I recently saw this at the 2008 Palm Springs Film Noir Festival. Popular actor Robert Montgomery branches out into directing in this Film Noir from 1947 with mixed results. Using a subjective camera technique, Montgemery stars as detective Phillip Marlowe in a film shot from Marlowes point of view and is rarely on screen himself except for occasional mirror reflections and in a few scenes where he relates the story directly to the camera. This POV technique for an entire film can be demanding on the actors who talk to a disembodied camera instead of an actor and can wear thin on an audience after a while but although I did like the film, I can see why others may not. Based on the the Raymond Chandler novel with a screenplay by Steve Fisher who enjoyed success in the Film Noir genre with several film screenplays it has some good witty lines. The film begins with Christmas carols and the opening credits on Chrismas cards and it does take place on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day but that's the only thing Christmasy about it. It wasn't even released for Christmas and make it's debut in theaters in late January of 1947. Marlowe is set to give up his private eye career and become a writer instead and submits his first manuscript to an agency specializing in pulp fiction and horror stories. Adrienne Fromsett (Audrey Totter) isn't interested in Marlowe's literary talents and instead want to hire him to find out what happened to the missing estranged wife of her boss Derace Kingsby (Leon Ames). Totter's expressions, emotions, wit and beauty make a strong camera presence carry the film. Tom Tully as Cpt. Kane and Lloyd Nolan as Lt. DeGarmot make an excellent good cop-bad cop combination. Dick Simmons as Chris Lavery is excellent in a small role and Jayne Meadows as the mysterious Mildred Haveland is superb in her rapid-fire delivery. Meadows herself was on hand for the film's screening at the festival and did a Q&A for the audience after the screening in which she said she had never seen the film before even when it was first released. Beautiful blonde bit part actress Lila Leeds was only 18 years old when this was filmed in May of 1946 and was probably being groomed by MGM as the next Marilyn Monroe but in 1948 she was arrested along with Robert Mitchum for marijuana possession and as a community service part of her sentence she was given a staring role in the 1949 anti-drug film "Wild Weed." It would be her only starring role and at age 21 her film career was over. Look for great costumes on the actresses in this film by noted designer Irene. There are no location shots in this film and we never make to the lake and only learn of events that happen up there. It's an all-around strange film but a great cast and I would give it a 7.5 out of 10 and recommend it.