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.
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4 & a half stars. Based on the novel by Raymond Chandler, and the first of several films featuring his iconic Philip Marlowe character, here played by Dick Powell (later played by Bogart, Elliot Gould and Robert Mitchum). Worth noting is character actor Mike Mazurki, one of Hollywood's great thugs, a role he played over 150 times. Shrewdly directed by HUAC snitch Dmytryk, it does justice to the great Chandler's work.
Along with Kiss Me Deadly, one of the strangest of all detective movies. A film full of bizarre interactions, stilted dialogues, hallucinations, punning one-liners and some of the most abstract and theatrical compositions ever featured in a 'classical' Hollywood noir. I couldn't take my eyes off it! The detective film as subjective nightmare; more a precursor to Blue Velvet than a descendant of The Maltese Falcon.
This screen cap says it all...looks spectacular. And Dick Powell is wonderful as Philip Marlowe. With Powell, Marlowe is even wittier, even more cynical in his observations than when played by Bogart.. Powell sells it all perfectly, delivering the sharp one-liners with a deadpan expression that is both laugh-out-loud funny and knowingly tough.
"'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.'"
I don't think anything in the first wave of Raymond Chandler adaptations captures the acerbic novelist's acid wit half as well as does Dmytryk's MURDER, MY SWEET, which also benefits from radical compression, allowing for the antic intensification of the zany intricate plotting. Some people are not wholly sold on Dick Powell, a dancer in the realm of plot, for the simple reason that they are morons and have no class.