Farewell My Lovely (1944)

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Director: Edward Dmytryk
Cast: Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Anne Shirley, Otto Kruger

Synopsis

Philip Marlowe is approached by a bear-like ex-con by the name of 'Moose' Malloy to trace his lost love. Almost at the same time Marlowe becomes embroiled in an attempt to buy back a stolen jade necklace belonging a wealthy trophy wife. Could there be a connection between the two cases?

The Review

Classic Chandler adaptation which gets overshadowed by the admittedly superior The Big Sleep. These films boast plots that pride themselves of staying one step ahead of the viewer, but this one at least makes sense and Powell was something of a revelation as the seedy, easy-going private eye with a weakness for women and money (playing one scene in his vest with his trousers held up by a dressing gown cord). Trevor is just a shade long in the tooth for the femme fatale role, though even that is refreshing now (and she is good). There are plenty of noir touches - darkened rooms, staircases casting long shadows, venality on all sides - and some great directorial flourishes like the drug-induced nightmares and the pools of blackness that open up whenever Marlowe is hit over the head. It's tightly edited and the black and white has a crystalling purity, save for one or two muddier shots.