Murder, My Sweet

Murder, My Sweet (1945)
Warner Home Video
Cast: Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Anne Shirley, Otto Kruger
Extras: Commentary Track, Trailer

In their line of film-noir releases, Warner Home Video has also prepared ’Murder, My Sweet’ for DVD, the 1945 Philip Marlowe film by Edward Dmytryk, a film that is rightfully considered one of the most important genre movies of its time. The story of the private eye, based upon the infamous character by Raymond Chandler, is tangled in a web of intrigue, romance, greed and murder as he tries to unravel the ties and keep himself alive above all.

The film is atmospherically shot and is offering some truly memorable images that have become synonymous with the genre. The film’s cast is doing a great job, conjuring up the magic of film noirs of its time, slightly over-acted, lightly stilted and a bit too aware of the camera, but as we all know, this is part of the charme these films have.

Warner Home Video has prepared a good looking transfer for the movie in its original fullframe aspect ratio. The transfer has been cleaned up and only occasionally speckles are visible. Overall it is a surprisingly clean and clear presentation without notable defects and only a minute amount of grain is evident in a handful of scenes. Contrast is very good, rendering deep blacks and solid shadows, nicely complemented by stark highlights the never bleed. Gradient fall-offs are balanced and create a very pleasing picture.

Audio is included in the form of the original mono audio track that has also been cleaned up and is free of pops or other deficiencies. The frequency response is audibly limited, of course, as a result of the film’s age, giving dialogues and especially the music a bit of a harsh-sounding quality, while at the same time adding that unique vintage flair to the film.

A commentary track by genre historian Alain Silver is included on the DVD in which he explores the production of the film as well as the development of the genre as a whole during the period. It is commentary full of insight and information and definitely worth checking out for everyone with a knack for these films. The only extra found on the disc is the movie’s theatrical trailer.

’Murder, My Sweet’ is a great genre entry and it is great to see these films finally come to DVD. It has been nicely cleaned up and makes for 95 minutes of cool entertainment with some unexpected and a few expected plot twists… and not to forget some really cool lines of dialogue.