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Farewell, My Lovely (1975 film)

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Title: Farewell, My Lovely (1975 film)  
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Farewell, My Lovely (1975 film)

Farewell, My Lovely
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Dick Richards
Produced by Elliott Kastner
Jerry Bruckheimer
George Pappas
Screenplay by David Zelag Goodman
Story by Farewell, My Lovely
Raymond Chandler
Starring Robert Mitchum
Charlotte Rampling
John Ireland
Sylvia Miles
Anthony Zerbe
Music by David Shire
Cinematography John A. Alonzo
Edited by Joel Cox
Walter Thompson
Distributed by Avco Embassy Pictures
Release dates
  • August 8, 1975 (1975-08-08) (United States)
Running time 95 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2.5 million[1]
Box office $2,000,000
(United States)[2]

Farewell, My Lovely is a 1975 American neo noir film, directed by Dick Richards and featuring Robert Mitchum as private detective Phillip Marlowe. The picture is based on Raymond Chandler's novel of the same name (1940), which had previously been adapted for film as Murder, My Sweet in 1944.[3]

The film also stars Charlotte Rampling, John Ireland, Jack O'Halloran, Sylvia Miles and Harry Dean Stanton, with an early screen appearance by Sylvester Stallone.

Mitchum would return to the role of Marlowe three years later in a 1978 remake of The Big Sleep, making him the only actor to portray Philip Marlowe more than once on the big screen.


Set in Los Angeles in 1941, against a seamy backdrop of police corruption, cheap hotel rooms, illegal gambling and jewel trafficking, private detective Philip Marlowe is holed up in a hotel room and growing more weary by the hour. As he explains to his police lieutenant friend Nulty: "I've got a hat, a coat and a gun, that's it."

Marlowe has been hired by a huge and surly ex-convict, Moose Malloy, to find his old girlfriend Velma, whom he hasn't seen in years. At the same time, Marlowe is investigating the murder of a client named Marriott who was a victim of blackmail and a stolen necklace made of jade.

While encountering connections to both cases, Marlowe develops an attraction to the married but seductive Helen Grayle. As the body count mounts, Marlowe survives numerous attempts on his life which include being drugged and held captive by a psychotic brothel madam named Amthor and her thugs. The action comes to a head with a shootout on a gambling boat off the L.A. coast.



Sir Lew Grade had previously invested in Kastner's earlier film Dogpound Shuffle. The producer approached him to invest in Farewell My Lovely and Grade agreed knowing the movie could be easily be pre sold to TV. Grade later financed The Big Sleep.[4]

Mitchum reprised the role of Philip Marlowe three years later in The Big Sleep although that film was set in the present day and in England rather than shot as a period piece in the detective's customary setting of Los Angeles.

Marlowe's client, Moose Malloy, is played by Jack O'Halloran, a former professional prizefighter. Sylvester Stallone, in an early role prior to Rocky, has a small role as an employee of the brothel's sadistic madam (played by actress Kate Murtagh).

Jim Thompson, author of popular crime novels like The Getaway and The Grifters, appears in the film as Judge Grayle.


Box Office

The film was profitable. TV rights were sold to NBC for $1.2 million.[1]

Critical response

Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film a positive review and wrote, "These opening shots are so evocative of Raymond Chandler's immortal Marlowe, archtypical [sic] private eye, haunting the underbelly of Los Angeles, that if we're Chandler fans we hold our breath. Is the ambience going to be maintained, or will this be another campy rip-off? Half an hour into the movie, we relax. Farewell, My Lovely never steps the genre itself there hasn't been anything this good since Hollywood was doing Philip Marlowe the first time around. One reason is that Dick Richards, the director, takes his material and character absolutely seriously. He is not uneasy with it, as Robert Altman was when he had Elliott Gould flirt with seriousness in The Long Goodbye. Richards doesn't hedge his bet.[5]

The staff at Variety was more critical of the film, writing, "Farewell, My Lovely is a lethargic, vaguely campy tribute to Hollywood's private eye mellers of the 1940s and to writer Raymond Chandler, whose Philip Marlowe character has inspired a number of features. Despite an impressive production and some firstrate performances, this third version fails to generate much suspense or excitement."[6]

Film critic Dennis Schwartz believes that actor Robert Mitchum was well cast and wrote, "The film's success lies in Mitchum's hard-boiled portrayal of Marlowe, its twisty plot and the moody atmosphere it creates through John A. Alonzo's photography. Los Angeles looms as a nighttime playground for hoods, beautiful women and suckers ready to be taken by all the glitzy signs leading them astray."[7]

It maintains an 84% film rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[8]



Previous adaptations

See: Farewell, My Lovely -- Film adaptations

The novel had been adapted for the screen twice before: in 1942, as The Falcon in place of Philip Marlowe;[9] and in 1944, as Murder, My Sweet, featuring Dick Powell as Marlowe and directed by Edward Dmytryk.[10]

Mitchum would go on to play Marlowe again in another movie, 1978's James Garner (1969) and Elliott Gould (1973).


An original motion picture vinyl soundtrack album composed by David Shire was released in 1975 by United Artists Records. The album contained 11 tracks.[11]

Track listing

  • 1. Main Title (Marlowe's Theme)
  • 2. Velma / Chinese Pool Hall / To the Mansion
  • 3. Mrs. Grayle's Theme
  • 4. Amthor's Place
  • 5. Mrs. Florian Takes the Full Count
  • 6. Marlowe's Trip
  • 7. Convalescence Montage
  • 8. Take Me to Your Lido
  • 9. Three Mile Limited
  • 10. Moose Finds His Velma
  • 11. End Title (Marlowe's Theme)

"Marlowe's Theme" was for many years used as closing music to legendary Swedish radio jazz program Smoke Rings.


  1. ^ a b The great movie money show. Michael Pye. The Sunday Times (London, England), Sunday, July 13, 1975; pg. 47; Issue 7935. (966 words)
  2. ^ "Farewell My Lover - Box Office Data". The Numbers. Retrieved : August 21, 2013. 
  3. ^ Farewell, My Lovely at the American Film Institute Catalog.
  4. ^ Lew Grade, Still Dancing: My Story, William Collins & Sons 1987 p 246
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger. Chicago Sun-Times, film review, January 1, 1975. Accessed: August 21, 2013.
  6. ^ Variety. Staff film review, January 1, 1975. Accessed: August 21, 2013.
  7. ^ Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, November 21, 2004. Accessed: August 21, 2013.
  8. ^ Farewell, My Lovely at Rotten Tomatoes. Accessed: August 21, 2013.
  9. ^ The Falcon Takes Over at the Internet Movie Database.
  10. ^ Murder, My Sweet at the Internet Movie Database.
  11. ^ Soundtrack Collector web site. Accessed: August 21, 2013.

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