Farewell, My Lovely is the second filming of Raymond Chandler's classic detective story of the same name, and is generally considered to be inferior to the first one, Murder, My Sweet, even if it is more faithful to the book. It stars a wonderfully ruffled and hangdog Robert Mitchum as the rundown, haggard private dick, Philip Marlowe. This is a solid, if unspectacular effort by all concerned.
Philip Marlowe is hiding out in a seedy LA hotel, a man who has been in too many wrong places at the wrong time, and is getting some serious heat from old friend Lt. Nulty (John Ireland) to come in and spill his guts. He recounts to Nulty the story of Moose Malloy, played by hulking Jack O'Halloran, recently freed from jail and looking for his Velma, who stopped sending him mail in the can after only one year, and Moose is sure there's a good reason.
The search for Velma leads Marlowe to Mrs. Florian, a seedy widower of the owner of a bar Velma used to work in (Sylvia Miles). A bottle of bourbon brings out some stories of Velma, leading Marlowe on a long chase, complete with double crosses and dangerous women (of course). Charlotte Rampling plays one of these sultry femme fatales, the wife of powerful Judge Grayle, who plays a central part in the drama, as well as seducing Marlowe. It all ends in the expected bloodshed and heartache.
While all perfectly well done, Farewell, My Lovely left me unsatisfied. I'm not sure if it is the fault of a bad DVD transfer, or just the look they were striving for, but the colors were all out of whack. Heck, maybe a film noir needs to be in black & white to work for me, I don't know. It was all very earnest, maybe too earnest in the end. And the story required one chance meeting to resolve the mystery, which seems lame to me.
Like I said, the DVD leaves much to be desired. Produced early in the DVD age, it is completely lacking in any extras whatsoever. Plus the colors are off, focus is soft, and the sound mediocre. It's still worth watching, I guess, but purely as a rental.