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Monday, March 16, 2015

Murder My Sweet (1944)

A private detective (Dick Powell) is hired by a hulking not too bright ex-convict (Mike Mazurki) to find his old girlfriend who has disappeared. Soon after, the private eye is hired by an effete gigolo (Douglas Walton) to act as an intermediary in returning a piece of stolen jewelry to its owner. But when the bodies start piling up, it's the detective that the police suspect. This is the second film version (the first was made only two years earlier as THE FALCON TAKES OVER) of Raymond Chandler's novel FAREWELL MY LOVELY which would be remade a third time in 1975. Reputedly, Chandler was very pleased with this film version although there have been substantial changes from his novel. It's a good tight little piece of film noir solidly directed by Edward Dmytryk. The film was a career changer for Powell who up to this point was a lightweight leading man working in musicals and comedies. It also provided Mazurki with the best role he ever had in movies. Claire Trevor makes for a fine femme fatale but I could have done without Anne Shirley whose character has been changed from the reporter in the book to Trevor's stepdaughter in the film. With Otto Kruger, Miles Mander and Esther Howard.

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