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Farewell, My Lovely (1975, Robert Mitchum, Charlotte Rampling)

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Hired by an ex-con to trace his wayward girlfriend, private eye Philip Marlowe’s (Robert Mitchum) visit to a bar ends in tragedy when his client, Moose Malloy (Jack O’Halloran) kills the manager and goes on the run.

When his next client, Lindsay Marriott, turns up dead, Marlowe is warned by Detective Nulty (John Ireland) to drop the case, but when he is asked by the glamorous Mrs Grayle (Charlotte Rampling) to find Marriott’s killer, Marlowe agrees. Within hours he is kidnapped and drugged by a brothel madam intent on finding Malloy. He escapes and, hooking up with Malloy, the weary gumshoe watches the bodycount rise, and becomes convinced that at least one of his clients is lying to protect themselves, putting him in mortal danger…

Chandler’s trademarks – snappy dialogue, snaking plot – are transplanted with fidelity by Dick Richards, who employed The Long Goodbye’ s producers and Chinatown’ s cameraman to ensure integrity. Paying tribute to Edward Dmytryk’s film noir version of the same story, he seems intent on denying any contemporary references, keeping it firmly in ’40s Los Angeles throughout.

Mitchum, who like Bogart then or Keitel now has never had to prove his hardman credentials, plays it straight, and shoulders the film (even making Marlowe’s final act of munificence credible) and film historian David Thomson sees it as a ‘loving portrait of ageing honour among all the remembered traps of film noir.’

production details
USA / 95 minutes / 1975

Director: Dick Richards
Writers: David Zelag Goodman (from the novel by Raymond Chandler)

cast
Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe
Charlotte Rampling as Mrs. Helen Grayle alias Velma
Sylvia Miles as Mrs. Jessie Florian
John Ireland as Detective Lt. Nulty
Anthony Zerbe as Laird Brunett
Harry Dean Stanton as Billy Rolfe
Jimmy Thompson as Richter Grayle
Sylvester Stallone as Kelly
Kate Murtagh as Frances Amthor
Jack O’Halloran as Moose Malloy
John O’Leary as Lindsay Marriott
Walter McGinn as Tommy Ray
Burton Gilliam as Cowboy
Jim Thompson as Judge Baxter Wilson Grayle
Jimmy Archer as Georgie
Cheryl Smith as Doris
Mark Allen as 3rd Detective
Joe Spinell as Nick

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