Marlowe (2022) - full transcript

In late 1930's Bay City, a brooding, down on his luck detective is hired to find the ex-lover of a glamorous heiress.

War continues in Europe.

Hitler has suggested
that any questions

over the future of Poland
will be settled entirely

between Germany and Russia.

He also stated that he regards

the Czechoslovak
Question as closed.

Speaking at Washington,

President Roosevelt
made no comment as to...

The name's Cavendish.

A Miss Cavendish.

Perhaps it's a first
name, Cavendish?

Um, cigarette?

The cigarettes you
keep for your clients,

are they better or worse
than what you smoke?

They're the same.

Perhaps it is a first
name, Cavendish.

It's... a good first name.



How private exactly are your
investigations, Mr. Marlowe?

What can I do for
you, Mrs. Cavendish?

Mm, you are a detective.

I'd like you to
find someone for me.


Nico Peterson.

He was my lover, he disappeared
without saying goodbye.

When you say disappeared,
do you mean out of your life

or out of the world?

I don't know,
that's why I'm here.

Where was your husband,
Mrs. Cavendish,

when your lover Nico
Peterson disappeared?

In retrospect...

do call me Cavendish
without the Missus.

I like it.

Was your lover the sort
of man to disappear

with you as a lover?

Normally, they don't
disappear easily.

No, I bet they don't.

They stay around,

climb trellises,
scenes in restaurants,

lie down in the road,
promise you anything.

Oh, I know how it goes.

Do you lie down in
the road, Mr. Marlowe?

- Drink?
- Please.

Well, he's tall, like you.

Bit of a weaker man.

He dresses nice, meticulously.

What does that say about a man?

Does Mr. Peterson get
money from his profession

or does he just
profess his profession?

You seem to assume
that I was involved

with someone unsuitable.

Yes, unless you were
unsuitable for him.

Go to hell, you
pathetic little...

Would it be accurate to
say that Mr. Peterson

would be a marginal
person in motion pictures?

- Apologies, sir.
- Yes. Alright.

It would be accurate,

it would be very
accurate indeed.

Go to hell, you pathetic...

We would meet at
the Corbata Club.

Do you know it?

How did Mr. Peterson
know the Corbata Club?

Was he your guest

or the kind of guy who
was anybody's guest?

My husband and I
have an arrangement.

May I ask, is your
husband homosexual?

No. He isn't remotely
that interesting.

He likes polo,
alcohol, waitresses

and my money.

Your money, Mrs. Cavendish?

I beg your pardon, Mr. Marlowe.

I'm asking if the
money is yours.

My father was in oil, he's dead.

You'd know my mother, but
we won't discuss her now.

Did you conduct your affair
with Mr. Peterson at the club?

We weren't meeting in the
horse sheds, Mr. Marlowe.

What did he not show up for?

An assignation.

I telephoned him a
few times, no answer,

and then I went to his
house the following week.

The milk hadn't been canceled

and the newspapers were
piled up on his porch.

Did he have things to hide?

Haven't we all?

What do you think has
become of Mr. Peterson?

Told you, I want a
set of fresh eyes

and yours come
highly recommended.

Maybe you'll find
out what I can't.

My name's really
Clare, like the county.

You know the county?

Yeah, in Ireland.
I know it well.

My mother was in
pictures, you'd know her.

It's rather embarrassing
with the upper class.

You're very perceptive and
sensitive, Mr. Marlowe.

I imagine it gives you trouble.

He ain't home, bo.

What? He owe you dough or
make time with your wife?

That's the way it is, huh?

Yeah, I'd say so,
and good for him.

He's not a bad guy, if you don't
trust people anyway. I don't.

I think he's from Cleveland.

That's my place
across the street,

he used to come over sometimes,

pass the time of day.

Give me a smoke.

How, uh, how long
has he been gone?

Oh, I guess I last seen
him seven weeks ago.

You, uh, you see him leave?

No, I just noticed he was gone.

How did you know?

Well, he wasn't there anymore.

That means there weren't any
women banging on his front door,

or throwing a shoe at the house.

I mean, I did pretty good
in my day, but not like him.

Are you a cop?

Sort of.

A private dick ain't no cop.

Yeah, you're not the first one
to come around asking about him.

A pair of wetbacks
showed up last week,

and they was all gussied
up, but a beaner in a suit

and fancy necktie, it's
still a beaner, right?

No, sometimes he's
the King of Spain.

King of Spain don't ride
around in no Lincoln,

with a Mexican re-spray.

Yeah, I used to work in the low
end of the motor trade myself,

it was two beaners in a hot car

that had been across
the border and back.

Oh, let's start
at the beginning.

This guy's been looked at, sure.

Grifts, alienations
of affection,

parking tickets, drunk
at a social gathering.

And in the early days,
public solicitation.

Now nobody knew he
ever had a house,

he's down as domicile unknown.

He does have a
house, I was there.

Yeah, well, there's
having a house

and being the person
paying for it, I suppose.

Who was paying for it?

Well, I think you'll
find he was paying cash

from his no visible
means of support.

Hope the lady friend looking
for him looks good in black.

He was killed. October
22nd, hit and run.

Outside the Corbata Club.

You owe me lunch.

Liquid or regular?

"Deceased was struck by
a vehicle, make unknown,

driver unknown, on
Bay Canyon Drive

just outside the Corbata Club.

Deceased has numerous
injuries including

gross comminuted fracture
right side of his skull.

Death be not proud."

I guess there's no point
in asking for an invite.

Oh, none at all, sir.


Oh, hey!

You looking for a gardening job?

Actually, no, a membership form.

Albert. We've got a
hedge hopper here.

He needs trimming.

A ver.

- Hey, buddy.
- A ver.

Maybe there's a reason you're
unpopular with policemen.

Keep getting, I don't know...

punched, locked up,

and almost, but
not quite, charged

with accessory,
obstruction, etcetera.

- And at your age.
- It's my manner, Joe.

Yup, starting to wish you
still had your pension?

Sure you are.

Look, Marlowe, listen...

This guy got killed after
getting sauced in there.

The remains smelled
like a brewery,

and he had marks up
and down his arms,

his head popped like a pumpkin.

The Corbata Club
likes to make it nice,

it does not like trouble.

Hit and run is two
crimes at least.

Don't fuck with me, this is LA.

These guys like Peterson

are a dime a dozen,
they come out here,

they fail a screen test and
they do what they've to do.

Could any member
of the Corbata Club

not know that he was dead?

From our own Chief of Detectives

to the new Ambassador
to England,

I find it highly unlikely it
didn't come up over cream tea

that a scumbag had caught a
Buick at the front entrance.

Did they ask you
to broom the case?

No one has to ask, my brother.

Can I see the police file?

We don't need it.

Why you looking for this guy?

A lady wanted to find him.

Well, he'll wait
until she comes by.

Go back to Boston, to that
miserable goddamn family.

And then onto England, the
court of Saint fucking James.

You're not the only one
who's done with this.

Just remember one thing.

Oh, please, darling,
not another.

I paid for that horse.

I get to keep him too.

Could you, uh, do mine after?

Are you the new mechanic?

Maybe, what's it paying?

- You've a name?
- Marlowe.

This is hell nor am I out of it.

That was his one good line.

You don't think he
was Shakespeare.

Neither did he.

Maybe I am out of it.

Well out of it.

You startled me, Marlowe.

Apologies, seems to be
my day for startling.

Who else did you startle?

Some elegant Mick outside,
who quoted Marlowe.

Are you quotable, Mr. Marlowe?

Christopher Marlowe.

Ah, he played in Doctor
Faustus at the Harvard Rep.

Never lets anyone forget that.

- He?
- Hm.

Joseph O'Reilly, my
mother's financial adviser,

oh, and soon to be
Ambassador to England,

he never lets anyone
forget about that either.

What did he play, one of
the seven deadly sins?


Iced tea?

You could have some
of mine if you like.

No, thank you.

I can offer you anything really,

it's like the Arabian
Nights around here.



Who the hell is this?

Sorry, I'm, I'm Philip Marlowe.

Hello, Marlowe. Cavendish.

Mr. Marlowe calls me
Cavendish, Richard. I like it.

It's your name, darling.

I like it as a first name.

Glad I'm good for
something, dear.

Have you, um, offered

your very large friend
a proper drink, darling?

She did, and I
declined, thank you.

So, Mr. Marlowe, what kind
of business are you in?

Mr. Marlowe detects things.

Ah, and what are you
detecting here, Marlowe?

My necklace. I lost
it, he found it.

Of course he did.
I wonder where.

Well, it was a matter of
retracing your wife's steps.

- Marlowe.
- Yes, Mr. Cavendish.

Fuck yourself.

It's a pleasure to meet
you too, Mr. Cavendish.

Didn't go for it, that's odd.

He must think there's
something between us...

probably something... sexual.

So tell me about
you and Mr. Peterson

with no embellishments, please.

I met him at the Corbata
Club for the first time.

Thought he was handsome.

We made love, and then I saw
him again, a few weeks later,

not an assignation, an accident.

In Tijuana at my favorite
bar, La Quinteria.

I was there with my husband.

We were watching the
procession, Dia de los Muertos.

What was he hustling in Mexico?

I don't know. Nico
has many schemes.

He's in the grave.

Nico Peterson is dead.

He's pretending.

He's pretending very well.

Oh, I know, he's
dead and buried.

That he got killed in front of
the Corbata Club, supposedly.

Everybody says he was.

But you see, the
significant thing is that

I saw him the other
day, from the street,

not in my mind's eye,

on the street, not dead at all.

I think we're finished,
Mrs. Cavendish.


I just wanted you to
start at the beginning.

Begin at the beginning,

that's what you're
supposed to do, right?

- Where did you see him?
- Back in Tijuana.

My mother wanted me to
view some Azteca horses,

you know the prancing kind.

I did that, I do what she says.

So I was in La Quinteria again,

having one of their
divine mojitos

when I saw Nico driving
down the street.

He called himself a collector.

Most of all collected
junk, pretend antiques.

I suppose they're
for the movies...

things that don't
exist, fairy tales.

There's a man in Baja,

who thinks Nico's
actually a producer.

He's been fleeced.

What? What's wrong?

You lied to me, Mrs. Cavendish.

And I sat there and watched
you lie to your husband.

Good afternoon.

Hello, Mr...


Oh, of course, I knew that.

Richard made a call
when you first came in.

You know what they say
about the old boys' club?

What's that?

There really is one.

And what did he
find, Madame, uh...

Dorothy Quincannon, and
don't pretend you don't know.

Well, let's see,
you had a bad war,

and then in the twenties,
you drank yourself

out of a good job
in the oil business.

Did I?

Got on with the Los Angeles DA

as an investigator, but that
didn't work out too well either,

did it, Mr. Marlowe?

You see, he found all
that out in five minutes.

You're not the only one
who can make enquiries.

You weren't looking for pearls.

No, I throw them before
swine, it's a habit of mine.

Tell me, Mr. Marlowe, what
does my daughter want?

A divorce? I might
even approve.

I'm sorry, I only discuss
business with my employer,

so if you'll excuse me.

- Slan.
- Slan.

Excuse me?

- Hey, Fergus.
- Oh, hello.

Ah, Jesus, here it is.

Not a single lead on
who ran Peterson down.

- We pursued inquiries.
- But how far?

Marlowe, if one wanted
to find an absolute nest

of entitled and
connected tosspots

who feel they can
just drive away

after running over
another drunk's head,

you go to the Corbata Club.

There were no witnesses,
a suspect wasn't possible.

Saturday night, they come
and go at that club like rats

through a hole in a garbage can.

It could have been any
one of a hundred cars

that flattened him, and
probably none of them contained

anybody it'd be wise to arrest.

We're in the real world here.
You understand a real world.

Sometimes justice is blind,

sometimes justice doesn't give
a shit and might be right.

So who's the mystery broad
you're working for? His sister?

Tell me about his sister.

Maybe she identified
him, maybe she didn't.

You tell me about his sister.

I got my own sister, you can
stick his sister up your ass.

I'm working for a
person who thinks

that Nico Peterson
is still alive.

Yeah, that's complicated.
I'm not a complicated man.

My client claims
to have seen him,

which gives you a
murder, my friend.

Yeah, I got plenty, thanks.

Here's your file.

My employer thinks
he didn't die,

that it wasn't him
that got smashed

outside the Corbata
Club, to repeat myself.

It gives me a murder,
yeah, theoretically, maybe.

What's your trouble
gents? Money or women?

Both, with the
complication of thirst.

He's like the rest of us, Pat,
except he can't take a hint.

- What'll you have?
- Whiskey.


What's going on
these days Patrick,

you, you married, or happy?

At least my laundry's done.

Pat had a rough
two weeks finding

clean drawers after
he lost his mother.

Fuck yourself.

If I could, I wouldn't
have to listen.

If it was an
operation, I'd sign up.

If he's alive, Joe,
you have a homicide.

Gonna keep saying that?

That's the last thing
you want in homicide,

I realize, homicide.

What, you think
it was a homicide?

I went to the
graveyard. Guess what?

- He was cremated.
- Good guess.

Yeah, even the
teeth were destroyed

and they'd be everywhere.

You ever run over a rat
or a cat, look at it?

If Peterson didn't die, who did?

Look, Marlowe, I know you got
this Sir Lancelot bullshit,

and you live like some monk,

you got no regular self-interest
anyone can count on,

you like getting sapped and
locked up for just not stopping,

and this is an interesting
story you have, if true.

But that stiff, Peterson,
for all intents and purposes,

had Peterson's
wallet in his pocket.

Plus, he was identified
at the scene,

for all intents and purposes.

By who?

The manager of the
club, Floyd Hanson,

and by the Los Angeles County
Coroner, who's a member.

So, it's nobody's
business now but county.

County line runs where?

Bay Canyon Drive.

Right along here?

Oh, Jesus.

Make the call, Joe.

I'll keep you out of it.

Mr. Hanson says it's most
irregular, Mr. Marlowe,

but he'll see you.

Keep to the left, follow the
signs that say reception.

Oh, thank you.

I'm Floyd Hanson the manager.

What can I do for
you, Mr. Marlowe?

Don't bother
turning off the car.

The gateman tells me you're
a private investigator,

could that be so?

Yes, I used to work
for the DA's office.

- I've heard that.
- I've heard that you've heard.

I'm here about an
accident that occurred.

- A serious one?
- Nico Peterson.

Well, that actually
wasn't on the property,

that was more in
the public road.

Oh, I fully appreciate
the distinction,

but sometimes people get
moved off the property

even though their leg is
lying on it a little bit.

There was an interesting
case in Cincinnati.

What was that?

A man was beaten to death, and
then he was put in the road,

and his head was
run over by a tire,

to obliterate the cause of death

and to get him off the property.

Mr. Peterson was run
down on the road,

and the road is not
on the property.

I appreciate that.

Was Peterson a
member of this club?

No, Mr. Peterson
wasn't a member. No.

That's because you're
exclusive I imagine.

We are, but your meaning, sir?

What would we do without Mexico?

Mexico's the future, we have a
sister club in Baja, California.

- Looks like the past.
- It must be brought along.

Mexico or its inhabitants?

Stick to the point, Mr. Marlowe.

It must have been
a shock for you,

seeing Mr. Peterson
on the road like that.

I was at Chateau Thierry,
old man, Belleau Wood.

I have seen men in more disarray

than that in which
Mr. Peterson was discovered.

Once, after an artillery strike,

I found a friend's tooth
in my whiskey glass.

I drank the whiskey.

You're a terrible man.

He was dead, and I
needed the whiskey.

You're my age, perhaps
you were there,

perhaps you know how it
was, and therefore is.

Royal Irish Rifles. The Somme.

For the rest of time,
we see the dead.

Let's take a
stroll, Mr. Marlowe.

We're alive, when
others are not,

and it's a pleasant morning.

I see you've made inequity

pretty much your profession.

The Club is exclusive.
The rich like to play.

The polo grounds are over there.

So whose guest was Mr. Peterson
the night he was killed?

Who's your employer Mr. Marlowe?

We're at an impasse,
Mr. Hanson. Who's yours?

I don't know what you
want me to tell you,

the police were thorough,
aren't they always,

isn't that what they
do, be thorough?

I rarely blame a policeman
unless he's really bad.

There's generally
someone he's afraid of.

And who in this instance would
any policeman be afraid of?

Well, if the hit and run driver

were a very substantial
or a connected person,

a policeman might be afraid
of the Club in general.

I mean, I am.

What would it take for you not
to be afraid? What can I do?

Now, listen, Mr. Hanson,
I intend to ask questions.

Then ask your damn questions.

Now this was a hit and run,

and given the road, it
was probably a member,

and perhaps the driver didn't
even know he'd struck anything.

Everybody in this country has
been drunk since its inception.

I don't think I've ever
even seen a sober driver.

Shall we have some tea?

Is there much gambling
here, Mr. Hanson?

You're on very dangerous ground.

There are cards that are played.

Debts accumulated.

There are card rooms,
they're private.


We have guest accommodations.

Do studio men and the
producers have meetings here?

Why am I talking to you?

Because you don't
know who hired me.

Well, name the thing
that most intrigues you,

perhaps we could
conclude our chat.

There is the possibility
that the dead man

was not Nico Peterson.

His sister was shown his corpse
the next day at the morgue

and expressed no doubts.

Where could I find his sister?

Ask the police.

Why do you raise the possibility
that Peterson is alive,

when I so clearly saw him dead?

Someone may have seen him
recently in the street.

And where was this,
uh, supposedly?

I can't tell you.

Goodbye, Mr. Marlowe.

I'm sorry that it was ultimately
uninteresting to talk to you.

Ah, but I do like this
thing that you have

about not being afraid,
when you should be.

I'll see myself out.

♪ Sometimes it seems ♪

♪ A part of the sin... ♪

You're the most
beautiful woman in town.

A star.

♪ Sometimes it seems ♪

My, my! You're not a regular.

Well, not yet anyway.

They do like to
keep it exclusive.

Yeah, it seems that way.

Try me at the
Cabana, Venice Beach.

Excuse me?

Try me at the
Cabana, Venice Beach.

Ask for Lynn, Lynn Peterson.

- You're Nico's sister.
- Sir?


♪ Learn to play ♪

Lynn, I'm not sure if
it's an N, or an E.

With an X if she works here.

There you go.

Robe's in the cabinet,
and no monkey business.

I'll try not to.

♪ Kindly fade away ♪

- Thank you.
- You're welcome.

Here he is.

Mr. Hanson sends his apologies,

Lynn Peterson's been detained.

Oh, I'm, uh, I'm
sorry to hear that.

Is that, uh, Lynn with an X?

Ah, fuck it.

I'm getting too old for this.

Are you keeping evil company?

More often than not.

Well, then, you'd
better be a good boy,

because you're going to
meet Dorothy Quincannon

at The Garden of
Allah Hotel at 3:00.

That's in 20 minutes.
Dorothy Quincannon.

Did you come for the
film stars, Hilda?

I came to bloody be one.


First of all, you have
to boil the water,

now is that water boiled?

- Yes, ma'am.
- And then scald the teapot.

- Give it a good scalding.
- Alright.

Put in one teaspoon per
cup, then one for the pot

and then leave it to
draw for three minutes.

Think of a soft
boiled egg, darling,

three minutes, no more, no less

and then you're ready to
pour, have you got that?

Y... yes, ma'am.

When you make tea, make tea.

When you make water, make water.


I... I don't think he got it.

Did you?

You lifted it from Joyce, ma'am.

Uh-ho, and he lifted
it from somewhere else,

shitty little man that he is.

Never a day's work in his life.

Yeah, apart from the books.

Terrible little syphilitic.

Tricked an American,

sometimes that's
all you have to do.

Is that what you did?

I've tricked any
number of Americans,

including playing
pagan princesses,

Elizabeth of England,
ruined widows

and any number of flash-eyed
barefoot peasant girls.

There's nothing to
it, all you need

are regular features
and the ability to read.

Oh, I very much doubt that.

I spoke with my daughter.

Surprisingly, she's not at all
interested in getting a divorce.

- She loves her husband.
- No.

But the arrangement suits her.

Alcohol, waitresses
and her money.

My money.

She hired you to find
another swine, didn't she?

Nico Peterson, who
doesn't want to be found.

You learned all of
this from her, yeah?

Ah! I want that tea strong
enough to trot a mouse on.

Fine, done, you can go
now, I will be mother.

Thank you, ma'am.

I have also had the pleasure
of Mr. Peterson's company,

he was proposing
certain investments.

In the equitation
business, I presume.

Whatever business,
I wasn't interested.

But my daughter cannot help

but want what she
presumes I have.

And you had Mr. Peterson?

That was a presumption,
Mr. Marlowe.

An understandable one.

I'm sure my daughter's
paying you handsomely.

I can't talk to you about
your daughter's business.

What business do you think there
is in my family that isn't mine?

If she thought I wanted
you, she'd have you too.

Mm. Perhaps she already has.

I can only say it again,
I'm not in a position

to discuss your daughter's
business with you.

You're a proud stubborn
man, Mr. Marlowe.

I'm just an ordinary Joe

trying to earn a buck
and stay out of jail.

Clare's father drove his
car off a cliff in La Jolla

before she was even born.

He was in the oil
business, very successful,

but he couldn't hide
from the black dog.

It's the one thing that
frightens me, Mr. Marlowe.

That hound, it runs in families.

You're afraid she's unstable?

Oh, I know she is.

So be careful, Mr. Marlowe,

she has this burning
need for a father figure.

You see, I had to pretend

that she was my niece
all those years.

My advisers thought
that, uh, a daughter...

would age me.

What advisers?

You've met the soon to
be Ambassador to England.

Mr. O'Reilly.

And maybe he advised me wrongly,

but I had to listen
all those years.

He even bought a studio,

said it was to
advance my career,

but it did no harm
to his bank balance.

So, my daughter had
to be my niece...

until at last even I
had to face the fact.

The fact?

That my game was up, it
had been for some time.

No more barefoot colleens,
no more Ruritanian queens.

I have more money than
the Queen of Sheba,

and I'm a very, very,
very happy has-been.

You mean a celluloid
legend, surely.

The key to Hollywood,
Mr. Marlowe,

is knowing when your game is up.

Take the money and run,
or stay, if you want.

But at least take the money.

I had another investigator
on Mr. Peterson's case,

a shamus, called Seamus,
if you can believe.

What did he find?

That besides being prop
master at Pacific Pictures,

Nico was also a wannabe
agent with the client of one,

Miss Amanda Toxteth.

So you see, Mr. Marlowe, my
daughter wasn't the only one

spreading her legs for him.

So, if you find Mr. Peterson,
come to me before...

Where would I find Miss Toxteth?

Don't know, some god-awful
B picture I suppose.

- Ma'am.
- Wait. How dare you?

I'm a little confused,
I've already been paid.

Cut! Cut! Cut!

I need to see the
face, the face,

I need to see the face.

Ama... Amanda, uh,
camera's over there,

I need you to look
at the camera.

Car rolls up, you look
at the cameras, okay?

Thank you. Lunch.

I can take this off, right?

Yes. After lunch.

Believe me, I look better
without the war paint.

Thanks for seeing
me, Miss Toxteth.

Call me Mandy.
You're a detective?

I'm more harmless than I look.

That must be exciting,
being a detective.

I can hardly contain myself.

Oh, well, don't contain
yourself on my account.

Nico Peterson was
your agent, yes?

Well, he got me some work...

"Riders of the Red
Dawn," did you see it?

- Mm, not yet, no.
- Well, it's gone now.

Joel McCrea was supposed to be
in it, but something happened.

I play the rancher's wife,
who makes eyes at an Indian,

and the Indian gets hanged.

I'll catch it when
it comes round again.

Acting seems to be going
well, Miss Toxteth.

You're sweet.

Actually, my mother says I
should fuck more producers.

What do you think?

I think your mother
is gravely mistaken.

What can you tell me
about Nico Peterson?

How deeply should my
account be detailed?

Well, when did you last see him?

I guess a week before he died.

He was trying to get
back into my good graces.

- He was a womanizer, yes?
- That's a tricky question.

Nico liked the
conquest, not the women.

He'd hardly touch you
after he'd had you.

That's a particular kind of man.

Some girls say
handsome men are cold,

that's normally just
what you say to ugly men

to make them feel better,
but... Nico was cold.

Nico had girlfriends,
but he didn't have

girls who were friends.

Do you know any of
his other girlfriends?

Clare Quincannon
supposedly fell for him.

The blonde with the
terrible mother.

And the mother's story,
kept by the Ambassador.

He even bought this
studio for her.

I hear it's pure slavery.

Did Nico have anything
to do with Mexico,

business out of Mexico?

There's only one
business out of Mexico,

don't be a sweet chump.

When he had money that was why,
and probably the only reason

anybody would look for
him, owed money or a fix.

What did he drive, Mister?

- Who?
- Nico Peterson.

Well, whatever he drove,
he ain't parking it here.

You again?

It's alright, I'm
a friend of Nico's.

- Philip Marlowe.
- You're much too persistent.

- I'm trying to find Nico.
- He's dead.

Wait a minute. Are
you so sure of that?

I've been hired to look into
your brother's disappearance.

He hasn't disappeared, he's
in a jar on a marble shelf.

I had to buy it myself.

You saw it, too,
should have known.

What if I told you
he might be alive?

I don't believe in
fairy tales, mister.

I saw his body on the
gurney at the place.

So it wasn't at the
club on the roadway.

I did everything I had to.

It couldn't have
been easy seeing him.

Wasn't much fun. And what's
Floyd got against you?

Why I wanted to meet, and
if you're afraid of him

or anything, we have to talk.

I'm not afraid of anything.

- What's in the book?
- Words.

No dope?

Just words, it's a
book about words.

- Nico was good with words.
- You say you saw his body?

Yeah. And then the cop tried
to make me in the hallway.

Probably has a daughter my age.

It's funny, whatever you do,

there is always someone
trying to make ya.


You know what, fuck Floyd,
fuck cops and fuck you.

I know the lady, she's
the punk's sister,

but who are you?

You are a big one.

I'm thinking of
renting the place.

Donde esta Serena?

Who's Serena?

If you know my brother,
he probably dumped her.

Where's Serena?

- Who's Serena?
- My brother is dead...

Who's Serena?

You take us to her

or you'll see what happens.


Well, well, what
have we got here?

Boss wants a word.

- And who might you be big guy?
- Cedric, big guy.

Your boss's name?

Oh, he's a little
guy, Lou Hendricks.

Well, well...

Get up.

♪ Down the ol' big sea wave ♪

♪ I found a new baby ♪

♪ A little baby ♪♪

The Lou Hendricks.

Finally, I need no introduction.

I'm a generic name, Cedric,
an eponymous trademark.

You're a criminal.

Businessman and philanthropist.

I could use a few bucks,
take me away from all this.

I was hoping you could use
a few bucks, Mr. Marlowe,

but alas, it will
be transactional,

not philanthropic.

Well, what was the
words you wanted?

I can only hope it is
not a past participle.

Where's home, Mr. Marlowe?

Where the heart is,
but you know that.

No, I mean your
actual, quotidian home.

26, Maple Boulevard.

Let's take Mr. Marlowe to
his quotidian home, Cedric.

The Elements of Style
by William Strunk Jr.

A participle phrase at the
beginning of a sentence

must refer to the
grammatical subject.

Walking slowly down the
road, he saw a woman

accompanied by two children.

If you give any trouble...

he will drop you like a
bad grammatical habit.

Do you need to dress
that? Cedric, your do-rag.

You mean my pocket
square, Mr. Hendricks?

Some days, Cedric, I wish I'd
left you where I found you.

- Give me the goddam thing.
- Thank you.

I hear, Mr. Marlowe, and
from various connections,

that you are
looking for someone.

- We're all looking for someone.
- Oh, that's very sad.

Tell me who I'm looking for.

Let me guess, two
Mexes who are looking

for a broad named Serena.

Serena, a femme of the most
delicate shape imaginable,

last seen in the arms
of one Nico Peterson.

- Does that name ring a bell?
- A tinkle.

I don't need you
to hear a tinkle,

I need you to hear
a sonorous bell

with a hunchback
swinging from it,

gong-a-dong-a-dong, not
a tinkle, Mr. Marlowe.

Who was chasing
Peterson's sister?

Two beaners, I hear.

Maladroits from sunnier
climes, the land of banana

and tarantula, who were
also, quite separately,

and I should like
you to notice that,

looking for her brother.

I would very much appreciate
a word with our friend Nico,

if you find him
and I will pay you.

Tell me what Nico
was involved in

and why he faked
his death and ran.

Nico, in the end, had to
avoid everybody, I think.

But I will tell you that he
used to run errands for me,

down in the land
of the sombrero,

the serape and the mule.

His Spanish was
good, he was dark

in a Latin lover kind of way.

He was useful in Mexico.

Is it bananas or tarantulas
you import, Mr. Hendricks?


I'm entirely composed
of tarantulas.

- And me afraid of spiders.
- Nico worked for me.

He would bring me items
so hard to come by up here

where the laws are so strict.

At the time of his
supposed death,

he was in possession
of some of those items.

And these items are?

There are items and items

and one item that related
to the said items.

Why don't we take a ride
to the Corbata Club?

Maybe he stashed
the items there.

Mr. Marlowe, people will talk.

When I go, I go into
the back entrance.

Please leave that remark alone.

- Wouldn't touch it.
- I grease the Corbata.

Beneath this fine Charvet shirt

there is nothing but grease.

Peterson would've needed help,
he would've needed a body.

It has conspiracy
written all over it,

I don't think Nico went to
a graveyard with a shovel

and a lamp looking for a stiff
to fit his tuxedo, do you?

The club was in
on the conspiracy,

but what's the club's interest?

Ask your client.

I think you'll keep
looking for Peterson,

client or not, because
you can't stop.

But I'll pay you a thousand
just to sweeten the pot.

No. Cedric, uh, next
street on the right.

Pull over, please.

It would be wise to
reconsider, Mr. Marlowe.

Stop anywhere here, Cedric.

26, Maple Boulevard,

and I am not so smart
as they think I am.

- You're welcome to come inside.
- They give you back your badge?

No, I'm here to
report a kidnapping.

If you find him, I will know,
and then I'll come get him.

And when that happens, don't
try to stand in the way.

Thanks, Cedric.

So two Mexes came out
of nowhere and kidnapped

this broad, is that
what you're telling me?

That's what I'm telling
you, that and that

she turns tricks
at the Corbata Club

and identified as her brother a
stiff who wasn't Nico Peterson.

Yeah, there are certain things
I'm just not gonna hear.

They were looking
for another broad,

someone they called Serena.

I'm not here.

His sister was kidnapped.

You don't put it in the system,
I'll go and make a report.

I'll go on the record,
I'll spill that Peterson

wasn't Peterson, and that's
not news, that's a feature.

I can never remember which
newspaper hates the mayor most.

This will all go okay if you
don't manipulate me, okay?

What we do, we get
you out of here,

I take a call from
an anonymous citizen

who saw her put in the car.

And you, play nice, or I'll put
you at the scene as a suspect.

It ain't what happened,
it's what I type.


I'll give your pal Bernie
Ohls the dope off the record.

Sheriff's detectives, I
can start everybody looking

for her and they'll look hard.

Is this good enough for you?

- They took my .38.
- Yeah.

There's your .38, if someone
gets killed with your .38,

you still have a .38.

If they ever make us record
serial numbers, it'll be fucked.


- Detective Bernie Ohls.
- Wait in the car, Arthur.

- Get us a drink, Marlowe.
- Scotch on the rocks.

- She's being looked for?
- City, Sheriffs, everybody.

Not a peep out of the brass.

Once a bulletin goes
out nobody can kill her,

all car alert for Lynn Peterson.

Mexicans driving some
sort of Tijuana spray job.

She'll get no different
than anybody else.

Just really look
for her, I lost her.

When you're getting
to be an old timer,

it's okay to get out alive.

I rely on you to give me
good example, Marlowe.

Who's the frail across the way?

Nothing frail about her, Bernie.

Well, lay low and, uh,
consider another profession.

- Goodnight, miss.
- Goodnight, detective.


- Who hurt you?
- Mexicans looking for Peterson.

- What were they looking for?
- For God's sakes, you tell me.

- Coat?
- Thank you.

One could live in
a house like this

and so much would fall away.

That's how the other half
lives and we do pretty good.

Clare, you haven't once told
me why you really want Nico.

Amanda Toxteth
claims that he wasn't

especially thoughtful
in the bedroom.

Poor Amanda, she
played a tough game.

Tell me about it.

There's not one studio in
this town that's run by men

who were looked at twice before
they had their first million.

If women never liked
you when you were poor,

that must twist you all up.

So they call you forth for
refreshing acts of humiliation.

Who did you learn this
from? The Ambassador?

Mm, the Ambassador got
to town already loaded...

and he'll be even richer when he
leaves, just without my mother.

Your mother also wanted Nico.

She tried to hire you too?

She always wants
what I want or have.

You mean Nico?

Maybe, or maybe she's just
afraid that you'll make love

to me before you find out
just how terrible I am.

That's a terrible idea.

- Why?
- Why?

Because I'm in your employ,
because you're half my age.

Because you're so beautiful
I'd lose my bearings.

What can we do then,
if we can't do that?

We can dance.

I spent six years with the nuns,

just so my mother could
be a flash-eyed colleen

with her hands on her hips.

She had to play the
virgin for 15 years, gosh.

Although you surrender in
each picture, naturally.

Then all the while,
the ambassador

was advising her financially.

Has he ever advised
you financially?

You mean has he ever touched me?

Suppose I do.

Maybe that's the wrong question.

- Oh!
- Pardon me.

You're a terrible dancer.

I'm a worse lover.

You expect me to believe that?

- The dance is good.
- For now.

I have to be somewhere.

Should I come back here
after? Stay over as friends?

That never works, Clare.

I don't intend it to.


A puzzle has many pieces.

I don't know exactly
what you're gonna find...

you might find a dragon
and have to kill it.

- Fair enough.
- Mm.

- Goodnight, Philip Marlowe.
- 'Night.

♪ At the moon ♪

♪ But I'll be seeing you ♪

♪ I'll be seeing you ♪♪

- Is the ambassador here?
- Yes, ma'am.

So do we call you
ambassador now?

Clare, how are you?
It's good to see you.

- Your mother just left.
- What did she want?

- Don't ask.
- So it didn't go well?

Where's your
camera, Mr. Marlowe?

I don't have one.

Mm, do you have any idea

how much that photo
would've been worth?

- Are they breaking any laws?
- Only the laws of attraction.

I, for one, would pay
big money for an account

of all of their
terms of endearment.

He's old enough
to be her father.


But then, so are you.

There goes Bernie Ohls.

Arthur ran the number plate
of your visitor last night.


That car belongs to
Dorothy Quincannon.

- So?
- So?

Of all the people in Los Angeles
who you do not fuck with,

the new ambassador who
opened the Pacific Studios

with bootleg money and his
mistress are top of the list!

Everybody's better
connected than us.

Ever wonder what
the attraction was?

What, the mother
or the daughter?

Maybe both.

You are a very
sick man, Marlowe.

LAPD found Lynn Peterson.

- Where is she?
- Encino.

She'll wait till we get there.

Was she, um, was she
shot with my gun?


No, she wasn't shot.

Deep continuous transverse wound

to the anterior
triangles of the neck,

cutting both venous and
arterial structures.

Injuries not
compatible with life.

That means her throat was cut.

That was after the
lit cigarettes,

the knuckle dusters,
the knife, the rape.

Oh, my God.

Guys, you're not
gonna like this.

- Hey, you!
- Yeah?

That's the sister of the man
you identified two weeks ago

who was killed outside
the Corbata Club.

His head was squashed
like a pumpkin.

Were you aware of that?

Make a note of it
in your report, doc.

- I just do the bodies.
- Just make a note of it.

- Thank you, Bernie.
- Nobody lives forever.

When things get down and dirty,
rank and file don't like it.

- Not even in county.
- At last, Bernie.

Joe? Come with us.

The blue car came
in an hour ago,

the two suspects
from Tijuana got out.

- That's the re-spray.
- Yep. Who's that?

That's the Bentley
of Mr. Lou Hendricks.

- The Lou Hendricks.
- The same.

So he's a member,
like the Mexicans.

I want you to go
after these fucks

like a rat terrier in a closet.

I don't wanna know
anything about it.

Ah, come on, Bernie,
do it yourself.

I still have a
pension, you don't.

Fair enough.

We own Bay Canyon, we'll
block the roads in and out.

Give me the glasses.

- Get down that rat hole.
- How?

- Doesn't matter how.
- Fair enough.

Come on, Joe, let's do this.

- You look like shit.
- Fair enough.

Just so you know, the real shit
doesn't go down in there until

the early hours, so once you're
in, you gotta wait and wait.

Fair enough.

And remember, you're the
guy who can ID the Mexicans,

so watch your corners.

Fair enough.

Hey, will this
get my badge back?

Is that what you want?

You mind?

- Otis!
- Yes, ma'am?

- I'll be right down.
- Yes, ma'am.

You're a long, long way
from Tipperary, Dorothy.

What is this called?

It's called a Miguel
Finn, a Mickey Finn.

Girls, boys, heroin, coke.

I've given it some thought,

and I'd like to fill
out an application.

Not polite.

Maybe because I don't feel
polite this fine evening.

Well, let's have a
drink, talk about it.

- You heard about Lynn Peterson?
- Tragic thing.

What if I told you that
the police won't touch you,

but they're expecting
that I will.

I have nothing to do with Lynn
Peterson or Nico Peterson.

This is Los Angeles,
people are on the make.

Why were they here on the make?

His sister was a Cabana
whore with a junk habit,

she worked for
you, you're a pimp.

No, I'm not, I don't control
the place, I'm not the boss.

So who is?

Dorothy Quincannon?
The Ambassador?

How little you
know, Mr. Marlowe.

I do know a guy
named Lou Hendricks.

- You might know him too.
- His people call my people.

I'm going down the
rabbit hole, Floyd,

I might even take you with me.

We'll need that drink then.

We can join Lou
Hendricks down below.

Beating you round the walls
doesn't get me much does it?

- Must be the military training.
- Huh?

- Okay, I'll have that drink.
- It's, uh, very difficult.

To balance your many obligations
to the various interests

of all the people,
powerful people.

Discretion is a thing
that we provide.

And you take
protection in return.

Very, very serious
protection, Mr. Marlowe.

Now you will know the
full extent of it.

I appreciate your
difficulties, Mr. Hanson.

It's difficult to run a whore
house and not have anyone know

it is one... especially
when you're also

in the narcotics business.

There's an awful lot
you don't understand.

- About narcotics?
- About management.

The Corbata Club investors
leave me alone to,

to manage the place.

Now, I don't trouble them
when difficulties arise,

unless the difficulties
are, how shall we say,

hard for me to deal with alone.

Like the whore who
won't play ball,

the girl or a boy who aren't
as interested as you'd like.

Or the snoop who's
far too interested.

You give them a
little something?

Are you alright, Mr. Marlowe?

I would've thought you'd be a
man who could hold his liquor.

Seems I was wrong.

As you go to sleep, I
want you to consider...

the whereabouts of Nico
Peterson were never the issue,

it was the whereabouts of what
Nico had in his possession.

We'll get to the bottom of
those issues without your help.

From everything I hear, you
were never a team player,

never went along to get along
and see where it gets you?

You're dying, alone.

♪ I'll be seeing you ♪

♪ In all the ol'
familiar places ♪

♪ That this heart
of mine embraces ♪

♪ All day through ♪

♪ In that small cafe ♪

♪ Across the way ♪

♪ The children's carousel ♪

♪ The chestnut tress ♪

♪ The wishing well ♪

♪ I'll be seeing you ♪

♪ In every lovely summer's day ♪

♪ In everything
that's light and gay ♪

♪ I'll always think
of you that way ♪

♪ I'll find you in
the morning sun ♪

♪ And when the night is new ♪

♪ I'll be looking
at the moon ♪

♪ But I'll be seeing you ♪

- You alright?
- Yeah, I'll be here.


You're awake?

- This must be yours.
- You didn't drink it?

I remembered what happened
to Alice in Wonderland

when she bit the mushroom.

- You pretended.
- And you?

Should've known, who offers
the wheels a cocktail?

Lou Hendricks?

They're working
him over real bad.

That's him shackled
up inside I guess?

They'll have him
speaking Greek soon.

Promise you never do that to me.

If I help you out of here...

will you help me?

Fuck yeah.

Crank up the volume.

Two dead boys from Tijuana.

See where this gets ya?

You're making this
hard for me, Lou.

Much too hard.

What else do you do
for Lou Hendricks?

Too damn much if you ask me.


Oh, righteous.

Hey, we both go in there...

we're both coming
out alive, yeah?

Agreed, Mr. Marlowe.

I'm getting awfully
sick of this tune.

Where is she?

Where is who?

The Chiquita bitch!

The one that you call Serena!

I already told you, Nico
had his way with her.

Well, what do you do with this?

It's just for shaving.

Ear, nose and throat jobs, huh?

I have people who
do that for me.

Oh, do you? Oh, so do I!

So do I!

- Frederick!
- Yeah!

Give him an ear and nose and
throat job, in that order.

Make him tell us
where Serena is.

Not Serena!

The Serena!

The Serena?

The Serena Ornamental
over there!

A plaster mermaid?

Serena's a fucking mermaid?

You gotta work on your Spanish!


Say this in Spanish!


Cedric, catch it!


Yes, boss.

Was it beyond your capabilities
to save the fucking mermaid?

Sorry, boss.

You just broke the
Hendricks bank!

Sorry, boss.

It'll take you years
to pay me back!

Mr. Hendricks...

that's not fair.

As the progeny of
sharecroppers, Cedric,

you should know life isn't fair!

You're right.

Life isn't fair.

I expected to see
grease, didn't you?

Grease and tarantulas.

But instead, he's entirely
made of soft tissue.

Go figure.

Shall we?

♪ I've found a new baby ♪

♪ Down the ol' big sea wave ♪

♪ I've found a new baby ♪

♪ A new baby ♪

♪ Oh ♪

What will I find inside?

Some dead bodies.

How many?

I forgot to count.

Uh, Lou Hendricks.

Floyd Hanson, two
gentlemen from Tijuana.

And one busted mermaid.

A mermaid?

The Serena Ornamental.

Packed with Mexican powder.

Now, very wet.

And you are?

I'm his wheels.


So what now, Cedric?

We both spilled some
significant blood.

So we should stick together.

I'll be your driver
for the moment.

Cedric, I have my own wheels.

Of course you do...

but consider the parking.

Well, well...

if it isn't Mr. Nico Peterson.


you're not dead.

You're quite the detective.

What do you want?

You've been looking into the
circumstances of my demise.

My determination for
some time has been that

reports of your death
were greatly exaggerated.

I'll say.

But not your sisters.

My half-sister's, from my
fathers wild days in Acapulco.

So you won't be
spilling any tears?

She is dead, I know.

She did not die pleasantly.

I couldn't help that.

You could help yourself though.

Well, I happen to have
something everybody wants.

More dope?

Much better than dope.

You are all too much for me.

All I am is a working stiff.

I need to get to Clare.

I will do everything in
my power to put you both

together and never
see any of you again.

Then give her a message
from me, will you?

Tell her, I'll meet her in
the studio prop house, tonight

and I'll have the goods
on the ambassador.

What have you got on him?

Just give her the
message, Marlowe.

There's a few things
I want cleared up

before we decide anything.

What do you wanna know?

The body outside
the Corbata Club.

A musician who worked the club.

- Did you kill him?
- No.

- Did you kill him?
- No.


He looked like me, I like
people who look like me.

What does Dorothy
Quincannon want from you?

Well, maybe she wants to
fuck with the ambassador

who's maybe trying to fuck
her daughter, I don't know.

Put it together, Marlowe,
you're the detective.

Everyone wants something on
somebody else, it's all just...

blackmail in the end.

I'll be in the prop house...


Tell her I've got
what she wants.

I've just realized, this is
my mother's favorite table.

This is where the ambassador
advises us financially.

You've asked her along?

Yes, I felt I
needed some advice.

- Financial?
- More like professional.


My, my, my, it's Clare.

What a wonderful
surprise, Mr. Marlowe.

Tea, mother?


Let's hope he brewed it right.

- So a mouse can trot on it.
- So a mouse can trot on it.

You know I've so enjoyed
our separate meetings

that I felt the need for
us all to sit together.

What Mr. Marlowe means,
my dear, is that he thinks

he's too clever
for the both of us.

One of you hired me,
the other tried to,

so you both seem to
want the same thing.

Nico left you for
a girl, alright.

A plaster mermaid full
of Mexican powder.

That's disgusting.

A subject about which you
claim to know nothing, yes?

Why don't you cut to the chase?

And ask her why she hired you.

To find Nico Peterson.

Hiring a detective might just
be the best way to suggest...

she doesn't know where he is.

What do you think, mother?

I'm keeping him in
a shack in Rosarito?

Maybe closer.

Why don't you tell Mr. Marlowe
what you want with him?

Perhaps I am trying my best...

to save your reputation.

Well, maybe, it's the
other way around, mother.

You see, Mr. Marlowe...

her lover dumped her.

The Ambassador to England
wants done with tinsel town.

So she's playing the only
role left for her to play.

The femme fatale.

Her very own Medea.

Oh, well!

It's a role that
awaits us all, my dear.



You suspected one of us
would do this, but...

you just didn't know
which one, did you?

- Would've laid a dollar on you.
- Mm.

You've quite mastered
the technique

haven't you, Mr. Marlowe...

of upsetting the
women in your life?

There are no women in my life.

Well, then follow her.

She likes older men.

Don't worry...

I'll pay for the
mess, I always do.

Are you okay?

I don't care that I'm
less than you think I am.

I'm always less than
people think I am.

You're one of those
people who's just

lucky to be more than
we think you are.

I'll send you the balance
of what I owe you.

Maybe I can charge your mother?

- Together with a finder's fee.
- A what?

I found him, this afternoon.

Or rather, he found me.

I walked into my little
house and there he was.

- Mr. Nico Peterson.
- Where's he now?

He'll be waiting for you at the
prop house at Pacific Studios.

- 7:30 p.m.
- Why the prop house?

I was hoping you would tell me.



A car is more than a vehicle

Mr. Hendricks used to tell me.

It's a sealed confessional.

A repository of secrets.

And this city, devoted as it is

to the internal
combustion engine

is a city of motorized secrets.

You're waxing
philosophical, Cedric.

You have to forgive
me, Mr. Marlowe.

It's a habit I inherited
from my late employer.

He had a tendency to digress,
but you did say the prop house?

I did.

And I have to ask myself...

why the prop house?

And now you have to tell me,
Cedric, why the prop house?

Nico Peterson was moving
Lou Hendricks' product

through the prop
house for years.

And the product is
from Tijuana, hmm?

Hidden in a plaster raven,
the bust of Nefertiti.

A Virgin of Guadeloupe or a...

Serena Ornamental.

You see Mr. Hitchcock, who
could've worked wonders

for Pacific Pictures, but
is sadly on his way to MGM.

Mr. Hitchcock,
like Mr. Hendricks,

always liked to keep
the script to himself.

But many conversations,

overheard from this here
front seat, enabled me to do

what Mr. Hitchcock always
managed so adroitly...

to work out the plot.

It was never really
about a mermaid.

It was always about the contents

of a certain briefcase,

which could bring a
whole studio down.



You're on your own?

Did you want the full
auction house, Nico?

Me, my mother...

Floyd Hanson, Lou Hendricks?

That would be difficult,
two of them are dead.

Well, you're gonna have to
start the bidding with me.

What I've got here
is worth a fortune.


You better show me then.

All of the records...

of the heroin which was
flowing through his studio.

It's more than enough to ruin
the ambassador's reputation,

and the reputation
of Pacific Pictures.

Nico Peterson went missing

with one Serena Ornamental
and one handmade briefcase

packed with records of
every dope transaction

since he and Lou Hendricks
started business.

He was trying to
sell this information

to anyone he could find.

I'm a book-keeper,
darling, a good one.

Import, export, I kept
every transaction.

You're more than a
book-keeper, Nico.

You'd sell tickets
to the gates of hell.

Maybe that's why you like me.

I never liked you, Nico.

Do you trust me
that little, Clare?

You know how it is
these days, Nico.

Nobody trusts anyone.

What... what was
that sound, Clare?

My mother's gun.

I found it in her boudoir.

Ah, fuck!

I'm so bad with these.

Why are you doing this?

You've always played
too low, Nico.

Take a lesson from me and
go straight to the top.

That's better.


I'm burning your books, Nico.