Lady in the Lake (1947)

lady-in-the-lakeRobert Montgomery without his face is just awful; the accent doesn’t carry the hard-boiled tough guy, and I don’t care that he had to direct the film as well: the message is the medium, and the medium is the message, pilgrim!

The ‘point of view’ gimmick of not showing the lead rather than what he sees is just twee. It might work for porno blow jobs, but it doesn’t really cut it for thrillers – not when the intended voyeur has to share the hicksville Montgomery accent.

All the same, Audrey Totter had her moments as the gold-digging prick tease. I have known some girls like that I almost did everything for. Almost!

It’s a shame Steve Fisher didn’t get the screenplay under control, or maybe editor Gene Ruggiero was smoking weed when he glossed over continuity.

The Christmas chorus theme in the film score worked well; I always did think the carols by the hypocrites had an ominous ring to them.

Credits

Metro Goldwyn Mayer, 105 minutes, black and white.

Directed by Robert Montgomery. Written by Steve Fisher, from the novel by Raymond Chandler. Cinematography by Paul Vogel. Produced by George Haight. Music by David Snell.

Featuring Robert Montgomery as Phillip Marlowe, Audrey Totter as Adrienne Fromsett, Lloyd Nolan as Lieutenant DeGarmot, Tom Tully as Captain Fergus Kane, Leon Ames as Derrace Kingsby, Jayne Meadows as Mildred Havelend, Richard Simmons as Chris Lavery, Morris Ankrum as Eugene Grayson.

Murder, My Sweet (1945)

mms-poster

In its time the film boasted an unlikely leading man, Dick Powell, better known as a crooner in musical romances than as the hard-boiled tough guy Phillip Marlowe, so much so that the title of the film had to be changed from Farewell, My Lovely, that also being the name of a musical Powell had fronted prior to his contract with RKO.

Nevertheless, Powell gave a convincing performance as the smart-talking, slightly edgy Marlowe in this impressively atmospheric, low-budget screen adaptation of the Chandler story.

The plot is labyrinthine, leading audiences on a wild goose chase after clues that aren’t there right up to the final minutes of the narrative.

Marlowe is hired by the heavyweight-sized Moose Malloy, a recently released convict who’s more brawn than brains, to find his old flame, Velma, whom he’d lost track of while serving a stretch for an ill defined crime. Tracking her down annoys the wrong people and sees Marlowe set up for the murder of a new client, the effete Lindsay Marriott, while babysitting him on a pay-off rendezvous to retrieve a stolen opal necklace worth $100,000.

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