Another day, another drugged abduction, shoot out, deadly dame 'fest. 'Murder, My Sweet' (1944) ' was a Philip Marlowe story based on the Raymond Chandler novel, 'Farewell, My Lovely'. Chandler was Hollywood hot after the success of Billy Wilder's adaptation of 'Double Indemnity'. RKO bumped the production up from a B-movie budget of $150,000 to a moderate A-movie budget of $400 - 500,000. Directed by Edward Dmytryk, a left-wing Canadian Ukrainian who, five years later, would be blacklisted by the House on Un-American Activities and forced to swap Hollywood for London to make films with, amongst others, 'Carry On' stalwart, Sid James. The film is beautifully shot and lit by Harry J Wild, who had recently completed uncredited photography on Orson Welles' 'Citizen Kane (1941) and Magnificent Ambersons (1942) - films that shared the same RKO studio.
The central role turned frustrated charmer and crooner, Dick Powell into a heavy(ish)weight leading man, resulting in subsequent Noir roles in 'Cornered' (1947), 'Johnny O'Clock' (1947) and 'Pitfall' (1948).
A magnificent hallucination sequence - a collaboration between montage specialist, Douglas Travers and Dmytryk, occurs after Marlowe is injected with 'Truth Serum'.
Marlowe: "A black pool opened up. I dived in. It had no bottom."
Censor board report:
Reference: 'Film Noir' by Eddie Robson. Virgin Film books. 2005