Murder, My Sweet (1944)


A private eye is hired by an ex-convict to find his old girlfriend but gets sidetracked when a client who hires him as a bodyguard is murdered for a precious jade necklace.

Murder My Sweet is one of those FIlm Noirs that ticks all of the boxes. I must admit that I prefer Humphrey Bogart’s more mercenary and intense Marlowe but Dick Powell’s more jaunty approach still works, especially when teamed up with Claire Trevor’s deliciously amoral femme fatale. The script stays faithful to Raymond Chandler’s hard boiled dialogue and there are also some really nice directorial touches in the vein of Hitchcock, notably during the scenes when a drug-addled Marlowe escapes from the clutches of an insidious doctor. The cinematography also pretty much wrote the manual for every Film Noir that followed. It takes a little concentration to keep track of all the balls Marlowe has to keep in the air, but it’s a satisfying mystery that oozes classic style.

Murder, My Sweet is not quite in the same league as The Maltese Falcon or The Big Sleep, but is one of the standards nevertheless.



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