Philip Marlowe (Robert Mitchum) is winding up a case finding a runaway when he is approached by Moose Malloy (Jack O’Halloran). Moose has been in jail for seven years and just recently got out. He wants Marlowe to find his girlfriend Velma, who he hasn’t heard from in six years. Moose is not the kind of guy you say no to.
Marlowe finds one of Velma’s old friends, a musician named Tommy Ray (Walter McGinn). Tommy eventually gives him a photograph of Velma. Marlowe finds that the woman in the picture is in a sanitarium and unresponsive. Marlowe tells Moose. When he shows Moose the picture, he finds out that it is not Velma. Tommy lied to him. Then Tommy disappears.
Marlowe is visited by Marriott (John O’Leary). He wants Marlowe to accompany him to a blackmail drop. He is to pay $15,000 for the return of a stolen item. He says he is doing it for a friend. The stolen item is a fei tsui jade necklace. He will pay Marlowe a hundred dollars to go with him. When they get to the rendezvous Marlowe is knocked unconscious and Marriott is murdered. Feeling guilty about Marriott being murdered Marlowe investigates his death. He learns that the friend Marriott was helping was Helen Grayle (Charlotte Rampling), the wife of Judge Baxter Grayle (Jim Thompson). Helen wants Marlowe to find out who killed her friend.
Before Marlowe can go any further, he is kidnapped, beaten, and drugged by a brothel madam named Amthor (Kate Murtagh). When Marlowe comes to, he finds the body of Tommy Roy. Marlowe eventually staggers out of the brothel, but he is no closer to either finding Marriott’s killer or Velma. Even Moose Malloy is elusive, but Marlowe is still under the influence and needs some time to recuperate before he goes back to trying to make all the pieces of his puzzle fit together. It will take a few more murders before that happens.
“Farewell, My Lovely” was released in 1975 and was directed by Dick Richards. It is a mystery crime thriller based on Raymond Chandler’s character Philip Marlowe. The story was first done in 1944 as “Murder, My Sweet” starring Dick Powell. The story was also adapted as “The Falcon Takes Over” 1942 with George Sanders as the character the Falcon instead of Philip Marlowe. Robert Mitchum did two Philip Marlowe films, this one and “The Big Sleep” 1978. The book “Farewell, My Lovely” was published in 1940.
The character Philip Marlowe is supposed to be in his mid-thirties. Mitchum was fifty-seven. Many considered him too old for the part, but his manner and carriage made him a favorite of critics who referred to him as the quintessential Philip Marlowe. I basically agree. Mitchum has a dark elegance about him that fits the mental image of what Marlowe should look like. He is the only person to have played Philip Marlowe more than once.
Sylvester Stallone has a bit part as a thug. Jack O’Halloran, who was a prizefighter before he went into acting, also played the Kryptonian criminal Non in “Superman II.