Monday, September 10, 2018

Mystery Monday: Murder, My Sweet

Mystery Monday: Murder, My Sweet

Murder mystery movies were quite popular during WWII; an interesting fact considering the violence associated with war. Perhaps because the audience knew the films were fiction or they wanted a "puzzle" to solve is what made them well-liked. For whatever reason, the books of Graham Greene, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and many other mystery writers were made into movies almost as quickly as they could write them.

One of the movies, which is my favorite, is "Murder, My Sweet," based on Chandler's novel "Farewell, My Lovely." The film features Dick Powell as PI Philip Marlowe, Claire Trevor, and Anne Shirley (who retired at age 26 shortly after making this movie). It's an interesting film because Marlowe is not only part of investigation, but he is also part of the story because of almost becoming a victim of the murderer, not once but twice! Then during the "take down" he is temporarily blinded by the flash from a gun. Not the best way to tie up your case.

Breaking all the rules of writing, the book and the movie start with flashback, but the scene prompts so much intrigue, the reader and viewer can't help but want to continue.

Dick Powell primarily played in light comedies and musicals during the 1930s and early 1940s, so Hollywood was surprised at his casting as Marlowe. He took to the role, and the film was a rousing success. Many critics feel that it is the "purest version of Chandler on film," successfully capturing the noir flavor of the book as well as the first person narrative.

The film went on to win the Edgar Award from Mystery Writers of America in 1946.

View the trailer.

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