"My, my, my. Such a lot of guns around town and so few brains."
- Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart)
"You may smoke, too. I can still enjoy the smell of it. Nice thing when a man has to indulge his vices by proxy."
- General Sternwood (Charles Waldron) to Marlowe
"So you're a private detective. I didn't know they existed, except in books - or else they were greasy little men snooping around hotel corridors. My, you're a mess, aren't you'"
- Vivian Sherwood Rutledge (Lauren Bacall) to Marlowe
"If I seem a bit sinister as a parent, Mr. Marlowe, it's because my hold on life is too slight to include any Victorian hypocrisy. I need hardly add that any man who has lived as I have and indugles for the first time in parenthood at the age of 55 deserves all he gets."
- General to Marlowe
Marlowe to Vivian -- "Speaking of horses... you've got a touch of class, but I don't know how far you can go." Vivian
- "A lot depends on who's in the saddle. Go ahead Marlowe. I like the way you work. In case you don't know it, you're doing all right."
Total Film - 03/01/2000
"...The chemistry between Bogart and Bacall is so blatant it's no surprise to learn they were married the same year. A joy..." -- 5 out of 5 stars
Chicago Sun-Times - 06/22/1997
"...It is one of the great film noirs, a black-and-white symphony..."
Entertainment Weekly - 01/11/2002
"...Watch Bogart and Lauren Bacall settle into their second flick together -- madly in love..."
Chandler's first novel introduced private detective Philip Marlowe, and THE BIG SLEEP set the standard for private detective movies. Down-at-the-heels private eye Marlowe gets the assignment to clean up after the daughters of a dying millionaire, but dead people have a nasty habit of trailing in their wake. The famously tortuous story line (Hawks supposedly asked Chandler to clarify a plot point about the murder of the family chauffeur; the novelist hadn't a clue as to who did the deed) seems beside the point when Bogart and Bacall are onscreen. The final release was recut to include more of their scenes together. A must! Remade in 1978.
Description by Warner Home Video:
Big Sleep, The
L.A. private eye Phillip Marlowe takes on a blackmail case...and a trail peopled with murderers, porographers, nightclub rogues, the spoiled rich and more. Humphrey Boart plays Raymond Chandlers' legendary gumshoe and director Howard Hawkes serves up snappy character encounters (particularly involving Lauren Bacall), brisk pace and atmosphere galore in the certified classic.
Private investigator Philip Marlowe is thrust into a world of drugs, sex, blackmail, and murder when he agrees to protect a rich man's reckless, uncontrollable daughter.
THE BIG SLEEP was shot in 1944 but was not released until 1946. Slightly different cuts of the film exist.
THE BIG SLEEP was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1997.
In March 2000, Warner Home Video released the 1945 cut of the film, never shown in theatres, on home video. It's a longer version by about 20 minutes, containing some additional plot exposition and a more "sanitized" version of the "racetrack" dialogue between Bogey and Bacall. The 1946 theatrical cut (labeled here as the "Theatrical Release" is unquestionably superior, but the film has aquired such a mystique that the earlier cut provides a fascinating look at a masterpiece in progress.
THE BIG SLEEP was Raymond Chandler's first novel.
Director Howard Hawks reportedly wired Raymond Chandler during filming in order to clear up some confusion about whether a particular character's death was the result of suicide or murder; the author was apparently unable to give him an answer. This incident may have been the source of THE BIG SLEEP's long-standing reputation for having a plot so incomprehensible that neither Hawks nor novelist Chandler was completely sure who committed some of the murders.
Director Michael Winner filmed a second, more faithful adaptation of the novel in 1978, as a follow-up to "FAREWELL MY LOVELY. It starred Robert Mitchum, Sarah Miles, Candy Clark, Oliver Reed, Richard Boone, James Stewart, Joan Collins, Edward Fox, and John Mills.
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