Steve Simels
September 14, 1990 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Murder, My Sweet

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
performer
Dick Powell, Claire Trevor
director
Edward Dmytryk

We gave it an A-

Murder, My Sweet was the first significant screen adaptation of one of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe novels and, though nobody realized it at the time, a ground-breaking work. As Marlowe, Dick Powell shed his male ingenue image and assumed a new identity as a Tough Guy in a Trench Coat. But more important, Murder’s doomy fatalism and highly stylized look — quirky camera angles, exaggerated shadows — virtually defined the film noir genre. Though Murder has considerable virtues, Dick Richards’ Farewell, My Lovely (a remake using Chandler’s original title) is even better. Star Robert Mitchum, with his trademark world-weariness, makes a perfect Marlowe, and his costar, green-eyed Charlotte Rampling, is the ultimate Chandleresque femme fatale. Richards has an impeccable touch with the period atmosphere, and he doesn’t have to pussyfoot around some of the sex- and-drugs story elements that the ’40s censors couldn’t handle. A-

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