Monday, November 10, 2014
I’d forgotten until today that Jim Thompson--yes, that Jim Thompson, the author of such hard-boiled classics as The Killer Inside Me (1952), The Criminal (1953), and The Grifters (1963)--made a cameo appearance in the 1975 film Farewell, My Lovely, adapted from Raymond Chandler’s 1940 novel of the same name and starring Robert Mitchum as private investigator Philip Marlowe. According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), this was Thompson’s only acting job, though he’d penned episodes of the TV series Cain’s Hundred and Dr. Kildare, and several of his novels were made into movies.
In the video clip embedded above, Thompson, then in his late 60s (he died in 1977 at age 70), plays Judge Baxter Wilson Grayle, said to be “the most powerful political figure in Los Angeles.” Perhaps the reason I forgot he was even in the picture (saying very little, it should be added) is because this scene is more than slightly dominated by Charlotte Rampling, as Helen Grayle, his seductive and much younger wife (she was then only 29 years old), who makes a pretty obvious but potent play for Marlowe’s affections. How the old gumshoe resisted her charms is beyond me.
READ MORE: “Marlowe Goes to the Movies,” by J. Kingston Pierce
(The Rap Sheet).