HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Chloe
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Murder Inferno
Extraction
Overlanders, The
Can You Keep a Secret?
Women in Revolt
Astronaut
Peanut Butter Falcon, The
   
 
Newest Articles
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
   
 
  Farewell, My Lovely Mitchum's Marlowe
Year: 1975
Director: Dick Richards
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Charlotte Rampling, John Ireland, Sylvia Miles, Anthony Zerbe, Harry Dean Stanton, Jack O’Halloran, Joe Spinell, Sylvester Stallone, Kate Murtagh, John O’Leary, Walter McGinn, Burton Gilliam, Jim Thompson, Jimmy Archer
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 3 votes)
Review: Aging private eye Philip Marlowe (Robert Mitchum) is completing a case when he is approached by a man “the size of the Empire State Building”, who nonchalantly shrugs off a burst of machinegun fire from a passing car. His name is Moose Malloy (Jack O’Halloran), onetime bank robber, now fresh out of jail. He wants Marlowe to find his long-lost girlfriend, Velma, a woman it soon transpires is either confined to an asylum or else dead. Dogged by L.A.P.D. detectives, Marlowe uncovers a web of murder, mystery and deceit, with the black widow at its centre, Mrs. Helen Grayle (Charlotte Rampling - looking every inch the Forties femme fatale), the seductive wife of a wealthy and powerful judge.

The next time you find yourself cursing Jerry Bruckheimer for some sub-par blockbuster, just remember he also produced this beautifully pitched homage to film noir. Aside from the many other magnificent Marlowe movies, the plot of Raymond Chandler’s novel had been pilfered for The Falcon Takes Over (1942) - part of the Falcon series starring George Sanders - before reaching the screen as Murder, My Sweet (1944) starring popular crooner Dick Powell as a Marlowe whom fans can never agree was the best or sub-par.

Inspired by the then-recent success of Chinatown (1974) - whose story-structure is indebted to Chandler - the second adaptation of Farewell, My Lovely was as much a class act as its Forties forerunner. An excellent score from David Shire, marvellously evocative production design by the great Dean Tavoularis and cinematography by John A. Alonzo, influenced by the paintings of Edward Hopper, are potent ingredients in the spell woven by director Dick Richards. Having made a minor splash with The Culpepper Cattle Company (1972), this sophomore outing confirmed his talent and he seemed set to become a major filmmaker. But after an ambitious failure with March or Die (1977), Richards closed his career by getting punched unconscious by Burt Reynolds on the set of Heat (1986). If there is a criticism, it is that the film is a studied piece of mimicry instead of an attempt to breathe new life into the noir genre, a la Chinatown. Some critics went so far as to dismiss it as camp, although its tongue never strays near its cheek and the film remains a far sincerer effort than Marlowe (1969) or even Robert Altman’s intermittently brilliant The Long Goodbye (1973).

Farewell, My Lovely’s ace in the hole is in casting arguably the greatest film noir star of them all: Robert Mitchum, for whom the role of Philip Marlowe fits like a glove. While other movie stars from Hollywood’s golden era gently faded away during the Seventies, Mitchum endured throughout the decade and beyond, in part thanks to choice roles in Going Home (1971), The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973), The Yakuza (1974) and A Killer in the Family (1985), but also because his wry, cynical yet romantic demeanour retained its appeal for modern audiences. His splendidly world-weary performance turns the film into an elegy, both for a bygone era and his own iconic stardom. Screenwriter David Zelag Goodman - who worked on Straw Dogs (1971) and Logan’s Run (1976) - wisely retains Marlowe’s much-loved, hardboiled narration. Mitchum savours every wry put-down and epigrammatic observation, but also conveys Marlowe’s humanity. Ever the knight in tarnished armour, Marlowe’s cynical wisecracks mask his deep-rooted morality and social conscience. Although he swims in the sewer, Marlowe empathises with the downtrodden be they the half-African-American child of doomed jazz musician Tommy Ray (Walter McGinn), or clapped-out showgirl Jessie Halstead Florian (an Oscar nominated Sylvia Miles), with whom he shares a moving musical interlude with both clearly reminiscing about bygone romance.

The film is full of memorable characters, right down to the bit players, with O’Halloran (later the mute Kryptonian baddie in Superman II (1980)) and a scorching Charlotte Rampling (“She was giving me a look I could feel in my hip pocket”) perfectly cast. Typically, within minutes of meeting each other, Marlowe and Helen Grayle are kissing on the couch. Also typical, Marlowe endures being slapped, scratched, drugged and punched by a variety of lowlifes. Lookout for a young Sylvester Stallone as a gun-toting hoodlum who wreaks havoc at the whorehouse run by monstrous madam Frances Amthor (Kate Murtagh), and for lovely Cheryl Rainbeaux Smith providing (what else?) full-frontal nudity as her favourite girl.

Mitchum unwisely returned to the role of Philip Marlowe for Michael Winner’s eccentric update of The Big Sleep (1978). More memorably in 1987, as guest host of Saturday Night Live, he played the private eye one last time in the parody sketch “Death Be Not Deadly”. That same episode also included Out of Gas - a short comedy film directed by his daughter Trina Mitchum which reunited the laconic leading man with co-star Jane Greer in a spoof sequel to their noir classic, Out of the Past (1947) a.k.a. Build My Gallows High.

Click here for the trailer

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3688 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: