Director Richard Rush presented us a valentine with this incredible film, the third version made from the the 1940 Raymond Chandler novel. At least seven actors have portrayed Philip Marlowe. Robert Mitchum, played the part twice. The first time, in this film, he was nothing short of brilliant; just world-weary, battered, meloncholy, and tough enough to spark this tale into a full flame. His voice-over narrative hit perfect pitch; all gravel, too many smokes, and cheap booze. Mitchum, himself the veteran of several Noir classics, played the gumshoe as comfortable as one's favorite overcoat; a perfect fit. He shuffled lazy-lidded yet irascible and alert, as ready for a sap behind the ear, as he was to be the recipient of the sexual energy radiated off of Charlotte Rampling as Helen, the femme. She, likewise, postured perfectly in the Noir 1940's clothes and hairstyles. John Alonzo, fresh from shooting CHINATOWN, presented us with an LA bathed in just the right mix of golden light and shadow. Jerry Goldsmith delivered another spectacular score, overlapping jazz, blues, and swing, underscoring the action and dialogue masterfully. John Ireland, also a veteran of classic Noir, Anthony Zerbe, and Harry Dean Stanton gave tremendous support with their roles. There was even a couple of glimpses of Sly Stallone ( pre-ROCKY ) as a viscious punk. Some of the critics felt that this lush color film had to try too hard for that Noir feel. I disagree. This movie is a modern Noir classic, even in living color.