Philip Marlowe (George Montgomery) gets a call to visit the home of Mrs. Murdock (Florence Bates). The door is answered by her timid secretary Merle Davis (Nancy Guild). Mrs. Murdock’s son Leslie (Conrad Janis) is a snot-faced brat with a chip on his shoulder. He tries to get rid of Marlowe by telling him his mother changed her mind. It doesn’t work.

Marlowe is ushered into the wealthy woman’s presence. Mrs. Murdock is curt and overbearing. She tells Marlowe that she wants him to find a valuable old coin known as a Brasher Doubloon. She says she knows who stole it but will not reveal who and will not press any charges. She just wants the coin back. Marlowe can make a guess who stole the coin based on her son’s demeanor. The only information she has is that a coin dealer named Elisha Morningstar (Houseley Stevenson) called and asked if the doubloon was for sale. She told him no. When she checked her coins, she found that one was missing. At first Marlowe is not interested in taking the case but the lovely Ms. Davis piques his curiosity, and he relents.

Marlowe no soon gets back to his office when he is visited by a low life named Eddie Prue (Alfred Linder). Eddie works for another low life named Vince Blair (Marvin Miller). Vince owns a gambling joint. He also wants the coin, something to do with Leslie's gambling debts.

Marlowe visits Morningstar. He says he offered someone $2,000 for the coin but he won’t tell Marlowe who his client is. Pretending to leave Marlowe listens in on a phone conversation and hears Morningstar ask for George Anson (Jack Conrad). Anson turns out to be a Private Investigator and very dead. Before he calls the cops, he finds a baggage claim ticket. Marlowe turns in the ticket and gets a small package. Inside is the doubloon. He takes the coin to Morningstar to have it authenticated and finds Morningstar dead. Two dead people in one day is not good.

It’s not long before Marlowe is up to his ears in blackmail, gambling debts, the underworld, psychological abuse and a hidden secret that will soon be exposed. Marlowe finds that everyone involved in the case has their own ulterior motives to want the coin and most of them center around greed.

“The Brasher Doubloon” AKA “The High Window” was released in 1947 and was directed by John Brahm. It is an American crime drama and a film noir. The film was based on Raymond Chandler’s 1942 novel “The High Window” and his character Philip Marlowe. Chandler’s story had originally been adapted as the Michel Shayne film “A Time to Kill” 1942.

George Montgomery’s interpretation of Philip Marlowe is different than the standard hardboiled detective. There is a softness to him that responds to the helpless or the downtrodden. It’s a different take on the character. It makes the film less noir and more standard detective story. It’s also not as complicated as some of Chandler’s stories. In addition, it has a quick pace and clever dialogue. You also get to see Conrad Janis with hair.

Similar to Sam Spade’s Maltese Falcon, the Brasher Doubloon is basically a Macguffin. Created in 1787 by Ephraim Brasher, a Brasher Doubloon is a rare privately minted American coin. Brasher was a goldsmith and a silversmith. He struck copper coins as well as some gold coins. The coins were originally worth eight Spanish escudos or sixteen Spanish dollars. Originally, they were called the double doubloon and then the Spanish doubloon. In 2021 a Brasher Doubloon sold for $9.36 million. It was a world record for a gold coin sold at public auction.

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