Farewell, My Lovely (1975 film)
|Farewell, My Lovely|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Dick Richards|
|Produced by||Elliott Kastner
|Screenplay by||David Zelag Goodman|
|Story by||Farewell, My Lovely
|Music by||David Shire|
|Cinematography||John A. Alonzo|
|Edited by||Joel Cox
|Distributed by||Avco Embassy Pictures|
|Running time||95 minutes|
Farewell, My Lovely is a 1975 film, directed by Dick Richards and featuring Robert Mitchum as private detective Phillip Marlowe. The picture is based on Raymond Chandler's novel of the same name (1940), which had previously been adapted for film as Murder, My Sweet in 1944.
Set in Los Angeles in 1941, against a seamy backdrop of police corruption, cheap hotel rooms, illegal gambling and jewel trafficking, private detective Philip Marlowe is holed up in a hotel room and growing more weary by the hour. As he explains to his police lieutenant friend Nulty: "I've got a hat, a coat and a gun, that's it."
Marlowe has been hired by a huge and surly ex-convict, Moose Malloy, to find his old girlfriend Velma, whom he hasn't seen in years. At the same time, Marlowe is investigating the murder of a client named Marriott who was a victim of blackmail and a stolen necklace made of jade.
While encountering connections to both cases, Marlowe develops an attraction to the married but seductive Helen Grayle. As the body count mounts, Marlowe survives numerous attempts on his life which include being drugged and held captive by a psychotic brothel madam named Amthor and her thugs. The action comes to a head with a shootout on a gambling boat off the L.A. coast.
- Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe-The Cynical Private Detective
- Charlotte Rampling as Helen Grayle A.K.A Velma- The Temptress/Femme Fatale
- John Ireland as Lt. Nulty-The Dim-Witted/Corrupt Cop
- Sylvia Miles as Jessie Halstead Florian-A Player in Helen Grayle's Scheme/Retired Showgirl
- Anthony Zerbe as Laird Brunette-Gambling Operator/Gangster
- Harry Dean Stanton as Detective Billy Rolfe-Corrupt Cop who Answers to Brunette
- Jack O'Halloran as Moose Malloy-A Larger Than Life Thug
- Joe Spinell as Nick, Brunette's thug
- Sylvester Stallone as Jonnie-Amthor's Thug-Shoots Amthor after sleeping with one of Amthor's girls
- Kate Murtagh as Frances Amthor-Prostitution Madam/Gang Leader
- John O'Leary as Lindsay Marriott-Homosexual and Wealthy Blackmailer
- Walter McGinn as Tommy Ray-Harmless Bandleader
- Jim Thompson as Judge Baxter Wilson Grayle-Helen's Husband who tires easily; and who doesn't have anything against his wife having relations with other men; in any way!
Sir Lew Grade had previously invested in Kastner's earlier film Dogpound Shuffle. The producer approached him to invest in Farewell My Lovely and Grade agreed knowing the movie could be easily be pre sold to TV. Grade later financed The Big Sleep.
Mitchum reprised the role of Philip Marlowe three years later in The Big Sleep although that film was set in the present day and in England rather than shot as a period piece in the detective's customary setting of Los Angeles.
Marlowe's client, Moose Malloy, is played by Jack O'Halloran, a former professional prizefighter. Sylvester Stallone, in an early role prior to Rocky, has a small role as an employee of the brothel's sadistic madam (played by actress Kate Murtagh).
During the production, Kastner wondered if the character Ann Riordan should be included. However, Lew Grade, who had put up $250,000 in order to make the movie said "Why have another f***ing dame for Mitchum to sleep with! I swear this picture is built on all the dames on set being f***ed by either the male cast members or the crew". Ann Riordan wasn't included in the film.
Also, for actor Joe Spinell, this was his last movie appearance. He had just finished filming The Godfather Part II and was suffering from cancer. He was a close friend of Robert Mitchum and didn't want to let him down. Spinell himself died sometime after the picture was completed.
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The film was profitable. TV rights were sold to NBC for $1.2 million.
Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film a positive review and wrote, "These opening shots are so evocative of Raymond Chandler's immortal Marlowe, archtypical [sic] private eye, haunting the underbelly of Los Angeles, that if we're Chandler fans we hold our breath. Is the ambience going to be maintained, or will this be another campy rip-off? Half an hour into the movie, we relax. Farewell, My Lovely never steps wrong...in the genre itself there hasn't been anything this good since Hollywood was doing Philip Marlowe the first time around. One reason is that Dick Richards, the director, takes his material and character absolutely seriously. He is not uneasy with it, as Robert Altman was when he had Elliott Gould flirt with seriousness in The Long Goodbye. Richards doesn't hedge his bet.
The staff at Variety was more critical of the film, writing, "Farewell, My Lovely is a lethargic, vaguely campy tribute to Hollywood's private eye mellers of the 1940s and to writer Raymond Chandler, whose Philip Marlowe character has inspired a number of features. Despite an impressive production and some firstrate performances, this third version fails to generate much suspense or excitement."
Film critic Dennis Schwartz believes that actor Robert Mitchum was well cast and wrote, "The film's success lies in Mitchum's hard-boiled portrayal of Marlowe, its twisty plot and the moody atmosphere it creates through John A. Alonzo's photography. Los Angeles looms as a nighttime playground for hoods, beautiful women and suckers ready to be taken by all the glitzy signs leading them astray."
- Academy Awards: Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Sylvia Miles; 1976.
- Edgar Allan Poe Awards: Best Motion Picture, David Zelag Goodman; 1976.
The novel had been adapted for the screen twice before: in 1942, as The Falcon Takes Over directed by Irving Reis and featuring George Sanders as The Falcon in place of Philip Marlowe; and in 1944, as Murder, My Sweet, featuring Dick Powell as Marlowe and directed by Edward Dmytryk.
Mitchum would go on to play Marlowe again in another movie, 1978's The Big Sleep, becoming the only actor to play the character in two different feature films. Actors who played Marlowe in earlier movies include Dick Powell (1944), Humphrey Bogart (1946), Robert Montgomery (1947), George Montgomery (1947), James Garner (1969) and Elliott Gould (1973).
- 1. Main Title (Marlowe's Theme)
- 2. Velma / Chinese Pool Hall / To the Mansion
- 3. Mrs. Grayle's Theme
- 4. Amthor's Place
- 5. Mrs. Florian Takes the Full Count
- 6. Marlowe's Trip
- 7. Convalescence Montage
- 8. Take Me to Your Lido
- 9. Three Mile Limited
- 10. Moose Finds His Velma
- 11. End Title (Marlowe's Theme)
"Marlowe's Theme" was for many years used as closing music to legendary Swedish radio jazz program Smoke Rings.
- The great movie money show. Michael Pye. The Sunday Times (London, England), Sunday, July 13, 1975; pg. 47; Issue 7935. (966 words)
- "Farewell My Lover - Box Office Data". The Numbers. Retrieved : August 21, 2013.
- Farewell, My Lovely at the American Film Institute Catalog.
- Lew Grade, Still Dancing: My Story, William Collins & Sons 1987 p 246
- Ebert, Roger. Chicago Sun-Times, film review, January 1, 1975. Accessed: August 21, 2013.
- Variety. Staff film review, January 1, 1975. Accessed: August 21, 2013.
- Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, November 21, 2004. Accessed: August 21, 2013.
- Farewell, My Lovely at Rotten Tomatoes. Accessed: August 21, 2013.
- The Falcon Takes Over at the Internet Movie Database.
- Murder, My Sweet at the Internet Movie Database.
- Soundtrack Collector web site. Accessed: August 21, 2013.
- Farewell, My Lovely at the American Film Institute Catalog
- Farewell, My Lovely at the Internet Movie Database
- Farewell, My Lovely at AllMovie
- Farewell, My Lovely at the TCM Movie Database
- Farewell, My Lovely trailer on YouTube