Farewell, My Lovely (1975)

Farewell, My Lovely (1975), directed by Dick Richards.

Another version of the great Chandler story.

Robert Mitchum is older than Marlowe as written, but gives a tremendous performance: the ageing PI, tired and sad-eyed. My favorite scene: he takes a bottle to an ex-singer in her grimy slum house. They sit, drink, sing her old songs and she has a good cry. It's fine filmmaking.

The seedy club and tenement settings, where Marlowe spends so much of his time, are nicely rendered, with a rich score evoking Chandler's LA.

Charlotte Rampling is a suitably dangerous beauty. The other villains seem a bit light to me, although I enjoy the monstrous madam. Compared to the 1944 film -- Murder, My Sweet (1944) -- the plot is in some ways closer to the book, but in others not.

Way too much gunplay: Marlowe kills three people. In all the books put together he killed only one: Canino in The Big Sleep (1946).

Brief nudity. Sylvester Stallone has a small non-speaking part. In the earlier film we deduce the Marriot character is gay from his clothes, cologne and precise manner; here we have that but they also call him a fairy.

A few years later Mitchum did a modern day The Big Sleep set in London. It's poor compared to this film and to the original Bogart version.

The region 1 DVD is long out of print and expensive on the used market. My thumbnails are from the PAL region 2 disc which is cheap but the quality poor. What do you call those vertical interference fringes near the sides of the frame? I associate them with videotape masters.

The IMDB says the intended aspect ratio is 1.85. We have 1.33, so unless it is open matte it's been cropped.

(Later: available on Blu-ray from Shout Factory. I've added new thumbnails below, Blu-ray above, DVD below. As you can see the DVD was at least partially open matte).