Red Goes to the Movies

Or more accurately, Red sits on his behind and watches a classic at home.  This time it was the film adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s thriller Murder My Sweet.  Red had low hopes for this one – mostly because it starred lightweight Dick Powell as hard-boiled LA private detective Phillip Marlowe.  Powell was best known as an affable romantic lead in frivolous fare such as Gold Diggers of [insert year here], Stage Struck and Footlight Parade.  Legendary director Edward Dmytryk was allegedly furious at having the lightly regarded Powell cast as Marlowe, but soon came to realize that not only was Powell up to the task – he was a superb choice as the pithy street-wise PI.  The movie was helped by the fact that Chandler was the co-screenwriter and the action and dialogue follows the novel almost exactly.

Red believes that this is the finest film adaptation of one of the Marlowe novels ever made.  Powell is incredible and his stinging repartee as Marlowe is impeccably delivered.  And a fine supporting cast of Anne Shirley as the tempestuous female lead, Otto Kruger playing his usual elegant but evil criminal mastermind (ala his role in Hitchcock’s Saboteur) and long-time character actor heavyweight Mike Mazurki in the role of his career as Moose make this one sizzle with understated excitement.  Shot in film noir style, there doesn’t appear to be a daylight shot in the entire movie.  Red gives this one 5 stars.

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