In this adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's "The Farewell Murder", Nick and Nora (and their dog Asta) visit the estate of Col. MacFay, who is being threatened by a mysterious man wanting revenge for a past injustice. When MacFay is murdered, that man is the obvious suspect- maybe too obvious... Written by
Ken Yousten <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Two tragedies befell William Powell prior to the making of this movie: the unexpected death of his fiancée, Jean Harlow, and a difficult battle with colon cancer that required colon bypass surgery and new radiation treatments. Production of this film was delayed as a result, and Powell and Myrna Loy were given a standing ovation when he finally returned to join her on the set for filming. See more »
I hadn't seen this one before, probably the thought of the Charles' with a baby tagging along worried me. But although he formed a double act with Asta for the first half by the time the plot went into overdrive he was virtually ditched. And I've not come across this Hammett story, but with the comedy turned up to maximum there is so much going on in here I'm amazed it all got squeezed into 98 minutes. The complete box-set print is absolutely pristine and gleamingly atmospheric as was only achievable with nitrate stock.
The plot you can liken to a game of keeping a ball in the air, the members of the cast who let it drop to the ground get murdered. It's impossible to explain the complexities of it all - in short Nick's trying to prevent a murder, then trying to catch the murderer - from a dizzying array of suspects. This is Red Herring City, right up to the very end when Nick unmasked the surprise murderer and even the housekeeper's motives are explained in a dismissive sentence - but not corroborated. If you want to work out whodunnit for yourself my advice is keep a very open mind! If you don't like whodunnits at all watch this solely for the astonishing dance routine by Rene & Estela - Fred & Ginger were awkward in comparison!
I'm going to have to watch this again, soon and sober to tie up some of the threads I lost along the way. I noticed Nick hardly drank at all in here - was that Hays Office pressure? All in all not quite as good as the first two but still one Hell of a ride!
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