Big Sleep

Big Sleep

4.3 13
Director: Howard Hawks

Cast: Howard Hawks, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Trevor Bardette

     
 

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The definitive Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall vehicle, The Big Sleep casts Bogart as Raymond Chandler's cynical private eye Philip Marlowe. Summoned to the home of the fabulously wealthy General Sternwood (See more details below

Overview

The definitive Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall vehicle, The Big Sleep casts Bogart as Raymond Chandler's cynical private eye Philip Marlowe. Summoned to the home of the fabulously wealthy General Sternwood (Charles Waldron), Marlowe is hired to deal with a blackmailer shaking down the General's sensuous, thumb-sucking daughter Carmen (Martha Vickers). This earns Marlowe the displeasure of Carmen's sloe-eyed, seemingly straight-laced older sister Vivian (Bacall), who is fiercely protective of her somewhat addled sibling. As he pursues the case at hand, Marlowe gets mixed up in the murder of Arthur Geiger (Theodore von Eltz), a dealer in pornography. He also runs afoul of gambling-house proprietor Eddie Mars (John Ridgely), who seems to have some sort of hold over the enigmatic Vivian. Any further attempts to outline the plot would be futile: the storyline becomes so complicated and convoluted that even screenwriters William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, and Jules Furthmann were forced to consult Raymond Chandler for advice (he was as confused by the plot as the screenwriters). When originally prepared for release in 1945, The Big Sleep featured a long exposition scene featuring police detective Bernie Ohls (Regis Toomey) explaining the more obscure plot details. This expository scene was ultimately sacrificed, along with several others, in favor of building up Bacall's part; for instance, a climactic sequence was reshot to emphasize sexual electricity between Bogart and Bacall, obliging Warners to replace a supporting player who'd gone on to another project. The end result was one of the most famously baffling film noirs but also one of the most successful in sheer star power.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Monica McIntyre
The world of The Big Sleep, Howard Hawks's classic 1946 film noir, seduces with its moody atmosphere and singularly cool romantic pessimism. Based on the Raymond Chandler novel and adapted by a team of writers that included William Faulkner, the story is notoriously convoluted. But who cares when you've got the legendary chemistry between Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall? As Philip Marlowe, private eye, Bogie drops wisecracks and upholds honor in lurid L.A. while trying to sort out the troubles of a retired general's daughter. When Marlowe meets the general's other daughter, Vivian (Bacall), his interest in the case -- and the body count -- increases. Hawks's no-nonsense visual style and the lush black-and-white imagery fit Max Steiner's expressionistic score like a raked fedora. Laced with irresistibly cynical humor and sexual suggestiveness, The Big Sleep is riveting entertainment all the way to the final fade-out.
All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Howard Hawks' The Big Sleep is one of the most influential detective movies ever to come out of Hollywood, ranking with John Huston's The Maltese Falcon, which also starred Humphrey Bogart. What makes the film's success astonishing is that it had a troubled post-production history, requiring extensive reshooting, and a script that, in its final version, is so filled with blind alleys and red herrings that no one was exactly sure what the movie was about. The original Raymond Chandler novel had one of that author's more impenetrable plots, with a series of murders that constitute more of a web than a chain, and included key details, involving drug use and pornography, that had to be soft-pedalled in the movie. In the final cut of the film and the final draft of the script, no one ever explains who killed chauffeur Owen Taylor, and it's almost impossible to tell why fully a third of the other killings in the movie took place. Moreover, if it is important to the viewer to know what Arthur Gwynn Geiger is selling out of his bookstore, one has to read the book to find out. Hawks breezed past all of these potential problems by letting the dialogue and the action spill out so fast that one barely had time to acknowledge, much less absorb, a new fact or plot element before the next one was upon the viewer. Where he did slow down was in the fiercely sexual repartee between Bogart's Philip Marlowe and Lauren Bacall's Mrs. Rutledge, one of the most blatant displays of pre-coital jousting in a mainstream Hollywood movie at that time. The irony, for a movie that was ahead of its time, is that it was nearly two years late getting out to the public, as it was pulled and reshot after initial screenings, increasing Bacall's role, among other changes. The result was a mystery that remained mysterious, but also a cutting-edge movie with a razor-sharp sexual edge. And it turned out that this mattered a lot more than finding out who killed Owen Taylor.

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Product Details

Release Date:
07/25/2006
UPC:
0012569676817
Original Release:
1946
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Time:
3:50:00
Sales rank:
4,171

Special Features

Closed Caption; Documentary The Big Sleep Comparisons 1945/1946, with UCLA archivist Robert Gitt analyzing differences between versions; Theatrical trailer; Subtitles: English & Français (feature films only)

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Humphrey Bogart Philip Marlowe
Lauren Bacall Vivian Sternwood Rutledge
Trevor Bardette Art Huck
Joy Barlowe Taxi Driver
John Ridgely Eddie Mars
Martha Vickers Carmen Sternwood
Charles D. Brown Norris, The Butler
Dorothy Malone Book Seller
Elisha Cook Harry Jones
Peggy Knudsen Mona Mars
Sonia Darrin Agnes Lowzier
Regis Toomey Bernie Olds
Tom Fadden Sidney
James Flavin Captain Cronjager [1945 version only]
Louis Jean Heydt Joe Brody
Tom Raffery Carol Lundgren
Bob Steele Canino
Theodore Von Eltz Arthur Gwynne Geiger
Ben Welden Pete
Deannie Best Waitress
Tanis Chandler Waitress
Jack Chefe Croupier
Joseph Crehan Medical Examiner
Thomas E. Jackson District Attorney Wilde
Lorraine Miller Hat Check Girl
Forbes Murray Furtive Man
Shelby Payne Cigarette Girl
Jack Perry Mars' Thug
Emmett Vogan Deputy Sheriff
Charles Waldron General Sternwood
Paul Weber Mars' Thug

Technical Credits
Howard Hawks Director,Producer
Leigh Brackett Screenwriter
Robert Burks Special Effects
Roy Davidson Special Effects
William Faulkner Screenwriter
Leo F. Forbstein Musical Direction/Supervision
Jules Furthman Screenwriter
Sidney Hickox Cinematographer
Robert B. Lee Sound/Sound Designer
Warren Lynch Special Effects
Fred MacLean Set Decoration/Design
Christian Nyby Editor
Leah Rhodes Costumes/Costume Designer
Max Steiner Score Composer
Jack L. Warner Executive Producer
Perc Westmore Makeup
Carl Jules Weyl Art Director
Raymond Chandler Source Author

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Scene Index

Disc #1, Side A -- Big Sleep: Theatrical Version
1. Credits [1:00]
2. Weaning Needed [1:43]
3. The General's Daughter [6:18]
4. Handling Vivian [4:04]
5. The Book Collector [2:00]
6. The Acme Books Lady [3:41]
7. House on Laverne Terrace [5:40]
8. Harsh Words for a Special Delivery [2:48]
9. Missing [1:28]
10. Body in a Packard [3:23]
11. Office Visit [5:35]
12. Tail Job [4:11]
13. Menace From Mars [4:18]
14. Everybody Comes to Brody's [6:48]
15. Death at the Door [3:50]
16. Hitman...Clobbered [3:56]
17. Racy Talk [5:04]
18. Tears Flowed Like Wine [4:41]
19. Lucky Lady [1:56]
20. Parking Lot Rescue [2:21]
21. Kiss and Not Tell [2:06]
22. Carmen Bites [1:23]
23. Our Way of Saying Lay Off [6:02]
24. One Right Guy to Another [2:29]
25. Unfunny Drink [5:14]
26. Rendezvous With Agnes [1:22]
27. Spray Job [2:58]
28. Upsetting Mrs. Mars [3:48]
29. Confronting Canino [3:34]
30. Taking an Awful Chance [3:26]
31. Another Death at the Door [4:22]
32. Nothing He Can't Fix [2:07]
Disc #1, Side B -- Big Sleep: Prerelease Version
1. Credits [1:00]
2. Weaning Needed [1:43]
3. The General's Daughter [6:18]
4. Handling Vivian [4:04]
5. The Book Collector [2:00]
6. The Acme Books Lady [3:41]
7. House on Laverne Terrace [5:40]
8. Bringing Carmen Home [2:48]
9. Missing [1:28]
10. Body in a Packard [3:23]
11. Tail Job [5:35]
12. Office Visit [4:11]
13. Menace From Mars [4:18]
14. Everybody Comes to Brody's [6:48]
15. Death at the Door [3:50]
16. Hitman...Clobbered [3:56]
17. Recap at the DA's Office [5:04]
18. Completely Closed? [4:41]
19. Tears Flowed Like Wine [1:56]
20. Lucky Lady [2:21]
21. Parking Lot Rescue [2:06]
22. Kiss and Not Tell [1:23]
23. Our Way of Saying Lay Off [6:02]
24. One Right Guy to Another [2:29]
25. Unfunny drink [5:14]
26. Rendezvous With Agnes [1:22]
27. Spray Job [2:58]
28. Upsetting Mrs. mars [3:48]
29. Confronting Canino [3:34]
30. Taking an Awful Chance [3:26]
31. Another Deat at the Door [4:22]
32. Nothing He Can't Fix [2:07]

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