MovieChat Forums > Murder, My Sweet (1944) Discussion > Dick Powell's tie (or piece of cloth) 'b...

Dick Powell's tie (or piece of cloth) 'belt?'


What was that tie, or piece of cloth (or whatever it was) "belt" around the waist of Dick Powell's pants in the scene in his apartment when Claire Trevor visits him?

It looked kind of goofy, and I didn't quite get the "why" of it -- unless the pants didn't have belt loops, and since he wasn't wearing suspenders (although he isn't seen wearing suspenders at any time in the film), he was temporarily holding them up with whatever he could tie around the waist...?

Strange.

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Yeah, I noticed that the two times I watched the film. I've never seen such a get-up anywhere else. It did appear to be some type of cloth.

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How odd.

Here's a fact that may make sense of it: You'll often see Hollywood dancing stars (especially Fred Astaire) using a silk scarf for a belt. Allegedly this made moving easier without spoiling the line of the suit in the way a stiff leather might.

This was Powell's attempt to move away from musicals, but perhaps it was an acting habit of his, rather than a character choice about Marlowe.

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Perhaps it was to show that Marlowe was a regular guy, not from high society like the Grayles. Remember how he declined having been to the Balboa Beach Club, saying he frequented the "drive in kind". I had this sense that Marlowe was from a rural area or from a less affluent area. The Depression was still on only a few years before.

"Two more swords and I'll be Queen of the Monkey People." Roseanne

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"Perhaps it was to show Marlowe was a regular guy, not from high society like the Grayles."

OK, Marlowe really was a regular guy, but...

How does wearing a tie or a piece of cloth to (temporarily) hold his pants up while in his apartment show this? That he couldn't afford a real belt?

I can't imagine he'd actually go out in public wearing that thing around his waist.

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I think he went a bit too far.

He didn't know that Mrs. Grayle was going to show up at his apartment.

"Two more swords and I'll be Queen of the Monkey People." Roseanne

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That crappy belt was a peice of rope,poor people couldn't even afford belts back then i guess. The Simpsons have a on-going joke with the bar tender MOE being so poor he has a rope belt hahaha.

That scene really cracks me up cause Dick Powell doesn't have a single muscle in his body. When Claire Trevor comes in she say's "hey you have a nice build"!! haha the guy doing the audio commentary on this movie points out how terrible Powell looks in his night shirt.

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Powell didn't look terrible, he just wasn't muscular. He had an average natural build which was enough for audiences back then. If they wanted muscles they would go to Tarzan or Victor Mature movies.
And that's not rope around his waist in the scene in his apartment. You can see when he turns around before Trevor is in the scene that is is something flat and shiny. At that point it looks like a very thin leather belt, but in profile it looks like something tied. Very strange.

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Good Answer!

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I never realized that was the 'why' of it for Fred. I had noticed it, but mostly noticed that his socks often matched his tie - I thought that was to draw attention to his amazing footwork.

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I always wondered about that because, in an earlier scene where he's being interrogated by Randall about Marriott's death, he's wearing what appears to be an ordinary leather belt.

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Hardly anyone uses these today, but once upon a time they were more common. It seems in keeping with the character.

The "belt" is actually several inches above the top of his trousers, so it does not appear to actually hold something up. The front seems to be longer and tuck down into his pants, as if there is a pouch or something there.

Yeah, my bet is a money belt.



"He was running around like a rooster in a barnyard full of ducks."--Pat Novak

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Only just saw the film this morning. Here's my take:

I simply understood it to be in lieu of a belt. He was in his apartment, after all, and had just had his laundry sent out. In my mind, there are two possibilities:

1) he had gotten his belts buffed up/treated, or whatever else, and had simply used the cloth tie in place of one.

2) he was inside, relaxing, and so might have felt a belt to be slightly restrictive, thus donning a looser, more lax accessory.

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The "belt" was a tie, first brought into film fashion by Fred Astaire. Astaire found a tie kept his pants up much better than a belt. I read somewhere that he wore a tie because it kept his pants up better than a tie, which makes sense anyway, given how slim Astaire was. So Powell was following Astaire's dress style.

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