Murder, My Sweet (1944): A face like a Sunday school picnic

Murder My Sweet (1944)It was a nice little front yard.
Cozy, okay for the average family…
only you’d need a compass
to go to the mailbox.

The house was all right, too,
but it wasn’t as big as Buckingham Palace.

I had to wait
while she sold me to the old folks.
It was like waiting to buy a crypt
in a mausoleum.

Watching Murder, My Sweet (aka Farewell My Lovely – 1944) , is the most fun you will ever have with a film noir. Raymond Chandler’s hard-boiled prose crackles in this screen adaption by John Paxton, with moody noir direction by Edward Dmytryk.

Inhabiting a plot about a rich dame’s stolen jade necklace almost as convoluted as The Big Sleep (1946), the cast is superb. Dick Powell has a comic edge that brings a lightness to the shenanigans, and is a superb foil to the camp turn by Claire Trevor as the putative femme-fatale. Anne Shirley is as cute a 40’s starlet as ever graced the screen. The bad guys are bigger than life and truly entertaining, and rub each other out without ceremony or prevarication. It looks like a film noir, but the bad guys and gals are truly bad, and the good guy and gal are incorruptible.

Look out for the innovative “purple haze” sequence, after PI Marlowe is drugged by a crooked quack.

Murder My Sweet (1944)

10 thoughts on “Murder, My Sweet (1944): A face like a Sunday school picnic”

  1. Hi! Tony D’Ambra,
    Do you know how old director Edward Dmytryk would have been today? Because his age have been listed as 99 years old and on other website his age is listed
    at 100 years old today. (respectively,)
    Btw, his “noir” credentials are great!…

    dcd 😉


  2. Would Raymond Chandler have preferred Humphrey Bogart instead of Dick Powell in Murder, My Sweet? Bogart’s ennui and Chandler’s dialogue would have been a heavyweight, existential knock-out punch. Powell seems like lightweight or welter weightn in this role.


  3. Hi! Tony,
    You know what is “strange” is the fact, that author Raymond Chandler, said, that he preferred actor Dick Powell, portrayal of Phillip Marlowe, over actor Humphrey Bogart portrayal of Phillip Marlowe.
    Go figure?!? 😕
    Well, he did say, because Powells’ portrayal was closer to the character (Phillip Marlowe) in his mindeye.
    (I’am paraphasing, but of course!)
    Dcd 😉


  4. HBD and Dcd, as Bogart fans you will pleased! I found here this quote from the book Unless the threat of death is behind them: hard-boiled fiction and film noir
    by John T. Irwin (JHU Press, 2006) here:

    “Chandler himself summed up the difference in a 1946 letter to a friend: Bogart is ‘so much better than any other tough-guy actor that he makes bums of the Ladds and the Powells. As we say here, Bogart can be tough without a gun. Also he has a sense of humor that contains that grating undertone of contempt… Bogart is the genuine article’.”


  5. Hi! Tony,
    I just emailed you, an article…pertaining to author Raymond Chandler, actor Humphrey Bogart and actor Dick Powell.
    and I must admit after reading the article who (Chandler) preferred in the role of (Marlowe) is still “open ended,” well as far, as I’am concerned.

    Dcd 😉


  6. Tony

    Thanks for the quote from Chandler’s letter to Jamie Hamilton, dated May 30, 1946.

    Chandler also writes in the same letter, “Bogart is the genuine article.”

    You can find the letter in The Raymond Chandler Papers – Selected Letters and Nonfiction 1909-1959, Edited by Tom Hiney and Frank MacShane, Atlantic Monthly Press, New York



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