Saturday, July 11, 2015

Philip Marlowe Movie Week: Farewell, My Lovely

Back again amateur flatfoots for Day 4 of Philip Marlowe Movie Week. As you know, it is best if Marlowe is handled by a tough guy. Someone scrappy, smart and handsome doesn't hurt. To be honest I would have never picked Eliott Gould to play Marlowe but truth be told he did a fair job. This time around we have a vintage rough and tumble fella in the form of Robert Mitchum tackling the role and with all it entitles. This is Farewell, My Lovely.

Sheesh, almost nodded off there.

This is the second adaptation of Raymond Chandler's novel closer the the source material unlike the original Murder, My Sweet in 1944 with Dick Powell. In a town with police corruption, hotels rented by the hour or the month, gambling dens, and murder over jewel heists, Marlowe is always there for the little guy.

We join Marlowe (Robert Mitchum of Out of the Past, The Night of the Hunter, El Dorado, Cape Fear, The Yakuza and The Big Sleep) in a shabby room at a rundown flophouse. Sitting with him Lt. Nulty (John Ireland of Gunslinger, No Time to Kill, The Cheaters, Rawhide and Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat) listening to Marlowe telling the assorted details of the past few days of his case. A gorilla of a man in a suit named Moose Malloy (Jack O' Halloran of King Kong, Superman, Superman II, Dragnet and The Hero and the Terror) stringently insisted that Marlowe was for hire to track down his former girl Velma. The only lead they have is now a black owned bar. Malloy keeps talking about not seeing his girl for 8 years. Easily an ex-con Malloy loses his patience and starts tossing bouncers and at 6'6" that is not that difficult. Marlowe watches his back but again they didn't find Velma and no one seemed to know one way or the other.

The lady or the liqueur?

Working an additional case is over murder name of Lindsay Marriott (John O' Leary of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, All the President's Men, Airplane! And The Last Starfighter). With a little know-how, Marlowe figures out that Marriot was in the blackmail racket. Still looking for Velma, Marlowe sees both cases just getting muddled with a sojourn attempting to make sense of any of the half truths, double crosses and homicides piling up.

Shockingly enough, Marlowe has several attempts with his life with a visit with an infamous madame in a brothel to a gunfight on a gambling boat, Philip is convinced he has really stepped in it now.
Can Marlowe solve this ongoing conspiracy and collection of murders? Is the whole city against him with every crooked cop looking to punch his ticket?

A few points about the flick. While Marlowe is in his thirties in the novels, Mitchum was 58 playing the character. Mitchum is also the only actor to play Philip twice on screen, this film and The Big Sleep in 1978. This was Jerry Bruckheimer's first full production after only have two previous credits as an associate producer.

The 70s moved to revival of the film noir and hard-boiled detective movies with the same feel as Chandler's novels like Gumshoe, Chinatown and The Black Bird. Marlowe's wheels was a black 1940 Buick Special. Kinda wish they hit up Mitchum for Marlowe years prior.

Wouldn't mind retiring out here.