Out of the Past: The Films of Robert Mitchum

Farewell, My Lovely

Dick RichardsUSA95 minutes1975RColourEnglish

Mar 2
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    Set in seamy early-'40s L.A., this neon-lit, retro-noir adaptation of Raymond Chandler's classic novel pays lavish and loving visual homage to the era in which the book was written, even as it adds contemporary notes of sex, nudity, and violence to the tale. Robert Mitchum, never more droll, plays Chandler's immortal private dick Philip Marlowe, who is hired by a hulking ex-convict with the alliterative moniker of Moose Malloy (Jack O'Halloran) to track down his missing girlfriend, a prostitute named Velma. After another case involving the stolen diamond necklace of a wealthy, seductive socialite (Charlotte Rampling, fresh off The Night Porter) ends in murder and kidnapping, Marlowe comes to realize that the two investigations are not unrelated. Mitchum would reprise the role of Marlowe three years later in The Big Sleep, which abandoned the period setting and updated the story to the '70s. "[Mitchum] was born to play the weary, cynical, doggedly romantic Marlowe. His voice and his face and the way he lights his cigarette are all exactly right, and seem totally effortless" (Roger Ebert).

    Please note that the faded 35mm print of this title has been replaced with an improved digital copy.