Don, you make a good point about life of the actor intersecting with the material, but I don't think Farewell My Lovely supports the intersection. The story is not well told and leans too much on nostalgia. The film is more about nostalgia than crime or detection. Instead of a utilitarian past like in Chinatown we get a pictorial past like in The Sting. More story, all those pages they cut from the novel, was needed to put Mitchum through more paces before the world-weariness is justified. Mrs. Grayle needs at least two more scenes. Certainly Charlotte Rampling was the best choice to play her. My god what a beautiful woman!
That having been said, I like the film and I'm glad to finally get a decent release in the USA even though it should have been a hi-def transfer on blu-ray.