy Award for Night Must Fall (1937) and Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941). His career took a more serious turn after his stint in World War II. For his first film after returning, They Were Expendable (1945), Montgomery not only starred but assisted John Ford in the direction. He also starred in and directed the Raymond Chandler detective thriller Lady in the Lake, noted for its unique first-person point of view. His attentions then turned to politics and television. Montgomery gave “friendly” testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and by the mid ’50s was a consultant to Republican… read more
For as horrible of a Philip Marlowe that Robert Montgomery was and for as challenging as the 1st person POV gets, I fucking LOVE Lady in the Lake. Audrey Totter gets more gorgeous and hypnotizing with each scene she anchors. I also dug the long takes, especially when the body is discovered and the scene with the car wreck. The eerie choral score & opening titles went a long way, too. My idea of a Christmas movie.
This could have been a 5 star movie with it's exciting storyline full of twists and turns and a great script. Robert Montgomery, however, is disappointing as Marlowe and as the film's director. I kept imagining how good this could have been in the hands of an experienced director and with Bogart, Mitchum or Dick Powell as Marlowe. A girl can dream, can't she?
The gimmick often feels pretentious and obnoxious, but it's a testament to Raymond Chandler's story that the film delivers intrigue.