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The Big Sleep (1946)

8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 55,711 users  
Reviews: 227 user | 120 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 ...
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Charles Waldron ...
Charles D. Brown ...
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Louis Jean Heydt ...
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Storyline

Summoned by the dying General Sternwood, Philip Marlowe is asked to deal with several problems that are troubling his family. Marlowe finds that each problem centers about the disappearance of Sternwood's favoured employee who has left with a mobster's wife. Each of the problems becomes a cover for something else as Marlowe probes. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's terrific! See more »


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

Eager to repeat the success of To Have and Have Not (1944), Warner Bros. studio chief Jack L. Warner gave Howard Hawks $50,000 to purchase the rights for "The Big Sleep." Hawks bought the rights for $5,000 and pocketed the rest. See more »

Goofs

In the public library, a close-up reveals Marlowe is copying information out of a book opened to new chapter, with a large margin at top and a chapter heading in bold face type. In the long shot a second later, the book is opened to random page of dense text. See more »

Quotes

[after a kiss]
Vivian: I liked that. I'd like more.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Two Guys from Milwaukee (1946) See more »

Soundtracks

I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan
(uncredited)
Music by Arthur Schwartz
Played when Vivian Rutledge pays off Marlowe over drinks
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.


36 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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