... that I had to abandon any hope of understanding it and just enjoy the performances, which is what most people do with "The Big Sleep".
Nick and Nora return to New York City, and are immediately contacted by Colonel MacFay (C. Aubrey Smith) who runs some of Nora's business interests. He tells Nick he must come out to the Colonel's Long Island estate to go over the financial statements of Nora's business holdings. So out the Charles' go with their baby and the baby's governess in tow. Nick thinks he sees a dead body on the road to the estate, but when he stops to investigate, it is gone. At the gate of the estate the Charles' are met by tons of people with shot guns and rifles demanding proof that they have an invitation to be there. Once inside, MacFay tells Nick about a disgruntled former employee, Mr. Church, who went to prison for ten years for doing dishonest things at MacFay's behest. Now out of jail, Church is demanding money. In spite of all of the armed guards, things keep happening inside the estate that looks like Church or whoever is working for him can come and go at will. Then, that night, a shot rings out and MacFay is found dead in his bed, his face badly battered. So this starts Nick down the path of solving the murder.
Past this point things get very convoluted very quickly. There are just too many characters, most of whom have involved stories. Nick and Nora are apart for much of the film, with Nick usually working and sleuthing alone. The high points are the times when some of that great Nick and Nora banter is going on. I wouldn't rate this film above a 5 if not for the great chemistry of Powell and Loy. For that alone it is worth a watch.
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