Saturday, September 25, 2010


A private detective was hired to keep an eye on General’s younger daughter who has fallen in bad company and is likely to damage herself and her family. Investigation follows trail with murders, double cross and romance with elder daughter. Howard Hawks who made possibly a film in many genres made this film noire masterpiece based on Raymond Chandler’s novel with more twists and turns than we imagine.

Generally its John Huston films who made Humphrey Bogart an iconic Hollywood star but Hawks this film represents him the man to watch as Private detective Philip Marlowe. His on and off screen chemistry with Lauren Bacall gave its natural charm too. However I like Martha Vickens, the younger nymph sister who spread infectious charm from the very first entry. The B&W camera work and editing successfully maintain the mood and pace of noir.

Though it’s acclaimed film noir classic, it quite surprisingly missing several standard noir elements. There are more femme fatales but no flashbacks, Marlowe is not out and out dark antihero pulled into the world of lies and deception but a man who knows his profession in full confidence and control. The film is heavy with fine dialogues but there’s more talk than action and above all narration is more direct than intriguing. Its characters either absent or visible on screen keep your head busy and with its fast paced narration and a plot with murders, blackmail and deception; quite puzzling to keep in mind who’s who especially Shawn Regan, Joe Brody and Eddie Mars.


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