Lady in the Lake

  • Directors: Robert Montgomery
  • Producers: George Haight
  • Writers: Story, Raymond Chandler, Screenplay, Steve Fisher
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery, Romance
  • Actors: Robert Montgomery, Audrey Totter, Lloyd Nolan, Tom Tully, Leon Ames, Jayne Meadows

The story is set on Christmas Eve. Hard-boiled private detective Philip Marlowe (Montgomery) is asked by a publishing executive, Adrienne Fromsett (Totter), to locate the wife of her boss, publisher Derace Kingsby (Ames). One month earlier she had sent her husband a telegram saying she was heading to Mexico to marry a man named Chris Lavery.

However Kingsby had recently seen Lavery in the neighboring Bay City, and Lavery seemed unaware of the trip to Mexico. Marlowe pursues his investigation at the Kingsby’s lakeside cottage, where Mrs. Kingsby was last seen. There, he finds Lavery shot dead, and he then becomes involved in a complex web of intrigue.

The Big Sleep

  • Directors: Howard Hawks
  • Producers: Howard Hawks
  • Writers: Novel, Raymond Chandler, Screenplay, William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, Jules Furthman
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall

Note: As there are two cuts of this movie, this plot description may be inaccurate.

Private detective Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) calls on new client General Sternwood (Charles Waldron) at his Los Angeles mansion. As he waits in the foyer, the General’s younger daughter, Carmen (Martha Vickers), flirts seductively with Marlowe. Marlowe is indifferent towards her flirtatious comments, leaving Carmen intrigued. He is then led by Norris, the butler, into the sun room where he is introduced to the ailing but wealthy general, who wants to resolve gambling debts owed by Carmen to a bookseller named Arthur Gwynn Geiger. As Marlowe begins to leave, he is stopped by General Sternwood’s oldest daughter, Mrs. Vivian Rutledge (Lauren Bacall), who questions Marlowe about what he is doing for her father. Vivian, who was recently divorced, suspects her father’s true reason for calling in a detective is to find Sean Regan, his friend, companion and bodyguard who had mysteriously disappeared a month earlier. The general assumption, established as the film progresses, is that Regan has run off with a local gambler’s wife, Mrs. Eddie Mars.

Marlowe goes to Arthur Geiger’s rare book shop and quickly dons a disguise as he enters the shop under the premise of searching for several rare books. Agnes, the unfriendly shop assistant, claims that they don’t have the book Marlowe is looking for, nor any of the other books he inquires about. Marlowe begins to suspect that the book store is a front. As he is talking with Agnes, a man enters the back room where Marlowe sees stacks of books and paper. His suspicions are correct: Geiger is illegally selling pornographic books. He asks to see Mr. Geiger, but Agnes claims that Geiger is not in. Marlowe leaves the store and takes shelter in a bookstore across the street as it begins to rain. While there, he asks the brunette bookstore clerk whether or not she has ever seen Geiger. She replies that she has. She describes Geiger as being in his early 40s, fat, with a Charlie Chan mustache and a glass eye. Marlowe and the attractive brunette begin to flirt. She removes her glasses and lets down her hair. Marlowe decides to wait for Geiger in the store. The clerk lowers the blinds and pulls out glasses for the bottle of rye Marlowe offers.

Marlowe wounds Mars and he runs out. But his men, waiting to ambush Marlowe, shoot and kill Mars. Marlowe calls Bernie Ohls to wrap up the case but tells him that Mars killed Regan. Marlowe and Vivian decide to commit Carmen and conceal the truth from the dying General Sternwood. They wait in the dark as sirens approach, now committed to each other.[1][2][3]

Murder My Sweet

  • Directors: Edward Dmytryk
  • Producers: Adrian Scott
  • Writers: Novel, Raymond Chandler, Screenplay, John Paxton
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Anne Shirley

Detective Philip Marlowe (Dick Powell) is hired by hulking Moose Malloy (Mike Mazurki) to locate his old girlfriend that he lost track of while serving time in prison. With each lead he follows, Marlowe encounters lies, larceny, perjury, theft and a beautiful femme fatale (Claire Trevor).

Double Indemnity

  • Directors: Billy Wilder
  • Producers: Buddy G DeSylva, Joseph Sistrom
  • Writers: Novella, James M Cain, Screenplay, Billy Wilder, Raymond Chandler
  • Genres: Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller
  • Actors: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G Robinson

Walter Neff (MacMurray) is a successful insurance salesman for Pacific All-Risk returning to his office building in downtown Los Angeles late one night. Neff, clearly in pain, sits down at his desk and tells the whole story into a Dictaphone for his colleague Barton Keyes (Robinson), a claims adjuster.

He first meets the sultry Phyllis Dietrichson (Stanwyck) during a routine house call to renew an automobile insurance policy for her husband. A flirtation develops, at least until Neff hears Phyllis wonder how she could take out a policy on her husband’s life without him knowing it. Neff realises she intends to murder her husband and wants no part of it.

Phyllis pursues Neff to his own home, and persuades him that the two of them, together, should kill her husband. Neff knows all the tricks of his trade and comes up with a plan in which Phyllis’s husband will die an unlikely death, in this case falling from a moving train. Pacific All-Risk will therefore be required, by the ‘double indemnity’ clause in the insurance policy, to pay the widow twice the normal amount.

Keyes, a tenacious investigator, does not suspect foul play at first, but eventually concludes that the Dietrichson woman and an unknown accomplice must be behind the husband’s death. He has no reason to be suspicious of Neff, someone he has worked with for quite some time and admires.

Neff drives to his office where he dictates his full confession to Keyes, who arrives and hears enough of the confession to understand everything. Neff tells Keyes he is going to Mexico rather than face a death sentence but collapses to the floor before he can reach the elevator.