Lady in the Lake (1946)
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Lady in the Lake is a Philip Marlowe mystery with an unusual technical conceit - it's almost entirely presented from the protagonist's perspective, as if he were the camera. It's interesting enough, effective at creating uncertainty about other characters' motives and certainly a good showcase for Audrey Totter who plays opposite; and it has thematic underpinnings besides (the detective as author), but they're not as strong as I want them to be when trying to justify such an extreme choice. Because the conceit, as clever as it sometimes is, does cause problems. The most tangible one is that because we seldom see Marlowe's face (a mirror here and there), and star/director Robert Montgomery's delivery is so deadpan (he has mastered the noir patter of Raymond Chandler's world), you can't really get a handle on his character, and so his romance with Totter lacks feeling. We need to see his expressions to believe in his emotional states, and we don't, so we don't. Sadly, what makes Lady in the Lake worth the watch is also the thing that ultimately makes it less than satisfying.
Why be a private detective at all?
Why eat, you only get hungry again!
Worth watching, but the ingenious concept is bogged down with too many static indoor shots. Needs more action to be effective. I would have liked to see the journey to the LAKE.
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In 2 official lists
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This movie ranks #38 in TSPDT 100 Essential Noir Films
This movie ranks #38 in TSPDT 1000 Noir Films