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 with innovative set design, a convoluted time frame, and numerous flashbacks. This great film was originally released under the title Farewell, My Lovely, although changed so that fans of 30s musical crooner and dance star Dick Powell, portraying the main character, wouldn't think the film was a musical comedy. This film marked the earliest screen depiction of detective Philip Marlowe. [Note: Philip Marlowe was introduced in 1939 in Chandler's first novel The Big Sleep, which was made into The Big Sleep (1946) feature film with Humphrey Bogart in the role.]

This film was remade with the original title, Farewell, My Lovely (1975) starring Robert Mitchum. The tales were both adapted from Raymond Chandler's 1940 hard-boiled novel - a superb, complex, shadowy film noir and twisting tale of intrigue, murder, corruption, deception, blackmail, bribery, double-cross and double identity, with witty dialogue and cynical, descriptive voice-over narration. It was noted for its expressionistic, shadowy chiaroscuro lighting, strange camera angles, and frequent first-person, descriptive and very memorable voice-over narration. There were no Academy Award nominations for this quintessential film noir - although it was heavily praised as one of the best examples of the film noir era.

There were basically three separate narratives that were neatly woven together: a search for a love-sick ex-con's missing ex-lady friend from eight years earlier, a search for the femme fatale's 'stolen' jade necklace (the film's MacGuffin) worth $100,000 around which much of the action occurred, and the transformation of a cheap showgirl into a wealthy, gold-digging, promiscuous trophy wife. The detective character was knocked out multiple times (including a blackjacking and gun whipping), taken hostage, drugged (and hypo-ed) and temporarily blinded. For the most part, the film noir was most memorable for its narrated tough and sardonic dialogue.

  • the opening shot was of a blinding ceiling light and sounds of accusatory voices, and then a pull-back camera to the side of down-and-out detective Philip Marlowe (Dick Powell), with bandaged eyes as he was being interrogated by police (including Detective Nulty (Paul Phillips)) and then began to relate his tale - in flashback; the tough yet vulnerable, blindfolded/bandaged gumshoe detective was being grilled about a few murders that involved his gun; in flashback (almost the entire film), he told a disorienting and bewildering tale about how he was temporarily blinded
  • in war-time Los Angeles, 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 Marlowe in the darkness); the love-struck, recently-released, urgent ex-con hired Marlowe to look for a mysterious Velma Valento (Claire Trevor), his missing ex-lover had sold him out 8 years earlier for unknown reasons, although he still remembered her: "She was cute as lace pants" [Note: Velma was later revealed to be Helen Grayle (Claire Trevor).]

Philip Marlowe (Dick Powell)

Moose Malloy (Mike Mazurki)
  • to find the elusive Velma Valento, the two visited Florian's, a seedy, upstairs nightclub in downtown LA where Velma used to sing; after Mike busted up the joint and they found nothing, Marlowe on his own traced down alcoholic and widowed Jessie Florian (Esther Howard); she conspicuously but deceptively concealed a fake photo of Velma and then claimed Velma was dead; Marlowe took the photo with him before leaving; he watched through her outside window as she secretly made a phone call [Note: The call was to tip off Velma's alias. Also, it was highly probable that another call was made by "Velma" or by Jessie to an LA con-man later identified as Marriott]
  • the next morning, it wasn't a coincidence that perfumed, effeminate 30-ish gigolo Lindsay Marriott (Douglas Walton) showed up in Marlowe's office; in a seemingly-unrelated case to Moose's search for an elusive girlfriend, Marlowe was commissioned as a bodyguard, for $100, to accompany Marriott to a secluded canyon during a late-night (midnight) ransom payoff of $8,000 in cash for allegedly stolen jewels (a jade necklace), for a lady friend of his: ("Some jewels were taken from a friend of mine in a hold-up. I'm - I'm buying them back")
  • during the altercation later that night, Marlowe was knocked unconscious with a blackjack: ("I caught the blackjack right behind my ear. A black pool opened up at my feet. I dived in. It had no bottom. I felt pretty good... like an amputated leg"); [Note: By this time, Marriott had already been killed and his body was stuffed into the car]; when Marlowe regained consciousness, a young woman blinded him in the face with a bright flashlight and asked: "Are you alright? What happened? Oh!") before running off; afterwards, Marriott was found bludgeoned to death with the same weapon and stuffed into the front seat of the car

Marlowe In The Canyon Just Before He Was Blackjacked

Marlowe Knocked Out Unconscious

Marlowe Awakening and Blinded In Face with Flashlight

Quick Glimpse of Young Woman With Flashlight
  • when questioned the next day about the suspicious circumstances of the questionable and lethal transaction, Marlowe joked to the authorities: "Oh great. Now I'm a finger for a heist mob. Also, I'm Jack the Ripper"; Marlowe was warned that the real kingpin of the jewel heist mob was aristocratic master-crook and blackmailer Jules Amthor (Otto Kruger), a shady underworld figure who was being closely investigated for his involvement in setting up rich women with valuable jewelry as targets; he had probably been aligned with Marriott
  • once Marlowe returned to the office, he had another visitor - a young and wily Post reporter who claimed her name was Miss Allison; she had questions about the Marriott murder for him; the streetwise detective realized her ruse and disguise, and was able to identify her as Ann Grayle (Anne Shirley in her final film); he suspected that (1) she knew the owner of the jade necklace, (2) she might have been involved in Marriott's murder, and (3) she seemed to be trying to protect her beloved, cuckolded, and helpless father Mr. Grayle, who had married her wicked step-mother Mrs. Helen Grayle: ("The jade belongs to my father...My father happens to be married...She's not my mother!")
  • the two of them proceeded to the Grayle mansion in Brentwood, the lavish, gated residence of elderly 65 year-old Mr. Leuwen Grayle (Miles Mander) (Ann's biological father) and his much younger trophy wife and femme fatale vamp Helen Grayle (Claire Trevor), a gold-digging second wife (with a double identity); who was prominently showing off her legs and ankle-strap high heels; during their discussion, the mysterious and flirtatious Mrs. Grayle admitted that she frequently dallied with Marriott and other "pretty guys," and that Marriott was pals with sinister "bad-boy" Amthor, whom she described as a quasi-therapist: "Some sort of psychic consultant. A quack, probably"; according to her, both she and Marriott were Amthor's patients; she appeared to want to convince Marlowe to help protect her from Amthor [Note: Her story, told later, was that Amthor was blackmailing her with his knowledge of her criminal past, her infidelities with Marriott, and for her criminal associations with others, although it was fairly obvious that she was also one of his lovers]
  • Mrs. Grayle officially hired the detective to locate her allegedly stolen $100,000 jade necklace, originally given to her by her older wealthy husband Mr. Grayle (SPOILER: she later revealed it was never actually stolen); on the side, he was also to "smoke out" Amthor
  • as Marlowe was about to leave, the debonair Jules Amthor entered the living room - contradicting Helen's words that she hadn't seen him in a long time; Amthor expressed his condolences for Marriott's death, and revealed that he was well-known to her, and was probably having an affair with her; Marlowe hinted that the police suspected that Amthor was linked with Marriott and were investigating his dealings
  • there were two amusing instances (or side sequences at the mansion) when Marlowe played hopskotch (recalling Powell's days as a dancer) on the black/white checkered-tiled floor of millionaire Mr. Grayle's mansion, and later when he struck his match on a marble Cupid's back-end

Hopskotch on Checkered Floor

Striking His Match on Cupid's Bare Behind
  • shortly later after Helen had briefly flirted with him in his apartment and at the Cocoanut Beach Club, Marlowe explained to Ann how he had been hired to find Helen's necklace: "She wanted me to kiss her and find her jade necklace. I may have the order wrong, but that's the general idea"; Ann upped the ante to buy Marlowe off - to specifically hire him away from her stepmother
Mrs. Grayle Flirting with Marlowe In His Apartment
  • Marlowe continued to navigate through a perilous world, becoming further entangled with and threatened by despicable high- and low-class criminals; he and Moose met with master-crook Amthor in his fancy high-rise Hollywood penthouse apartment; Marlowe realized that Amthor was sizing him up and Marlowe asked: "What's your racket?"; he responded that he was a quack doctor working in psychic treatments; Marlowe knew that was an obvious distraction, and that Marriott's blackmail schemes and dirty dealings with Amthor were designed to set up rich women as likely jewelry-theft targets; Amthor also accused Marlowe of possibly having the necklace himself ("Where's the necklace?")
  • Moose, who had been duped by Amthor to distrust the detective and had been promised the location of Velma, entered into a physical confrontation with Marlowe and began strangling him; the struggle ended with Marlowe being struck in the face with the butt of Amthor's gun

Marlowe Attacked by Moose in Amthor's Apartment

Distorted Visions of Marlowe After Being Knocked Out by Amthor: "A Crazy Coked-Up Dream"
  • Marlowe entered unconsciousness again, but this time also experienced drug-induced hallucinations and nightmares ("a crazy, coked-up dream") when taken to and imprisoned in a strange sanitarium; he was pursued through a series of identical doors by a white-coated Dr. Sonderborg (Ralf Harolde) with a giant hypodermic needle; there were further scenes of his drug-induced hallucinations
  • after three days, Marlowe broke out of his imprisoning room after knocking out the attendant; he confronted Dr. Sonderborg who told him he had been given dangerous drugs to make him confess to having the jade necklace: "You've been suffering from narcotic poisoning"
  • Marlowe was still the prime suspect for Marriott's murder (and the theft of the necklace) while continuing to conduct his own investigation; although Marlowe's two cases were confusing, they were both linked by one person - Velma and Mrs. Grayle (the same individual) who had set up numerous individuals over the alleged theft of her jade jewelry; she was indeed a murderous femme fatale - she was the one who had murdered Marriott
  • after exiting from the sanitarium, Marlowe was again confronted by Moose, who was now requesting: "I like you to keep looking for Velma" [Note: offscreen, Moose had demanded that Amthor stop "kidding" and had forced him to divulge Velma's whereabouts - and had accidentally killed him.]
  • Marlowe sought refuge at Ann's apartment, where they talked about Marriott's murder in the canyon; she denied killing Marriott, but implicity admitted that she was there the night of his murder (he recognized her words to him: "What happened? Are you alright?"); she explained how she had always sought to protect her manipulated and helpless father and prevent him from doing any harm, and also how she "hated" her evil, unfaithful stepmother for playing around
  • when confronted by the police after a three-day search, Marlowe explained how he had been taken to a sanitarium controlled by Amthor, to try and get information from him; he also told how the jewelry Marriott was supposed to be buying back was a jade necklace belonging to one of Amphor's unnamed patients, worth about $100,000 dollars
  • now allied together, Marlowe and Ann returned to the Grayle mansion, where they found her upset father with a gun; he had learned that the "foppish" Marriott had been Helen's tenant at the Grayle cliffside beach house in Malibu, and Grayle had jealously suspected Helen's infidelity; he ordered Marlowe to close the case, but Marlowe felt compelled to continue his quest and clear his own name
  • in the first of two scenes set at the Grayles' beach house, Ann revealed her ambivalent feelings toward Marlowe - and they kissed, although Marlowe suggested that she was only being manipulatively nice to him, and actually had earlier wanted to buy him off; she was offended by the accusation; Helen entered laughing about her step-daughter's hatred of men; Ann added that she mostly hated expensive, cold-hearted, gold-digging women (i.e. Helen) who brutally used men; after a brief catfight between them, Ann ran off to be with her father

Helen's Brief Catfight With Her Denounced Step-Daughter Ann

Helen's Seductive Attempts at Hooking Marlowe to Kill Amthor

The Tempting Helen to Marlowe: "I need you"
  • Helen attempted to seduce Marlowe and described her problems with Amthor; she accused Amthor of bribery or blackmail, after he had learned of her promiscuity and infidelities with Marriott; she admitted that to keep him quiet, she had promised Amthor the necklace as 'hush money,' but then the necklace was stolen; she accused Amthor of murdering Marriott in the canyon for plotting to steal the necklace; and then, she proposed that Marlowe assist her in killing Amthor: ("I want you to help me kill Amthor"); she threw herself at Marlowe and offered herself for a kiss ("I need you") and he succumbed; he agreed to bring Amthor (with the jade necklace) back to the beach house the following evening so that she could kill him
  • after leaving the beach house, Marlowe entered Amthor's ransacked penthouse, and found that Amthor had a snapped neck - the murder was assumed to have been committed by the brutish Moose Malloy "with a big pair of hands"
  • back in his office, Marlowe promised Moose that he could be reunited and speak with the missing Velma (aka Helen Grayle) the next evening; all of the principals would be gathering at the beach house
  • during a second and final confrontation in the Grayles' beach house, Mrs. Helen Grayle/Velma Valento showed the astonished Marlowe the jade necklace, and admitted that she had fabricated the entire robbery: (Marlowe: "It was never stolen? There wasn't any holdup? You faked the whole thing."); Marlowe didn't buy her explanation that Amthor was to blame for Marriott's murder in the canyon; he accused her of getting rid of Marriott as a murderous femme fatale; in fact, her plan was to set up both Marriott and Marlowe (a "nosy detective" interfering in her schemes) to be killed in the canyon (Marlowe: "I almost ended up as dead as Marriott"); but her pretty, red-haired stepdaughter Ann Grayle had arrived at an inopportune moment, and she was only able to murder Marriott; Marlowe also surmised that eight years earlier, Helen (in her double identity as Velma) had charmed Moose into committing a homicidal crime that had sent him to prison; he challenged her that she couldn't fool him like she had fooled Moose 8 years earlier: "It won't work twice"
Deadly Confrontation in the Grayles' Beach House

Helen - A Conniving Femme Fatale

Helen Admitted She Had Fabricated Theft of Jade Necklace

Marlowe Accused Helen of Killing Marriott and Almost Killing Himself

"Don't Desert Me Now" - Helen Begging Marlowe to Kill Amthor (Although He Was Already Dead)
Helen Pulling a Gun on Marlowe For Figuring Out Her Many Lies and Schemes
  • as Marlowe was about to be shot dead by Helen, Ann and her jealous, love-sick millionaire husband entered; Mr. Grayle was ordered to take Marlowe's gun from his inside pocket; after Mr. Grayle heard Marlowe state that Moose's infatuation with his unfaithful wife Helen had led to Amthor's death, he jealously shot his wife dead (with Marlowe's gun); love-struck ex-con Moose Malloy heard the shot from outside and rushed inside, where he reacted to Helen's lifeless body on the sofa: "She ain't hardly changed... just like always, only more fancy. Cute as lace pants...always..."; Mr. Grayle angrily reached for the gun a second time to protect himself from a retaliatory Moose and shot him dead; Marlowe's eyes were temporarily scorched and blinded by the gun blast when he attempted to intercede; they struggled for the gun and two more gunshots were heard off-screen - they both died from lethal gunfire.

Arrival of Ann and Mr. Grayle at Beach House

Mr. Grayle Shot Helen

Mrs. Grayle Fell Dead into Marlowe's Arms

Moose's Eulogy for Helen Lying Dead on the Sofa

Mr. Grayle Reaching For Gun to Kill Moose

Philip Marlowe Blinded By Mr. Grayle's Murder of Moose - The First Shot
  • in the film's ending back in the present after the temporarily-blinded Marlowe's tale ended during his interrogation, and he was cleared of all charges, he was guided out of the police station (with Ann silently following behind); he praised Ann's looks ("Cute figure") and wondered to himself: "It's too bad I had to push her around. I wonder how she figured me, anyway"; he was reunited with cute love interest Ann in the back of a taxi-cab, knowing it was her due to her perfume; she accompanied him home as they shared a kiss

PI Detective Philip Marlowe (Dick Powell) Bandaged and Interrogated in Police Station

Start of Flashback: Moose Malloy in Marlowe's Office

Malloy and Marlowe Outside Florian's Bar

Widowed, Alcoholic Florian Bar Owner's Wife Jessie Florian (Esther Howard)

The Misleading Picture of 'Velma Valento' - (It Was a "Phony")

Gigolo Lindsay Marriott (Douglas Walton)

Lindsay Marriott's ID

Ann Grayle (Anne Shirley) Posing as Reporter

Femme Fatale Mrs. Helen Grayle (Claire Trevor)

Mr. Leuwen Grayle (Miles Mander)

Marlowe Hired to Recover Mrs. Grayle's Stolen Jade Necklace

The Bewitching and Flirtatious Mrs. Grayle Toward Marlowe

Entrance of Jules Amthor (Otto Kruger) into the Grayle's Living Room

Marlowe's Nightmarish Hallucinations of Pursuit by Quack Doctor Sonderborg (Ralf Harolde)

Marlowe Imprisoned in a Sanitarium and Shot Up with Narcotics to Make Him Talk

Moose: "I like you to keep looking for Velma"

Ann's Familiar, Identifying Words to Marlowe: "What happened?"

Ann's Upset Father With a Gun

Marlowe and Ann Kissing at the Beach House

End of Flashback: Marlowe Back in the Interrogation Room

Exiting the Police Station, With Ann Silently Following Behind

Perfume-Wearing Ann Grayle and Marlowe Kissing in Back Seat of Taxi


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