The Big Sleep
Directed by Howard Hawks
#189 of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Marlowe: Too many people told me to stop.
Movies have taken a back seat to life lately and when life rears its ugly head there is nobody better than Bogart for a little boost. This is a fun but perplexing adaptation of the Raymond Chandler novel.
Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) is hired by wealthy General Sternwood to investigate a blackmail plot against his daughter Carmen (Martha Vickers). Sternwood’s other daughter Vivian Rutledge (Lauren Bacall) attempts to keep him off the case. Not to be deterred, Marlowe comes across a series of murders and is lucky to escape with his own life. With Elisha Cook, Jr. as a would-be informant.
The Big Sleep has a notoriously complicated plot, even for a film noir. It is so complicated, in fact, that when writers William Faulkner and Leigh Brackett asked Chandler who killed a chauffeur in love with Carmen, even Chandler couldn’t figure it out. I’m hazy on most of the story. Despite the fantastic repartee between Bogart and Bacall, this detracts a bit from my enjoyment of the film. Nevertheless, it is well worth seeing. It is probably the only film in which Bogart plays a James Bond like sex symbol, with all the girls he meets swooning (see the second clip).
Clip – Dorothy Malone and Humphrey Bogart get to know each other in a bookstore