Farewell, My Lovely

1975, Movie, R, 97 mins

Review

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Mitchum, as the intrepid private eye Marlowe, is hired by Moose Malloy (O'Halloran), a giant thug recently released from prison, to find his girlfriend. Mitchum takes on a second case when the fey Lindsay Marriott (O'Leary) seeks his assistance in buying back a valuable jade necklace held for ransom after being stolen from the sultry Velma Grayle (Rampling). Investigating both cases simultaneously, Marlowe discovers that the two cases are really one and the same--a puzzle involving false identity, hidden loot, and murder.

An affectionate adaptation of Raymond Chandler's novel that beautifully evokes the seamy side of 1940s Los Angeles via superb production design and the same period atmosphere cinematographer Alonzo previously evoked for CHINATOWN. Interestingly, Mitchum's appeal here has more to do with his own exalted status as a noir icon rather than any particularly inspired interpretation of Marlowe. The novel was adapted for the screen twice before, as a vehicle for George Sanders in RKO's THE FALCON TAKES OVER and the superb MURDER, MY SWEET. A moderate hit at the box office, FAREWELL MY LOVELY spawned a fatally flawed remake of THE BIG SLEEP that abandons 1940s Los Angeles in favor of modern-day London. leave a comment

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