The Brasher Doubloon (1947)
The legendary coin and some French coins
The 1947 Twentieth Century Fox film "The Brasher Doubloon" is about the theft of a very rare coin.
The coin counterfeiting sub-plot of the novel was not used in this film.
Ephraim Brasher who wanted to get a contract to operate the mint for the new United States government.
They are worth more now, one sold for $4,500,000 in January 2014.
The coin used as a background in the film titles and as a prop is a replica;
supposedly many were made over the years.
2. Detective Philip Marlowe drives up to this creepy house
Marlowe meets Merle Davis, secretary and general assistant to wealthy Mrs. Murdock.
He has been hired out of the telephone book to find a rare coin belonging to Mrs. Murdock.
3. Marlowe meets Merle
Merle has some problems of her own, including being treated badly by her employer.
4. Marlowe meets Mrs. Murdock
Mrs. Murdock is a nasty wealthy woman who hires Marlowe to find a missing rare coin.
The coin belonged to Mrs. Murdock's late husband and disappeared from a safe,
which only she, Merle, and her wastrel son Leslie had access to.
Mrs. Murdock denies that her son took the coin.
was selling her coin as someone offered it to him.
"It's worth at least $10,000".
5. Murdock coin collection tray
The coin labels are for French coins (except for the Brasher Doubloon) and read:
Hercules 1873 / 5 Francs
Brasher Doubloon 1797
Louis Phillippe 1844 / 1 Franc
Napoleon III 1856 / Dix Centimes
Republique FR 1881 / 5 Francs
He looks in the telephone directory.
6. Marlowe looks in a telephone directory
Marlowe goes to visit the dealer, whose office is in downtown Los Angeles.
7. Marlowe approaches the office door
There is nice old fashioned lettering on the door.
8. Coin dealer with magnifying glass
Moringstar tells Marlowe a little about the Brasher Doubloon, including that the maker
and seven owners met unhappy ends.
Oh, yes the Brasher Doubloon.
An early American coin, extremely interesting and valuable.
Because it's rare. And because it has a romantic and violent history.
It has? I hadn't heard.
The man who coined it was murdered and robbed through the treachery of a female.
And since then at least seven other owners of the coin have come to abrupt unhappy ends.
Wouldn't that tend to drag down the price a little?
Oh, no! On the contrary, a history of violence attached to an art object makes the more
frantic type of collector all the more eager to own it.
9. Coin dealer's office
Interesting view of a 1940's coin dealer's office and shop.
These kind of offices existed until the 1960's in large cities.
which he uses to claim a small package.
He goes to a telephone booth to open the package and finds the coin.
10. Marlowe in telephone booth after finding coin
Here we get a view of both sides of the replica prop coin used in the film.
The coin has an eagle on one side and a mountain on the other side.
11. Brasher Doubloon coin eagle side
12. Brasher Doubloon coin mountain side
Marlowe returns to the dealer's office and finds the dealer dead and his shop ransacked.
13. Coin dealer on floor
Marlowe contacts Mrs. Murdock who tells him that her coin has been returned.
She has realized that her son stole the coin.
14. A closer view of the Brasher Doubloon
Mrs. Murdock then orders Merle to get the coin from Marlowe, "use what you've got, child".
Vannier explains that he is a coin collector and that the coin is his.
Vannier tries using a gun on Marlowe.
15. Vannier wants the coin
Marlowe overpowers and takes the gun from Vannier.
This character appears to be similar to the Peter Lorre character in "The Maltese Falcon".
16. Pipe tobacco case storage
Would this cause "tobacco toning"?
She explains that Vannier was blackmailing Mrs. Murdock about something.
17. Merle is wearing a nice dress
Merle starts working on Marlowe to get the coin.
18. Merle tries to get the coin one way
This doesn't work with Marlowe, and she tries another way.
19. Merle tries another way
Marlowe gets the gun away from Merle and then leaves.
The take him to their hangout for an "enhanced interrogation",
20. Marlowe's view of the gangsters
Marlowe escapes from the gangsters, finds Merle, and they head for Vannier's apartment.
The pair search the apartment and find Vannier's body, a small coin collection.
21. Marlowe finds Vannier's coin collection tray
They also find a roll of film.
22. Leslie Murdock arrives
He is wearing the hairstyle and suit favored by late 1940's hipsters.
The police arrive and they have brought the gangsters with them.
23. The gangsters at Marlowe's apartment
Mrs. Murdock then arrives and demands her coin.
Vannier had been photographing the Pasadena Rose Parade, he accidently filmed Mrs. Murdock
pushing her husband out a window, and has been blackmailing her ever since.
24. Merle gets her man
25. The End
George Montgomery as Philip Marlowe
Nancy Guild as Merle Davis
Conrad Janis as Leslie Murdock
Florence Bates as Mrs. Elizabeth Murdock
Marvin Miller as Vince Blair
Writers: Dorothy Bennett, Leonard Praskins, Raymond Chandler (novel)