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February 17, 2012


The Big Sleep —The Movie


I was somewhat tired when I decided to watch Howard Hawk’s 1946 classic Film noir, The Big Sleep; starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. But after having finished reading Raymond Chandler’s murder-mystery whodunit novel just a few days ago and … since I said that I would follow up with a movie review, I went ahead and watched it anyway.

—Here you are sugar, buy yourself a cigar —said Marlowe, as he was giving a nice tip to the cute looking brunette and taxi driver that helped him tail a delivery car.
—If you can use me again sometime, call this number —replied her, as she was handing him her business card.
—Day and night? —asked Marlowe.
—Ah, night is better… I work during the day —she replied with a naughty grin on her face, as she was driving off.

My first impression was, is this it? You see, I had read a lot of incredibly positive reviews at IMDB, such that I had high hopes. The movie has been rated at 8.2 on a scale of 10 which is excellent by IMDB’s standards. However, instead of jumping in and writing a review immediately afterwards, I decided to wait it out and think about it later. This turned out to be a good choice.

—What are you trembling for? Don’t tell me you were scared because I won’t believe that —said Marlowe to Vivian, as she was getting in his car.
—I’m not used to being hijacked… give me a little time —replied Vivian, referring to the man who tried to steal her casino gambling loot.
—Hijacked? … Is that what it was? —said Marlowe, thinking that this was just for show.
—What else? —said Vivian.

It is well known that because of time limitations, movie adaptations are rarely as good as the original book. So I could not fault this film for it. It was mostly pretty consistent with Chandler’s original story. Nevertheless, there were some obvious detours which in hind-sight didn’t deter from the movie. Bear in mind that the American Nobel prize winner William Faulkner was one of the three screen writers.

All in all, I think that it made the plot a little easier to follow on the silver screen, particularly for those folks that had not read the novel. The novel does indeed have a somewhat lengthy and at times complicated plot, which would make it difficult to render it, in a movie.

—I didn’t have a chance to thank you for what you did back there … you looked good … awfully good. I didn’t know they made them like that anymore —said Marlowe, referring to Vivian helping him take out Canino; Eddy Mars’ [the gangster] hit man.
—I guess I’m in love with you —said Vivian, displaying a subdue pent-up passionate feeling and without even looking at him.

In the novel there was quite a bit of nudity and overall it was … let’s say … raw. So putting myself in the Hollywood censorship mindset of the 40s, this wouldn’t fly. I wonder what The Big Sleep would be like if it was shot today. But the witty dialog with its subtle innuendos made up for it. So much so, that I enjoyed it, a lot. As you have already seen I have added some of it in this review. What do you think? Do you like it?

—You forgot one thing… me —said Vivian
—What’s wrong with you? —asked Marlowe.
—Nothing that you can’t fix —said Vivian.

I watched the movie again and it really grew up on me. So yes, I do agree with those favorable comments at IMDB. Furthermore, I think that Bogart and Bacall had wonderful performances. And I have to say that between the two, husband and wife in real life; I thought that Lauren was a little better that Humphrey, on this one.

I hope you enjoy some of the still images from the movie as well as the trailer, itself. Oh, and it seems that you can watch the whole movie at



Movie Trailer (1946)


1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Efehan
    Aug 1 2013

    I see that two readers have voted “Playback” as their favorite Chandler novel. Since many rate it as dead last among his work, I would be interested in their comments as to why they rate it so high.


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