The Big Sleep (1946)

Not Rated   |    |  Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery


The Big Sleep (1946) Poster

Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he's seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love.


7.9/10
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  • Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep (1946)
  • Humphrey Bogart and Martha Vickers in The Big Sleep (1946)
  • Louis Jean Heydt and Martha Vickers in The Big Sleep (1946)
  • Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep (1946)
  • Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep (1946)
  • Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep (1946)

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Awards

2 wins.

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30 December 2007 | Lechuguilla
Just Ignore That Discombobulated Plot
Many fans of this classic film are drawn to it because of Bogie and Bacall, who do indeed make a deft acting duo. Here, Bogie plays Philip Marlowe, the tough talking, street savvy PI, who has his roots in the crime novels of writer Raymond Chandler. Bacall plays Vivian Sternwood, the adult daughter of a wealthy man. Vivian is just as tough and cagey as Marlowe. And she has a younger sister named Carmen, who seems to have fallen in with a bad crowd. It's up to Marlowe to investigate, and to save the Sternwood family from financial ruin. "The Big Sleep" is a story of blackmail, murder, multiple motives, lies, and all manner of general mayhem.

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall are certainly persuasive in their roles. I also like the script's snappy dialogue. For example, in a conversation with General Sternwood, Marlowe responds: "Hmm". Sternwood follows up: "What does that mean?" To which Marlowe fires back: "It means, hmm". Marvelous.

But the film's plot is an incoherent mess. It is hard to follow, disjointed, and has obvious lapses. Further, secondary characters (Geiger, Brody, Mars, et.al.), and their interrelationships, are poorly defined. To some extent that vagueness and lack of precision are fairly common in 1940's pulp detective stories.

The best approach to "The Big Sleep" is to engulf the relationship between Marlowe and Vivian, marvel at the acting of Bogie and Bacall, enjoy the witty dialogue, and ignore the discombobulated plot.

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Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery | Thriller

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