Lady in the Lake Reviews
August 2, 2007
Though the fist person point of view may be an annoying gimmick that slows down the plot, it's an interesting excercise with some sequences full of oppresive atmosphere and suspense, for instance when Marlowe discovers the body; also the car chase and the ending.
April 2, 2010
This has some great stuff in it, but it's too mediocre to give it really high marks. The POV stuff can be a bit on the boring and uninteresting side, which is why I think it failed a bit for me.
December 6, 2009
Tough little noir. The audience POV is a gimmick but not one that ruins the enjoyment of the film, actually what could have been dispensed with was when Montgomery shows up sporadically to provide info for the viewer which would have been better as a voice over. Totter is a great noir heroine, pretty but with a hardness to her features and attitudes that make her perfect for the genre.
August 18, 2009
"lady in the lake" is an amateurish noir by robert montgomery's gimmicky experiment of filmmaking with raymond chandler's novel by the same name. it utilizes the entire first-person perspective which is also applied in humprey bogart's "dark passage" which was also released around the same time in 1947. but montgomery's trial is thorough becuz montgomery's philip marlowe is basically just a narrator, a void awaiting to be filled by the audience.
first of all, it takes a great deal of imagination as well as some enduring composure as a constant reader to visualize oneself in the position of philip marlowe as you're reading chandler's detective novels with his die-hard ace marlowe. as an enthusiastic reader of chandler's novels, i've found montgomery's primitive direction borders on my perception of the plots as i leaf one page after another. obviously, i cannot help but wonder whether montgomery's choice of such kind of directing is due to his limited craftmanship as a director since he cannot think any other way to present a movie?
second of all, the process of film-viewing is a highly passive involvement with the original texts since the filmakers have filled in the pages with their own envisioning of the story. as a viewer, you're detached in a position to judge whether the fimmaker's presentation is marvellously creative or not with a smugly ignorant condescendence even you've not got in touch with the texts beforehand. but on the contrary, reading is an active experience or commitment to devote your absolute attention into the story, and you're more left alone with your own imaginations on the characters, backset and the stream of consciousness kind of soliloquy as the character's self-revelation...you concede into the author's viewpoint at the moment you open the book or you wouldn't dedicate your time and efforts on consuming all the materials..when you're reading, you're fabricating a movie made on your own with your mind in absolute privacy....
so "lady in the lake" is merely a passable movie-piece since the director cannot offer you anything more than a whirling camera with some bizarre hand gestures. but somehow it simulates your inward state as you read the original books while imagining yourself as marlowe and see things in his angle...meanwhile it also lacks a sort of deepening refinement of characters' dimensions which the book usually renders by monologues..in the case, it proves that audrey totter is indeed a good actress who could pull off an acting job by playing opposite to an abscent leading man, shedding tears to a lifeless machine without the helpful eye-contact in the love scenes.
October 27, 2006
I spent the first 45 minutes annoyed by the crabbiness with which Robert Montgomery played Phillip Marlowe, but I eventually warmed up to Lady in the Lake. The whole 1st person POV was really gimmicky kind of annoying for a little while (especially with the crappy editing between shots) but you eventually go numb to it. The segues with Marlowe in his office bugged me and tipped me off to the fact that Montgomery was clueless in the director's chair. As with any Chandler, the dialogue's as great as the story is. Audrey Totter turns in a performance that's sultry as all hell when she's not giving the stink eye or overly dramatic expressions. If you ever check it out you've got to stick with it and not dismiss it before the first act is up. The ending's worth it.
January 17, 2009
A film that's one big gimmick, but fun to sit through once, even if it does take you out of the film.
Think Half-Life set in a Film-noir setting, yet it's mostly those parts where people talk to you and you have nothing to shoot.
March 9, 2010
85/100. Underrated classic, very innovative and exciting. It uses the very unique technique of using the camera as the eyes of detective Marlowe in this fine adaptation of the Raymond Chandler novel. Robert Montgomery directed it and did a wonderfully imaginative job. Excellent support from Audrey Totter and Audrey Meadows. Excellent cinematography.
March 4, 2009
Awkward and stiff in parts. First person camera work is bizarre and the fixation on Christmas is even more bizarre, But that's why I love it. Also 50% of the time the first person camera is focused on Audrey Totter, and while her eyes are downright crazy in this movie, I can watch her all day. Extremely biased review.
September 6, 2007
If ever there were a movie that cried out for a remake, this is it. Not because the film is bad, exactly--it's rather frustratingly average--but because the central concept is great but is failed by the available technology. Director and star Robert Montgomery tries to tell us the tale of Philip Marlowe's bizarre case by framing the film entirely through Marlowe's point-of-view, as if we the audience are seeing through Marlowe's eyes. This is indeed a delightful concept, but sadly a camera on a track and a crane is not believable as a human stand-in and the many "hidden" cuts to allow the camera to be repositioned are way too obvious. Also, while the many scenes showing Marlowe in mirrors are a nice touch, they are all clearly at the wrong angle. Today's steadicams would have been a Godsend to the filmmakers. The film is also hampered by the apparent belief that the audience just wouldn't "get it," as multiple times we cut to Marlowe in his office facing us in order to explain to us something that is happening. This wouldn't be so bad except the second time it's followed by the scene where we actually see everything happen that he was just explaining to us! It's certainly an interesting film to look at, and historically important for its inventive use of the POV shot, but it really just plays out like all those Nancy Drew computer games, but without the ability to interact with any of it.
June 29, 2007
Extra props for filming it (almost entirely) in the first-person. This technique was well done for it's time, but the story didn't pull me in.
October 1, 2006
Filmed entirely from Philip Marlowe's POV. (Yes, the resident hot chick even makes out with the camera. I know.) It'll either make you laugh or nauseated, but I personally found it spellbinding.
January 28, 2015
The camera work and perspective is unique, but the film is full of dialogue that is neither entertaining nor engaging. Save for some expressive looks and eyebrows of Audrey Totter who gives a great performance, this movie is thin on the noir or entertainment.
January 24, 2015
a fair to good film noir film with unusual photography where you dont see the face of Marlow very much
March 25, 2014
Interesting film-noir from the post war years. The first person viewpoint makes this a film worth seeing. The bait-&-switch routine near the end was a welcome gimmick.
December 20, 2013
At times the gimmick of the film wears thin with a few dull dragging moments and a few missteps, but ultimately Lady in the Lake is an endlessly intriguing film noir classic with fantastic performances and a well-executed unique style.
March 27, 2013
Its a film noir told entirely through a subjective POV shot, the problem is that gimmick drains on the immediacy and spontaneity out of the story.
December 9, 2012
The movie is not strong enought to carry the gimmack
May 24, 2012
Exactly what I look for in a thriller/detective film. It has plenty of infamous detective Philip Marlowe's biting wit, a dazzling femme fatale, a great plot with twists that threw me off, and an innovative filming technique. The entire film is shot in brilliant first-person, so that we feel like we're solving the case with Marlowe. We see and hear what he sees and hears. Evidence comes to us only when it comes to him. I had a lot of fun watching it and was incredibly impressed. Five star murder mystery. I highly recommend it!
August 18, 2011
Unique film! Phillip Marlowe (Montgomery) is hired by a company employee (Totter) to find her bosss missing wife. This movie is really cool! Robert Montgomery did one of the most stylish ways of filming-- the first person point of view. When he gets punched, you get punched, when he faints you faint, and that is a neat feeling, because I havent ever had this experience with any other movie. People felt the same way when it first came out, making it a commercial success. Audrey Totter is seriously talented, and she played her role really well, and probably outshone everyone else in the cast. Montgomery did a really good job of taking advantage of his cheap B-style sets, and made them look not as bad, so pretty smart. This is a movie you can really appreciate: it was considered really risky to have such a tricky camera setup, but it is really pulled off nicely. Yes, there are certain times that it might get a little bit annoying, but would it be the same if in the middle of the movie they put it in a regular style? No, and thats a big enough reason to see this. The Lady in the Lake might not be exactly something that everyone will like, but I did, and I think there will be a few that feel the same way.
March 30, 2010
In this 1946 detective drama, Phillip Marlowe played by Robert Montgomery, is NOT a Bogart. He gets roughed up a lot too. He's a tough guy. He's likes the ladies. He's only seen in mirrors. He's also not fond of murder and is tenacious. The soundtrack, if you want to call it that, is not often heard. Its a chorus of weird wailing.
This film takes place around Christmas. It starts 3 days before Christmas to be exact. The opening credits are displayed with traditional Christmas songs. Very creative beginning to say the least.
I was 19 minutes into this film and beginning to find it either laughable or dreadful. Sometimes both. A film like this is hard to tell without giving it a chance, but by minute 20 my patience was wearing out fast.
In this crime drama, we see what our famous detective Philip Marlowe sees, through his eyes. Its rather distracting for me but an interesting style.
I would rather see a conventionally made film without the nasal sounding Robert Montgomery as the detective. I'm not even sure if it's his voice doing the dialog.
Not a very tough guy to look at either (we see him in a mirror briefly several times). This is NO James Cagney, believe me. I wish it were. Cagney could pull off being a tough detective.
I also was put off by the typical wise guy dialog popular in the day. Fred MacMurry, Bogart and Cagney were famous for the snappy replies, but this Phillip Marlowe immediately comes off as a judgemental jerk.
He's always spoiling for a punch in the face, and by the 19th minute he gets it. Lights out and fade to black. Next scene, he wakes up in jail.
By the way, the first person he investigates in this crime story delivers the punch. Its a laughably presented southerner complete with that good old boy drawl and Superman body.
If a wise guy like Marlowe came into my house making all sorts of wild accusations he'd get a punch from me as well. By the way, he gets sucker punched, so its not entirely his inability to handle himself. At least our detective is not superman. Give the film some credit for that.
Never-the-less, with due respect to the era this film was made, I should ignore all this detail and try to stay with the plot.
The dvd cover art says "You and Robert Montgomery solve a murder mystery together!" The title, however, tells us right away there may be no mystery as to where a murder happened..... the Lady in the Lake.
Ok, she's in the lake. How she got there is the mystery. And why do more deaths occur?
We're warned it is a tricky plot, a film that begins unusually with Marlowe sitting at his office desk warning us about what we are about to see. We learn that for this film he turned writer and submitted his story to a publicist who hires him to find the boss's wife, missing for a month, then two months.
She must smell pretty bad by now, that is, if she's really dead. The husband, Mr. Kingsby, doesn't seem too shook up about her absence.
By the 36th minute of the film, our fast talking and ladie's man is making passes at his female co-star and client Miss Fromsett (Montgomery by his age in this film is no youngster and not particularly handsome either).
He also gets the sexy eye from the receptionist early in the film and again later. (This is too good to be true, a funny and a sexy movie!)
By the way, by now our leading suspect, the southerner, gets another visit by Marlowe but finds him gone. Instead, his landlady is in his house. She's looking for the southerner too and for his rent money. Marlowe poses as a collector looking for a car payment.
He suddenly has our landlady turning from a combative gal to a potential lover, all in one scene! Marlowe is some operator.
Half way through the film our detective manages to get arrested for a drunk driving, murder, striking a police officer, resisting arrest, disturbing a crime scene. He's had flirtations with three women, his first client Miss Fromsett and her receptionist. Then too there is that young landlady, Miss Fallbrook.
Isn't anyone married in this film besides the missing Mrs. Kingsby?
That's about all of this tangled plot I want to reveal. It's about all I want to write as well. This film is pretty much to me a satire or parody of detective stories by today's standards. It didn't intend to be, but that's what it comes off as to me. Sort of like Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid.
Not sure what to really think of it other than it made me laugh at some points, with some of the acting and wise-cracking dialog.
Watch it for yourself and decide.
NOTES about the film:
1 Lady in the Lake is a 1947 American noir film that marked the directorial debut of actor Robert Montgomery who also starred in the film. It was an adaptation of the 1944 Raymond Chandler novel The Lady in the Lake.
2 The movie was also rare for having virtually no musical soundtrack.
3 The entire film was seen from the viewpoint of the central character, the detective Philip Marlowe, played by Montgomery. The gimmick was that the audience would see only what the character saw, and MGM in its promotion of the film claimed that it was the first of its kind and the most revolutionary style of film since the introduction of the talkies. (talk is so cheap)
4 An adaptation of the 1944 Raymond Chandler novel The Lady in the Lake. Chandler, a twice Oscar nominated screenwriter who did not author the screenplay for this or any other screen adaptations of his own novels, surprisingly disdained Montgomery's ambition to create a cinematic version of the first person narrative style of his Phillip Marlowe novels.
5 The storyline revolved around a conventional murder mystery similar to many others of the period, however it was notable for the perspective presented to the viewer.
6 The New York Times film critic wrote, "In making the camera an active participant, rather than an off-side reporter, Mr. Montgomery has, however, failed to exploit the full possibilities suggested by this unusual technique. For after a few minutes of seeing a hand reaching toward a door knob, or lighting a cigarette or lifting a glass, or a door moving toward you as though it might come right out of the screen the novelty begins to wear thin."
Robert Montgomery as Philip Marlowe
Audrey Totter as Adrienne Fromsett
Lloyd Nolan as Lt. DeGarmot
Tom Tully as Police Captain Fergus K. Kane
Leon Ames as Derace Kingsby
Jayne Meadows as Mildred Haveland
Richard Simmons as Chris Lavery
Morris Ankrum as Eugene Grayson
Lila Leeds as Receptionist
William Roberts as Artist
Kathleen Lockhart as Mrs. Grayson
Directed by Robert Montgomery
Produced by George Haight
Screenplay by Steve Fisher
Music by David Snell
Cinematography Paul Vogel
Editing by Gene Ruggiero
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) January 23, 1947 (1947-01-23) (United States)
Running time 105 minutes