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.