Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Murder, My Sweet (1944)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Murder, My Sweet (1944) (aka Farewell, My Lovely)

In director Edward Dmytryk's film noir detective classic - a tale of intrigue, murder, tough dialogue and corrupt deception, with expressionistic, shadowy chiaroscuro lighting, strange camera angles, frequent first-person, descriptive voice-over narration, innovative set design, a convoluted time frame, and numerous flashbacks:

  • the opening shot was of a blinding ceiling light and sounds of accusatory voices, and then a pull-back camera to the side of detective Philip Marlowe (Dick Powell), with bandaged eyes as he was interrogated by police and then began to relate part of his tale - in flashback
  • there was the brooding appearance of a figure in Marlowe's office window-pane (flashing city lights reflected onto the face of brutish Moose Malloy (Mike Mazurki) standing behind him in the darkness), the love-struck ex-con hired Marlowe to look for a mysterious Velma Valento, his missing ex-lover (Velma had sold him out 8 years earlier for unknown reasons, although he still remembered her: "She was cute as lace pants")
  • Marlowe visited at the Grayle mansion in Brentwood with elderly Mr. Grayle (Miles Mander) and his much younger trophy wife and femme fatale vamp Helen Grayle (Claire Trevor), a gold-digger (with a double identity) who was prominently showing off her legs and ankle-strap high heels; she hired the detective to locate a stolen $100,000 jade necklace (which she later revealed was never actually stolen)
  • there were two amusing instances when Marlowe struck his match on a marble Cupid's back-end, and when he played hopskotch (recalling Powell's days as a dancer) on the black/white checkered-tiled floor of millionaire Mr. Grayle's (Miles Mander) mansion
  • Lindsay Marriott (Douglas Walton), an effeminate gigolo, asked Marlowe to accompany him as a bodyguard late at night to a secluded canyon to pay off a ransom - to buy an allegedly stolen jade necklace back (during the altercation, Marlowe was knocked unconscious, and Marriott was bludgeoned to death) [Note: Later, Helen confessed that she and Marriott had set up Marlowe to be killed in the canyon, because he was a "nosy detective" and would interfere with her schemes, but her intention was to kill both Marriott and Marlowe, but her stepdaughter Ann Grayle (Anne Shirley) had arrived at an inopportune moment, and she was only able to murder Marriott]
  • an example of Marlowe's memorable narrated dialogue: ("I caught the blackjack behind my ear. A black pool opened up at my feet. I dived in. It had no bottom")
  • Marlowe experienced a nightmare ("a crazy, coked-up dream") when pursued through a series of identical doors by a doctor with a giant hypodermic needle - there wre further scenes of his drug-induced hallucinations
  • during a final shoot-out in the Grayles' beach house, mysterious, flirtatious Mrs. Helen Grayle/Velma Valento, who had set up numerous individuals over the alleged theft of her jade jewelry, was killed by her husband (who in turn killed and was killed by Moose - who had already murdered blackmailing underworld kingpin and aristocratic master-crook - psychic/quack therapist Jules Amthor (Otto Kruger) by snapping his neck); Marlowe's eyes were scorched and blinded in the process by a gun blast
Philip Marlowe Blinded During Shoot-Out
Shoot-Out in Beach House
  • as a witness to all the killings, Ann Grayle was able to clear temporarily-blinded Marlowe of all charges - and accompanied him home in the back seat of a taxi - where they shared a kiss

Marlowe Bandaged and Interrogated in Police Station

Moose Malloy in Marlowe's Office

Malloy and Marlowe

Femme Fatale Mrs. Helen Grayle

Marlowe's Nightmarish Hallucinations

Ann Grayle and Marlowe Kissing in Back Seat of Taxi


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