The fog was as still as the dead, clinging to the gently lapping waves. The rhythm soothed my nerves as I approached the single figure on the boardwalk.
I snicked a match, it briefly flickered into life. The figure turned to face me, his thin lips illuminated by his cigarette.
I took a shot in the dark but luckily it landed true,
I approached closer and took in what I saw. The General was a badly aged man, his face looked worn and eroded by stress. But not his eyes, they shone with a fierce light of a man half my age. I told him that his new muscle, Sugar Joe, was a guy who danced with dames and I was out to teach him a thing or two. His eyes softened in thought. He told me where he was. It was easier than I thought. I didn't thank him but headed back to the car, I could feel his eyes in my back. I'd have to watch out for him in the future.
Oh, it's entry number three for FFFNFD week. Hope you're still enjoying it.
Murder, My Sweet (1944)
This classic film is directed by Edward Dmytryk is a pretty faithful adaption of the 1940's Raymond Chandler novel Farewell, My Lovely (which is what the film was called in the UK). Unlike the other great Chandler film adaptions I'm familiar with, this time the character of Philip Marlowe isn't played by vertically challenged booze funnel Humphrey Bogart but instead by Dick Powell.
Certainly it plays out really, really well. The Marlowe that Powell evokes is far less suave but seemingly more dangerous. He's far less cool in many of the situations and Murder, My Sweet also has it's really gritty moments but they feel very different from the emotionally charged scenes of violence in The Big Sleep.
The plot of the film mixes up two main cases and almost inevitably end up being related (this type of story is lampooned to great effect in Kiss Kiss Bang Band). The first is of the missing girlfriend of a large and simple man called Moose Malloy, a mountain of a man introduced in a very stylish way at the start of the film. The second 'strand' involves the murder of a wealthy man Marlowe was paid to protect, this part of the story involves blackmail, precious stones and the seductive women you'd expect in such a noir tale.
Whilst no where near as gritty and dangerous as the world that Chandler created, the film certainly has it's nastier moments. One in particular involves the forced intake of illegal drugs and the resulting nightmarish vision is one of the most spectacular scenes I've seen since Vertigo.
There are also no femme fatales on the scale or quality of Veronica Lake. The main female character, played ably by Claire Trevor is a predatory character which plays nicely against the far more childish and innocent Ann Grayle, played by Anne Shirley. It's just that Veronica Lake had a sheer magnetism to her that made her hold the screen with hardly any movement that in this film, neither Trevor or Shirley have.
This film is an improvement on This Gun For Hire and is as good as The Glass Key. Both this film and The Glass Key are noir films much darker, violent and cynical than This Gun For Hire.
Again, the direction of Murder, My Sweet is outstanding. The hallucination scene is almost without equal and the style of the film as a narrative allows Marlowe's sardonic written narration to pass over into cinema. It's a great film, I really liked it.
Trailer (I love these types of trailers!):