Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dir. by Howard Hawks

The film adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s classic detective story is marvelously done. This is the silver-screen vehicle that put the Bogart and Bacall chemistry on the map. The screenplay is a memorable collaboration between William Faulkner, the darling of literary critics in the ‘40s, and Leigh Brackett, one of the great SF-action storytellers of all time, as well as Jules Furhtman.

Hard-boiled PI, Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) has been hired to help General Sternwood (Charles Waldron). The general is an elderly millionaire with two daughters who are about 46-flavors of trouble. Carmen (Martha Vickers) is being blackmailed. Vivian’s (Lauren Bacall) husband Rusty Reagan (a man the general respects) has disappeared and may be responsible.

What Marlowe finds is a sordid mess where secrets need to be buried as fast as they are unearthed. Navigating from swanky Hollywood nightclubs to scuzzy porno stores (back then they were illegal!) and all manner of high-society lowlifes, Marlowe follows this exceptionally twisted skein to its end.

The Big Sleep is a true classic, entertaining and stylish to see.

-Dave Hardy


Charles Gramlich said...

Never seen this movie, although I much enjoyed the book.

Dave Hardy said...

I'm a big fan of Raymond Chandler. His shorts works are often beter than his novels (which were generally cannibalized from his short work).

Dark Worlds Club said...

My favorite scene in THE BIG SLEEP is when Humphrey Bogart puts on a pair of glasses and pretends to be a nerd so he can watch his man from a shop across the street. It's not something Bogart did often and it surprised me how well me pulled it off. The only other actor who did so well was Christopher Reeve playing Clark Kent. Man, could Reeve nerd it up!