Monday, April 1, 2013

Murder, My Sweet: 3rd Film in “High Heels and Fedoras” series at Daystar Center April 9, 2013

Tuesday, April 9, 2013
6:30 p.m.
The Venue 1550 at the Daystar Center
1550 S. State Street

Murder, My Sweet, based on the novel by Raymond Chandler, was released in 1944, a few months after another noir classic, Double Indemnity. It was popular with audiences and critics alike. It transformed Dick Powell from a pretty-boy singer into a film noir icon. It also provided a great femme fatale role for Claire Trevor, one of Hollywood’s most versatile and talented actresses. For Anne Shirley, who was acting in the movies since she was four years old, her portrayal of Ann Grayle would mark her last film role.

Powell was probably the only actor in Hollywood who actively campaigned to play Walter Neff in Double Indemnity. Most of his contemporaries were afraid to play a murderer, but Powell was desperate to reinvent himself.

As a contract player at Warner Brothers, Powell was cast in musicals often costarring tap dancer Ruby Keeler and his first wife Joan Blondell. With his pretty-boy looks and tenor voice, Powell was a matinee idol during the early to mid-1930s. As the 1940s began, Powell thought he was too old to continue playing young romantic leads.

Powell  starred in movie musicals
during the 1930s.
Although he didn’t get the Walter Neff role, Powell did secure a contract with RKO where they were developing a B-movie based on Raymond Chandler’s detective novel, Farewell, My Lovely. When Powell and Trevor signed on as leads, the budget increased, turning it into an A-picture. Audiences and critics loved Powell’s portrayal of detective Philip Marlowe. Powell was now a successful dramatic actor. His reinvention was complete. Here’s what the New York Times said of Powell: “This is a new type of character for Mr. Powell. And while he may lack the steely coldness and cynicism of a Humphrey Bogart, Mr. Powell need not offer any apologies. He has definitely stepped out of the song-and-dance, pretty-boy league with this performance.”

Murder, My Sweet made Powell a bankable star once again. It also gave Trevor one of the best roles in her long movie career. For director, Edward Dmytryk, it raised his profile at RKO. He was given more A-movies to direct, including the Academy Award nominated Crossfire (1947). Dmytryk would go on to direct the epic Raintree County (1957), The Young Lions (1958), and the all-star The Carpetbaggers (1964), which was the highest grossing film that year.

To purchase tickets for the March 12 screening, click here. Tickets are $5 per person general admission $3 for students and seniors. To download a flyer to post in your building or office, click here. Tickets may be purchased at the door.

Anne Shirley (center) in Anne of Green Gables

Backstory: Anne Shirley began acting in silent movies when she was only four years old. She started out as Dawn O’Day, but when she portrayed Lucy Maud Montgomery’s heroine Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables, she took that name for her own. Shirley progressed from child star to adult roles; she was one of many actresses who tested for the role of Melanie Hamilton in Gone With The Wind, eventually losing out to Olivia de Havilland.

She met and married her second husband, Adrian Scott, who produced Murder, My Sweet.


  1. I love Dick Powell in these kinds of movies. I think he does the detective schtick really well.

    1. I agree. He certainly had a good sense of how these characters should be portrayed.


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