Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lady in the Lake (1947)

The film version of The Lady in the Lake is considered a misfire and that’s unfortunate as it’s one of my favorite Chandler novels. It takes Marlowe outside his usual Los Angeles digs to Little Fawn Lake in search of a missing woman. The talented actor and director, Robert Montgomery, decided on an unusual gimmick -- the entire film is seen from the viewpoint of Marlowe. We occasionally glimpse Montgomery in a mirror, but other than that, we, the audience, are Marlowe. I’ve seen the film twice and think it’s better than what many critics said, but then again, I’m a Chandler fan, noir aficionado, and love just about anything from this period. Here's the trailer:

The original New York Times review: “In making the camera an active participant, rather than an off-side reporter, Mr. Montgomery has, however, failed to exploit the full possibilities suggested by this unusual technique. For after a few minutes of seeing a hand reaching toward a door knob, or lighting a cigarette or lifting a glass, or a door moving toward you as though it might come right out of the screen the novelty begins to wear thin. Still, Mr. Montgomery has hit upon a manner for using the camera which most likely will lead to more arresting pictorial effects in the future.”


Anonymous said...

I LOVE it! And I've never seen it before. I'm going to buy this movie. Nothing entertains me more than old b&W crime movies.

David Cranmer said...

I think you will enjoy it but is sure offbeat.