Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Big Sleep

"Somebody's always giving me guns." ~ Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart)

What makes a film noir a film noir? The lead character with a few flaws, cinematography chock full of dark shadows and thrown-out morals. And the 1946 classic The Big Sleep has all those things.

Here, Bogart is detective Philip Marlowe, possibly fiction's most famous private eye (alongside Sam Spade). He is called in to investigate about a man one of a prominent family's daughters has fallen for. As he goes deeper into the case, bodies start to drop.

Boy, this has one dizzying plot. Even if you pay really close attention, you still don't know who killed who. But that's what makes it more appealing to watch. Even Raymond Chandler, who wrote the original novel, didn't know who killed who.

Of course, the studio heads wanted The Big Sleep to have Bogart and Lauren Bacall in each other's arms at the end, which they got. It's the build up to that point that makes it too irresistible to avoid.

My Rating: *****

1 comment:

  1. This is one of those movies where too much plot amounts to the same thing as no plot at all; after a certain point, following all the twists and turns becomes irrelevant, and you just settle back and enjoy that Bogie/Bacall banter, which is perfected in this movie. The original cut put more emphasis on the plot, but the studio wanted more scenes between the leads, so Hawks went back and shot a bunch more of the saucy dialogue scenes that now make the film so iconic. It's a rare case of studio interference making a movie even better.


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