The film was first screened on December 18, 1944 in Minneapolis, Minnesota with the title Farewell, My Lovely. It opened in New York City, however, on March 8, 1945, as Murder, My Sweet.
Dick Powell was previously known (1930s and early 1940s) for light comedies and musicals, so the casting of him as Chandler's hard-boiled private detective antihero was a surprise to audiences. The studio executives changed the title from Farewell, My Lovely because they believed audiences would think the film was a musical. Powell's performance is much debated by fans of Chandler and film noir; some think it too light and comic; others consider it the best interpretation of Philip Marlowe on film.