One-time movie crooner Dick Powell literally turned his career around in the 1944 film noir Murder My Sweet. Powell stars as Phillip Marlowe, the hard-boiled private detective antihero created by novelist Raymond Chandler.
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There's no avoiding it: Powell doesn't look the part. He's too baby-faced, too suited to cuddly comedy—he comes off less as a savvy hero navigating the mean streets than a schmuck being batted around. The rest is ace pulp surrealism, both in its explosive flourishes and whole irrational air. Which befits a story narrated by a blind man and kicked off by a lovesick giant of unlimited strength but no emotional control.
4 & a half stars. Based on the novel by Raymond Chandler, and the first of several films featuring his iconic Philip Marlowe character, here played by Dick Powell (later played by Bogart, Elliot Gould and Robert Mitchum). Worth noting is character actor Mike Mazurki, one of Hollywood's great thugs, a role he played over 150 times. Shrewdly directed by HUAC snitch Dmytryk, it does justice to the great Chandler's work.
From the film's opening moments, I was enjoying Dick Powell's portrayal of Raymond Chandler's iconic literary detective Philip Marlowe almost as much as Edward Dmytryk's stylish noir visuals—but as the film went on and Powell grew more and more manic, I missed the cool detachment of the character on the page, a private dick for whom getting whacked over the head and stuffed in a trunk is considered routine.
Along with Kiss Me Deadly, one of the strangest of all detective movies. A film full of bizarre interactions, stilted dialogues, hallucinations, punning one-liners and some of the most abstract and theatrical compositions ever featured in a 'classical' Hollywood noir. I couldn't take my eyes off it! The detective film as subjective nightmare; more a precursor to Blue Velvet than a descendant of The Maltese Falcon.
This screen cap says it all...looks spectacular. And Dick Powell is wonderful as Philip Marlowe. With Powell, Marlowe is even wittier, even more cynical in his observations than when played by Bogart.. Powell sells it all perfectly, delivering the sharp one-liners with a deadpan expression that is both laugh-out-loud funny and knowingly tough.
"'Okay Marlowe,' I said to myself. 'You're a tough guy. You've been sapped twice, choked, beaten silly with a gun, shot in the arm until you're crazy as a couple of waltzing mice. Now let's see you do something really tough - like putting your pants on.'"