After several adaptations by RKO Pictures of Raymond Chandler’s work that barely resembled the legendary writer’s source material, producer Adrian Scott finally managed to create a faithful one that captured the author’s wit and charm while also shaving down the book’s convoluted plot into something coherent. 1945’s Murder, My Sweet is based on Farewell, My Lovely (1940), the second Philip Marlowe mystery. I guess the marketing folks at RKO thought “Sweet” was a more effective pet name than “Lovely.” The film is certainly one of the most clearest versions of Chandler’s vision, even if its noble private eye yarn would later feel old-hat in the world of noir.
Now here’s an interesting caper: Edward Dmytryk’s The Sniper. This dark tale of male rage was a product of the later noir cycle, when the root problems of violence began to be examined on a psychological level. It’s about a veteran whose mother didn’t love him and who now desires women on a violent level. The film was pulled from release prematurely due to its graphic violence (which even stunned a hardened film viewer like me in 2014), and sort of faded into obscurity after that. It’s a shame it’s not more well known, since it’s an obvious precursor to films like Dirty Harry and Taxi Driver.