Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Farewell, My Lovely
A brief outline of the plot
A chance encounter with simpleton and ex-con Moose Malloy in a sleazy part of Los Angeles that is "not yet all negro" gets Marlowe into all kinds of trouble. Malloy is looking for his girlfriend, red-haired Velma, whom he last saw eight years ago. The bar where she used to work is now an African American establishment, and the new owners have no idea where she has gone. Marlowe, who has been a witness to Malloy inadvertently killing the bouncer, decides to look for Velma.
As his business is slow, he is happy when a client hires him to hand over an $8,000 ransom for a rare jade necklace. However, at the meeting point—a lonely country road in the middle of the night—his client, Lindsay Marriott, is killed and Marlowe is knocked out. When it turns out later that the owner of the necklace is a Mrs Grayle, Marlowe, on visiting her, is enchanted by her femme fatale appearance. A "blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window", she is married to an elderly millionaire who owned a Beverly Hills radio station for which Velma used to sing.
Through Marlowe's investigation it finally becomes clear that Velma and Mrs Grayle are the same person. After having realized her American dream she was anxious to cover all her tracks but, having been found out by Lindsay Marriott, killed her blackmailer. When she comes face to face with Moose Malloy she kills him, too. Eventually she commits suicide.
The novel is also notable for the variety of settings described. They are as diverse as the above-mentioned coloured joint, the Grayles' mansion, a private sanatorium, and a gambling ship off the Los Angeles coast. (Cf. History of Santa Monica in the 1930s.)
This rather humorous passage shows how Philip Marlowe, the first person narrator of the novel, is summoned by one of his prospective clients. One day, quite unexpectedly, he is faced in his downtown office by a strange-looking man in unusual attire:
- 'Huh,' he said. 'Come quick. Come now.'
- 'Come where?' I said.
- 'Huh. Me Second Planting. Me Hollywood Indian.'
- 'Have a chair, Mr Planting.'
- He snorted and his nostrils got very wide. They had been wide enough for mouseholes to start with.
- 'Name Second Planting. Name no Mister Planting.'
- 'What can I do for you?'
- He lifted his voice and began to intone in a deep-chested sonorous boom. 'He say come quick. Great white father say come quick. He say me bring you in fiery chariot. He say—'
- 'Yeah. Cut out the pig Latin.' I said. 'I'm no schoolmarm at the snake dances.'
- 'Gottum car,' he said. 'Big car.'
- 'I don't like big cars any more,' I said. 'I gottum own car.'
- 'You come my car,' the Indian said threateningly.
- 'I come your car,' I said.
- I locked the desk and office up, switched the buzzer off and went out, leaving the reception room door unlocked as usual.
- We went along the hall and down in the elevator. The Indian smelled. Even the elevator operator noticed it. (Ch.20)
The movie versions: A survey
Although written after The Big Sleep (1939), Farewell, My Lovely was the first Marlowe story to be filmed: In 1942 The Falcon Takes Over, a 65 minute film, was released which was based on Farewell, My Lovely. However, as this first movie version of the novel was at the same time the third in the Falcon series of films revolving around Michael Arlen's gentleman sleuth Gay Lawrence (played by George Sanders), Marlowe was actually called Gay Lawrence aka "The Falcon" rather than Philip Marlowe. In other words, the producers of the Falcon series had been looking for a new story and had chosen to adapt hack writer Chandler's latest novel. Purists agree that fitting the two rather different characters of Marlowe and Lawrence into one seems absurd from today's point of view; however, in 1942 Marlowe was not yet a household word, not yet a fictional character people would immediately recognize, and so at the time many of his habits would not have been known to cinemagoers.
In 1944 Dick Powell played the part of the hard-boiled detective in a classic film noir which was alternatively entitled Murder, My Sweet and Farewell, My Lovely—still two years before, in 1946, Humphrey Bogart was offered the role of Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep. 30 years later, Robert Mitchum starred in a remake of Farewell, My Lovely, again playing the tough private eye.
|1942 B/W movie||1944 B/W movie||1975 movie|
|title||The Falcon Takes Over||Murder, My Sweet||Farewell, My Lovely|
|directed by||Irving Reis||Edward Dmytryk||Dick Richards|
|screenplay by||Lynn Root and Frank Fenton||John Paxton||David Zelag Goodman|
|setting||New York||Los Angeles||Los Angeles|
|Philip Marlowe||George Sanders (as "Gay Lawrence")||Dick Powell||Robert Mitchum|
|Helen Grayle||Helen Gilbert (as "Diana Kenyon")||Claire Trevor||Charlotte Rampling|
|Moose Malloy||Ward Bond||Mike Mazurki||Jack O'Halloran|
|Mr. Grayle||---||Miles Mander||Jim Thompson|
|Lindsay Marriott||Hans Conried||Douglas Walton||John O'Leary|
- Detailed outline of the plot by William Marling (includes an explanation of some literary allusions)
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details