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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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Murder My Sweet


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11 replies to this topic

#1 cigarjoe

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 06:23 AM

I recorded Farewell My Lovely from Flix and nothing was censored, but am sure that TCM would show it the same. TCM can be "graphic" when it adds to the plot.  I do agree that depicting nudity and "sexual activity" is not necessary to any movie, but it does not need to be totally obfuscated either.

I have not read the books nor do I intend to.  It shouldn't be necessary to read the books to find out the real story as the author intended it.  That is primarily what changed from Code to non-Code movies.  Admitedly too many movies deviate way too much from the books, but that is another issue.

To answer TopBilled; way too many scenes that were improved (IMO) in the '75 version.  But the biggest was the Frances Amthor role and the clear connection to prostitution.

 

I agree it's the best version, For clarification and ease I'll abbreviate the film titles FML = Farewell My Lovely, and MMS = Murder My Sweet

I just finished reading Chandler's "Farewell My Lovely" fairly recently and with the recent viewings of both films fresh in my mind I have to admit that they both deviate from the novel quite a bit in different areas.

Moose Malloy gets more memorable screen time in FML he becomes an almost sympathetic character in FML you end up caring for the dumb lug, less so in MMS. In the novel you barely get the character at all, which is reflected in MMS. Though you do have the very memorable "peppers ghost" introduction of Malloy (Mike Masurki) in MMS.

The character Ann Riordan is eliminated entirely from FML. The most likely reason being Mitchum's age, he's portrayed as a Marlowe in his declining years.

The whole scenario of how Marlowe finds Jessie Florian in FML is not in the book what is in the book is the hotel, and a clerk finds Florian with a City Directory.

The whole flashback sequence with the temporarily blinded Marlowe is a fabrication in MMS. But the hint of the love affair with Riordan is in the novel.

In novel there are two cops that Marlowe has to deal with Nulty, of LAPD and Randal of the Bay City Police in FML they are combined into just Nulty played by John Ireland, in MMS the main cop is Randal.

Amthor in the novel is a psychic, in FML he becomes a she and a notorious LA madam and Amthor's and Dr, Sonderborg's sequences in the novel are combined into the same house, in MMS I think he's still a psychic but the way its played out in the novel is much more elaborately detailed and memorable than what is in the film. Interestingly there is a second big bruiser in the novel a henchman of Amthor called The Indian.

In the novel there are two ships off shore one is a whorehouse ship, one is a gambling ship. In FML there is only one ship, in MMS no ship.

In the novel the final denouement between Malloy and Velma takes place in Marlowe's apartment, she puts five bullets in him and escapes. In MMS it takes place in a beach house and Malloy and Velma kill each other and Marlowe is temporarily blinded by a close gunshot. In FML it takes place in Brunette's office on the gambling ship and Malloy and Velma both die too.

In the novel Velma disappears again, becomes a brunette and is singing in a band again like what she used to do at Florian's but she is finally spotted by a cop back east who approaches her in the dressing room and confronts her, she guns him down then kills herself.



 


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#2 TheCid

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 08:23 AM

I agree with a lot of what you are saying but for me I am going to watch these Noir movies on TCM or a movie channel. If I want it any more graphic I can purchase the video. A lot of things in the two movies being discussed may not be clear to most but I hove read both books also. 

I recorded Farewell My Lovely from Flix and nothing was censored, but am sure that TCM would show it the same. TCM can be "graphic" when it adds to the plot.  I do agree that depicting nudity and "sexual activity" is not necessary to any movie, but it does not need to be totally obfuscated either.

I have not read the books nor do I intend to.  It shouldn't be necessary to read the books to find out the real story as the author intended it.  That is primarily what changed from Code to non-Code movies.  Admitedly too many movies deviate way too much from the books, but that is another issue.

To answer TopBilled; way too many scenes that were improved (IMO) in the '75 version.  But the biggest was the Frances Amthor role and the clear connection to prostitution.


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#3 cinemaspeak59

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 06:55 AM

Terrific points by everyone on this topic.  Murder My Sweet is one of my favorite noirs.  Edward Dmytryk's direction is flawless.  The film is one the darkest noirs ever made.  The subtext speaks volumes.  Dick Powell, as the wise-cracking, philosophical detective, was finally given a role worthy of his dramatic skills.  And the images created by the film makers on the RKO lot deserve praise.

You can practically smell the perfume.


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#4 FloydDBarber

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 04:45 PM

I agree with a lot of what you are saying but for me I am going to watch these Noir movies on TCM or a movie channel. If I want it any more graphic I can purchase the video. A lot of things in the two movies being discussed may not be clear to most but I hove read both books also. To me Chandler can be a tough read because of his word usage and ancient expressions. Put a ribbon on it is one of the strangest to me. But is was so well written into the script that I can see Powell saying it. Chandler was older than all of my grandparents (my oldest grandfather being born in 1892). It's interesting in a way to try to figure out his slang.


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#5 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 04:27 PM

I (more than) slightly agree. But I am cautious to say I totally agree on this point, because I think the problem with a lot of post-code films is they are too free with their use of violence, nudity and profanity (or at least as free as an R rating allows). Most of those films fall apart because they go too far in those directions and forget that there are some things which are best left to viewers' imaginations.

 

But getting back to the film under discussion-- MURDER MY SWEET is not a fairy tale, it is not a family film, and it should have coarser elements on the screen. If it's too sanitized, it loses some of the grittiness of the world it is supposedly depicting. 

 

I agree that many post-codes go too far with use of violence,  nudity and profanity especially when a scene could still communicate what it needs to communicate without so called excesses.     That is the key here;   communicating to the audience what is required from a plot \ theme POV.     Too much violence, nudity or profanity can be a distraction and hinder the communication of the plot and when that occurs it is excessive by definition. 

 

As for the film;  I feel it is very coarse and gritty.    To me it is clear what type of women Helen (Trevor) is but I had read the book before seeing the movie. 


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#6 TopBilled

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 03:58 PM

To me your POV here is too black and white in that the code did much more than just suppress overt sexual scenes and 4 letter words.

 

E.g.  Take The Big Sleep - 1945;   The knowledge that the Geiger antique book store is a front for a porn shop and that Carmen is being blackmailed into taking soft porn type photos is related to the plot.   Making this clear (instead of Bogie just saying 'I'm in the business',    would have made the story more understandable (I read the book and all the stuff only hinted at the film then made sense).  

 

The same with Geiger and his henchman \ lover Carroll.

 

One doesn't need to show any nudity or sex to get these type of banned topics \ concepts across.

 

I (more than) slightly agree. But I am cautious to say I totally agree on this point, because I think the problem with a lot of post-code films is they are too free with their use of violence, nudity and profanity (or at least as free as an R rating allows). Most of those films fall apart because they go too far in those directions and forget that there are some things which are best left to viewers' imaginations.

 

But getting back to the film under discussion-- MURDER MY SWEET is not a fairy tale, it is not a family film, and it should have coarser elements on the screen. If it's too sanitized, it loses some of the grittiness of the world it is supposedly depicting. 


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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#7 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 01:49 PM

Is it really any better that the restrictions were lifted and sex and four letter words were more acceptable in the mid 70's? What is unsaid but insinuated is what I prefer. Part of the reason I avoid network television is the total loss of values. No family shows and few sitcoms that are not overly concerned with sex. The Noir films said more by not saying anything. I didn't appreciate the racism in the book though and was glad it was not included in the 1944 film. Blacks were treated horrible in the cinema of the 30's and 40's.  

 

To me your POV here is too black and white in that the code did much more than just suppress overt sexual scenes and 4 letter words.

 

E.g.  Take The Big Sleep - 1945;   The knowledge that the Geiger antique book store is a front for a porn shop and that Carmen is being blackmailed into taking soft porn type photos is related to the plot.   Making this clear (instead of Bogie just saying 'I'm in the business',    would have made the story more understandable (I read the book and all the stuff only hinted at the film then made sense).  

 

The same with Geiger and his henchman \ lover Carroll.

 

One doesn't need to show any nudity or sex to get these type of banned topics \ concepts across. 

 

  
 


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#8 FloydDBarber

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 01:11 PM

Is it really any better that the restrictions were lifted and sex and four letter words were more acceptable in the mid 70's? What is unsaid but insinuated is what I prefer. Part of the reason I avoid network television is the total loss of values. No family shows and few sitcoms that are not overly concerned with sex. The Noir films said more by not saying anything. I didn't appreciate the racism in the book though and was glad it was not included in the 1944 film. Blacks were treated horrible in the cinema of the 30's and 40's.  


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#9 TopBilled

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 12:40 PM

This movie is based on Raymond Chandler's Farewell My Lovely.

First movie based on it was The Falcon Takes Over with George Sanders.  This was a good movie, but like all Falcon movies was shorter and more humorous.

In my opinion, the best version is Farewell My Lovely made in 1975 with Robert Mitchum, Charlotte Rampling, John Ireland, etc.  Highly recommend viewing it if you get the chance and it is available on DVD.  This version was not as restricted by the Code as Murder My Sweet was.

 

Which scenes in the Dick Powell version could have been better if there were no code restrictions? I'm curious to know what you think.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#10 TheCid

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 12:28 PM

This movie is based on Raymond Chandler's Farewell My Lovely.

First movie based on it was The Falcon Takes Over with George Sanders.  This was a good movie, but like all Falcon movies was shorter and more humorous.

In my opinion, the best version is Farewell My Lovely made in 1975 with Robert Mitchum, Charlotte Rampling, John Ireland, etc.  Highly recommend viewing it if you get the chance and it is available on DVD.  This version was not as restricted by the Code as Murder My Sweet was.


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#11 FloydDBarber

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 12:13 PM

Not a review just my observation after multiple viewings.



#12 FloydDBarber

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 11:53 AM

This is a great film that Dick Powell was made to star in.

It takes a few viewings to get past Marlowe's sarcasm.

I don't think any of Powell's lines didn't have that sarcastic edge.

After reading the book several times I can hear Chandler in the dialog.

Who else would pen the line "put a ribbon on it'?

Took a while to get past what seems like an archaic speech pattern.

So this movie only gets better with repeated viewings.

Anne Shirley is about as cute as a young lady can be.

Everything just works and it is a typical convoluted Chandler plot.

I almost have to take notes to keep track of what is going on but I don't care.

I own the DVD so there is time.


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