A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
The Big Sleep is the story of a private investigator, named Philip Marlowe, hired by a wealthy general to find out and stop his youngest daughter, Carmen, from being blackmailed about her gambling debts; things almost immediately unravel and blow up from here, as Marlowe finds himself deep within a web of love triangles, blackmail, murder, gambling, and organized crime. Marlowe, with the help of the General's eldest daughter, Vivian, skillfully plot to free the family from this web and trap the main main behind much of this mischief, Eddie, to meet his end at the hands of his own henchmen. Written by
The Acme Book Shop Proprietress describes Arthur Geiger as having Charlie Chan-like mustache. Just like Marlow, Charlie Chan is a popular fictional detective, created by Earl Derr Biggers. Biggers loosely based Chan on Honolulu detective Chang Apana, and conceived benevolent and heroic Chan as an alternative to Yellow Peril stereotypes and villains like Fu Manchu who were all the rage at the time, but who also represented the predominant way Asians were depicted on film. Chan is a detective for the Honolulu police, though many stories feature Chan traveling the world as he investigates mysteries and solves crimes. Countless movies and TV serials have been filmed based on Chan's adventures, especially during the first half of the 20th century. In recent decades, the character, although considered progressive at the time it was created, has been deemed as borderline offensive to Asians, so his popularity dwindled unlike that of some other (private) detectives from his era. However, at the time The Big Sleep was made, Chan would've been as popular as Sherlock Holmes. See more »
When Vivian is telling Marlowe the cover story for Carmen for the night before, her mouth does not match what she's saying. This mismatch is because the movie was re-edited after Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall became a popular team; To Have and Have Not which brought them to stardom was released after The Big Sleep was filmed but before it was released. Scenes were re-shot, some new scenes were added and others dropped. The sequence was also changed to accommodate some of the new edits. The audio/visual mismatch is because the scene was kept but minor dialog had to be changed to make the re-sequencing track properly. See more »
The second of the Bogey and Bacall pairings has Humphrey Bogart playing his second pulp fiction detective for the screen. Previously he had done Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon and now he's Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep. He's at the top of his game in both.
Bogey's been hired by Philip Waldron to get rid of a blackmailer that's got something on one of his daughters, the amoral and disturbed Martha Vickers. The older daughter Lauren Bacall intrigues Bogey a bit more when she tries to pry into exactly what Bogart is doing for her father. Seems as though a family chauffeur has gone missing a while back and the family is concerned on a number of levels.
The plot glides into the question of the missing chauffeur and Bogart meets all kinds of interesting characters before all the mysteries are solved.
The Big Sleep proved that the teaming on screen of Bogey and Bacall was no flash in the pan success that they had in Two Have and Have Not. They are surrounded with a great cast of players. Dorothy Malone got her first notice on film as a bookstore proprietor. Elisha Cook essays one of his typical roles as a luckless fall guy. John Ridgely is properly menacing as gambler Eddie Mars.
But my favorite in this film has always been Bob Steele as the vicious killer Canino who Ridgely has on retainer. Why Bob Steele wasted his time with two bit grade C westerns when he was doing work like this is beyond me. My favorite scene in The Big Sleep has always been when Bogey blasts Steele after Bacall has diverted his attention. When you hear Bogart utter those words, "over here, Canino" he was never more chilling or menacing on the screen before or after.
Set comfortably within it's time in the Forties, The Big Sleep still packs quite a wallop for today's audience. May you never have Humphrey Bogart looking to nail you for some misdeed.
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