Murder, My Sweet
March 24, 2018
The Katharina Otto-Bernstein Screening Room
Lenfest Center for the Arts
615 W. 129 St.,
New York, NY 10027
1944 / 95 min / b/w
Dir. Edward Dmytryk / Scr. John Paxton
Cast: Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Anne Shirley
Paris release: July 31, 1946
Adapted from: Farewell, My Lovely (1942) by Raymond Chandler
Digital copy courtesy of Swank
This screening is part of The Inaugural Dr. Saul and Dorothy Kit Film Noir Festival
The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of: Paris 1946 and American Film Noir
Programmed by Rob King, Film and Media Studies
"Like many new American films, Double Indemnity and Murder, My Sweet are told in the first person. […] The narrator of Murder, My Sweet is a private detective. He is thrown into a dark story of which he knows neither the ins nor the outs. The obscurity of the film’s plot is intentional, as is the imbroglio into which the spectator is plunged. Murder, My Sweet is not an ordinary detective film that reveals, in sequence, the facts of a clearly stated problem: its script is not a riddle intended to exercise the viewer’s intelligence; it does not aim to intrigue but to create an atmosphere of terror. Because we do not understand, we feel threatened by unknown dangers. Murder, My Sweet really deserves the name of 'thriller': the first-person narration is used to give the viewer the delicious thrill of fear. This tendency is pushed very far. The policeman is knocked out several times during the film and each time the screen tries to suggest the victim’s impressions; this gives us swirling shapes that remind us of the quest for 'pure cinema' and the reconstruction of nightmare and visual disturbance in the style of the old avant-garde."
– Jean-Pierre Chartier, “The Americans Also Make Films Noirs,” La Revue du cinema, November 1946
About the Dr. Saul and Dorothy Kit Film Noir Festival
Paris 1946. The war is over and American films are once again in Parisian theaters. The French immediately notice a shift in the sensibility of Hollywood’s crime films. They call it noir.
This festival—the first in a ten-year series devoted to the legacy of film noir—returns us to that pivotal moment in film history some seven decades ago. For its inaugural year, the Kit Film Noir Festival will present eight of the films that screened in France that season and inspired the label film noir. Most films will be shown in 35mm.
This festival is funded by a generous gift from alumnus Gordon Kit (Columbia College ’76), in honor of his parents.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org