Originally, My next Marlowe post was to be on Powers Boothe’s HBO series. Then I discovered Netflix had LADY IN THE LAKE available and slipped it ahead. I’d read a lot about this film, good and bad, and I decided to go with it next.
Robert Montgomery as Philip Marlowe and he directed as well.
Marlowe is hired to find a publisher’s missing wife. A telegram had arrived two months ago saying she was in Mexico to get a divorce so she could marry a, let’s be charitable, gigolo. Then he’s seen around town and seems to know nothing about it.
Marlowe soon becomes enmeshed in a complicated plot with a woman drowned a while back in a lake, a crooked cop, a murdered gigolo, a furious husband. He gets slugged around a bit, as usual, framed a couple of times, the usual in pursuit of the truth. Which, of course, is never what the participants want.
I really had no problem with the story line. The basic plot of the novel is there. I’ve never insisted a novel be slavishly followed. Two different mediums that aren’t really complimentary to each other. Allowances have to be made, even with Raymond Chandler, as incredible as that may seem.
The POV is where my problems lie with the film. I didn’t much care for the first person point of view. They used to call such things “interesting” experiments. I wouldn’t. This type of film seems to require seeing the main character, the emotions in his face, the body language. They sort of overdid the looking-at-himself in a mirror bit as well. That was to get Montgomery on camera more, I suppose. But I often go a whole day without looking in a mirror, let alone a half dozen times in just a few hours. That borders on narcissism.
Not the best of the Marlowe movies I’ve seen recently. But not the worst either.