This adaptation of the Raymond Chandler novel 'Farewell, My Lovely', renamed for the American market to prevent filmgoers mistaking it for a musical (for which Powell was already famous) has private eye Philip Marlowe hired by Moose Malloy, a petty crook just out of prison after a seven year stretch, to look for his former girlfriend, Velma, who has not been seen for the last six years.
Farewell My Lovely is archetypal 1940s film noir, with its scheming blondes, shady characters and half-lit lives. On this new, cleaned-up print, and back on the big screen, it certainly looks striking, but this less famous addition to writer Raymond Chandlers back catalogue is, frankly, a baffling choice for restoration.
Plotwise, this comes across as a poor mans hybrid of Double Indemnity and The Big Sleep. Powell takes over where Bogart left off as private eye Philip Marlowe, this time attempting to track down the missing girlfriend of ex-con Moose Molloy (Mazurki). The trail leads to nervous millionaire Grayle (Miles Mander) and his sexy young wife (Trevor), and its only a matter of time before, in true noir tradition, hes up to his homburg in blackmail, theft and murder.
The main problem here is that Powells Marlowe is too glib, tossing off the sharply scripted one-liners with little comprehension or feeling and leaving the viewer longing for Bogart to step in and liven things up, while Claire Trevors blonde is no substitute for the shimmering sensuality of, say, Lana Turner.
On paper, the film promises everything, but somehow it doesnt quite click, lacking the fluency of The Big Sleep, and the affection for minor characters that made The Maltese Falcon, for instance, so memorable. The problem is that there is too much light where there should be shade.
Atmospheric, and with the relevant witty dialogue, but not the best crime thriller of the era.