Later that afternoon, Marlowe is hired by Lindsay Marriott to assist in handing over an $8,000 ransom for a rare jade necklace owned by a woman friend of Marriott's. However, at the isolated meeting point—a lonely country road in the middle of the night—Marlowe is knocked out. When Marlowe comes to, he chances upon a passerby, Anne Riordan, who has found Marriott murdered. Anne takes some marijuana cigarettes off Marriott before Marlowe contacts the police. Later, Anne gives the cigarettes to Marlowe. With Anne's help Marlowe learns that the owner of the necklace is a Mrs. Grayle. Marlowe visits Mrs. Grayle, a beautiful blonde married to an elderly millionaire, who backs up Marriott's story that she was robbed of the necklace.
Suspicious of Marriott's joints, Marlowe cuts one open and finds the business card of one "Jules Amthor" "Psychic Consultant". Marlowe also learns that the title to the house of Florian's widow was in Marriott's name. Marlowe meets Amthor at the latter's "modernistic" hilltop home. There, Marlowe is beaten up with the help of crooked policemen. Later removed to a "sanitorium", Marlowe is shot full of dope but manages to escape. With a policeman, Marlowe finds Florian's widow murdered in her house. Marlowe makes it to a gambling ship off the coast where he attempts to get word to Malloy that he has information for him.
Marlowe lands back at his Hollywood apartment, takes a nap and awakes to find the Moose there. Mrs. Grayle then arrives while Malloy hides. Mrs. Grayle and Marlowe talk and it becomes clear that Velma and Mrs. Grayle are the same person. It is revealed that after realizing her new identity was in jeopardy from Marlowe's inquiries she was anxious to stop his investigation. It is implied that she killed Marriott because he wouldn't go through with Marlowe's murder at the isolated rendezvous. When she comes face to face with Malloy, she kills him and flees. At the end of the novel, Marlowe relates that she commits suicide in Baltimore after her true identity is found out by police there.
Although written after The Big Sleep (1939), Farewell, My Lovely was the first Marlowe story to be filmed. In 1942, The Falcon Takes Over, a 65 minute film, the third in the Falcon series of films revolving around Michael Arlen's gentleman sleuth Gay Lawrence (played by George Sanders), used the plot of Farewell, My Lovely, with Lawrence substituted for Marlowe. Purists agree that fitting the two rather different characters of Marlowe and Lawrence into one seems absurd from today's point of view; however, in 1942 Marlowe was not yet a household word, not yet a fictional character people would immediately recognize, and so at the time many of his habits would not have been known to cinemagoers.
In 1944 Dick Powell played the part of the hard-boiled detective in a classic film noir which was alternatively entitled Murder, My Sweet and Farewell, My Lovely— two years before Humphrey Bogart was offered the role of Philip Marlowe in 1946 for The Big Sleep. Thirty years later, Robert Mitchum starred in a remake of Farewell, My Lovely, again playing the tough private eye.
|1942 B/W movie||1944 B/W movie||1975 movie|
|Title||The Falcon Takes Over||Murder, My Sweet||Farewell, My Lovely|
|Directed by||Irving Reis||Edward Dmytryk||Dick Richards|
|Screenplay by||Lynn Root and Frank Fenton||John Paxton||David Zelag Goodman|
|Setting||New York||Los Angeles||Los Angeles|
|Philip Marlowe||George Sanders (as "Gay Lawrence")||Dick Powell||Robert Mitchum|
|Helen Grayle||Helen Gilbert (as "Diana Kenyon")||Claire Trevor||Charlotte Rampling|
|Moose Malloy||Ward Bond||Mike Mazurki||Jack O'Halloran|
|Mr. Grayle||---||Miles Mander||Jim Thompson|
|Lindsay Marriott||Hans Conried||Douglas Walton||John O'Leary|