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The Big Sleep (1946)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery  |  31 August 1946 (USA)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 57,479 users  
Reviews: 230 user | 122 critic

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.

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(screen play), (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Big Sleep (1946)

The Big Sleep (1946) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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John Ridgely ...
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Peggy Knudsen ...
...
Charles Waldron ...
Charles D. Brown ...
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Louis Jean Heydt ...
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Storyline

Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by old General Sternwood to stop a blackmail attempt concerning his youngest daughter Carmen. Marlowe tails the blackmailer Geiger to his house at Laverne Terrace. Suddenly he hears a shot and sees some men rushing out to their cars. He breaks into the house, and finds Carmel drugged in a chair, with Geiger's dead body at her feet. An empty camera proves that a photo has been taken of her and the corpse, probably intended for further blackmailing. A series of clues lead Marlowe to various persons involved in gambling. Wherever he finds them, he also finds Sternwood's oldest daughter, Vivian Rutledge, a divorced beauty. She and Marlowe fall in love with each other, although she continues double-crossing him. When Marlowe's investigations lead him to the casino owner Eddie Mars, the situation starts becoming very dangerous. Everyone, including the district attorney, advises Marlowe to stop the investigation, but he is stubborn. Eddie Mars has a ... Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 August 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le grand sommeil  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (pre-release)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Philip Epstein, co-author of Casablanca (1942), helped Howard Hawks write the new scenes. His goal was to create more sexual chemistry between the stars, playing on the insolence Lauren Bacall' had shown in To Have and Have Not (1944). His work included the famous horseracing scene, filled with double entendre that sailed right by the industry censors enforcing the Production Code. In later years, Hawks would claim to have written it because the re-takes were forcing him to miss the races at Santa Anita. See more »

Goofs

When the station wagon pulls out of the alley behind Giegers book store, the crates extend past the car body and are on the tail gate. When the station wagon pulls up to the Randall Arms and pulls into the alley, the crates are now fully inside the body of the car. See more »

Quotes

Vivian: Why did you have to go on?
Marlowe: Too many people told me to stop.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Big Sleep (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine
(uncredited)
Music by Stan Kenton and Charles Lawrence
Lyrics by Joe Greene
Played by a band at the casino and sung by Lauren Bacall and patrons
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Just Ignore That Discombobulated Plot
30 December 2007 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

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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