Dick Powell stars as Raymond Chandler's legendary private eye Philip Manlowe. When ex-convict "Moose" Malloy hires Manlowe to find his old girlfriend, Velma, the investigator gets involved in a lot more than just a missing person case. Manlowe obtains a photograph of Velma, but before he can start looking for her he gets a call from another client, Marriot, who needs something to buy back a stolen jade necklace from thieves. The missing necklace belongs to Mr. Grayle (Claire Trevor, the beautiful young wife of a much older, very wealthy man. The two cases become inexorably intertwined in this revolutionary crime film.