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The Big Sleep
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The Big Sleep (1946) More at IMDbPro »

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The Big Sleep -- 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.
The Big Sleep -- 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.

Overview

User Rating:
8.1/10   54,724 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
William Faulkner (screenplay) &
Leigh Brackett (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Big Sleep on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
31 August 1946 (USA) See more »
Tagline:
The type of man she hated . . . was the type she wanted ! See more »
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
Classic private eye tale with Bogart and Bacall in fine form See more (226 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Humphrey Bogart ... Philip Marlowe

Lauren Bacall ... Vivian Rutledge
John Ridgely ... Eddie Mars

Martha Vickers ... Carmen Sternwood

Dorothy Malone ... Acme Book Shop Proprietress
Peggy Knudsen ... Mona Mars

Regis Toomey ... Chief Inspector Bernie Ohls
Charles Waldron ... Gen. Sternwood
Charles D. Brown ... Norris - the Butler

Bob Steele ... Lash Canino

Elisha Cook Jr. ... Harry Jones
Louis Jean Heydt ... Joe Brody
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Trevor Bardette ... Art Huck (uncredited)

Joy Barlow ... Taxi Driver (uncredited)
Max Barwyn ... Max - Head Waiter (uncredited)
Deannie Best ... Waitress (uncredited)
Tanis Chandler ... Waitress (uncredited)
Jack Chefe ... Croupier (uncredited)
Joseph Crehan ... Medical Examiner (uncredited)
Oliver Cross ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
Sonia Darrin ... Agnes Lowzier (uncredited)
Carole Douglas ... Librarian (uncredited)
Jay Eaton ... Man in Casino (uncredited)
Tom Fadden ... Sidney (uncredited)
Bess Flowers ... Woman with Bumped Man (uncredited)
Shep Houghton ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
Kenner G. Kemp ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
Pete Kooy ... Motorcycle Cop (uncredited)
Lorraine Miller ... Hatcheck Girl (uncredited)
Forbes Murray ... Furtive Man (uncredited)
Shelby Payne ... Cigarette Girl (uncredited)
Jack Perry ... Silent Thug Beating Marlowe (uncredited)
Tommy Rafferty ... Carol Lundgren (uncredited)
Waclaw Rekwart ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
Emmett Vogan ... Ed - Deputy Sheriff (uncredited)
Theodore von Eltz ... Arthur Gwynn Geiger (uncredited)
Wally Walker ... Mars' Thug (uncredited)
Dan Wallace ... Owen Taylor (uncredited)
Paul Weber ... Mars' Thug (uncredited)
Ben Welden ... Pete (uncredited)

Directed by
Howard Hawks 
 
Writing credits
William Faulkner (screenplay) &
Leigh Brackett (screenplay) &
Jules Furthman (screenplay)

Raymond Chandler (novel "The Big Sleep")

Produced by
Jack L. Warner .... executive producer
Howard Hawks .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Max Steiner 
 
Cinematography by
Sidney Hickox  (as Sid Hickox)
 
Film Editing by
Christian Nyby 
 
Art Direction by
Carl Jules Weyl 
Max Parker (supervising art director) (uncredited)
 
Set Decoration by
Fred M. MacLean 
 
Makeup Department
Perc Westmore .... makeup artist
 
Production Management
Eric Stacey .... production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Chuck Hansen .... assistant director (uncredited)
Robert Vreeland .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Robert B. Lee .... sound
Gerald W. Alexander .... sound effects mixer (uncredited)
Gerald W. Alexander .... sound re-recording mixer (uncredited)
Robert G. Wayne .... sound effects mixer (uncredited)
Robert G. Wayne .... sound re-recording mixer (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Roy Davidson .... special effects director (as E. Roy Davidson)
Warren Lynch .... special effects (as Warren E. Lynch)
Robert Burks .... special effects (uncredited)
William C. McGann .... special effects (uncredited)
Willard Van Enger .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
Paul Detlefsen .... matte paintings (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Mike Joyce .... second camera operator (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Leah Rhodes .... wardrobe
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Leo F. Forbstein .... musical director
Simon Bucharoff .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Charles David Forrest .... music mixer (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
114 min | 116 min (pre-release version)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Certification:
Argentina:16 | Australia:PG | Canada:14A (video rating) | Chile:18 | Finland:K-16 (1949) | Finland:(Banned) (1947) | Germany:16 (DVD rating) | Iceland:12 | Malaysia:(Banned) (original rating) | New Zealand:PG | Norway:16 | Portugal:M/12 | Sweden:(Banned) (original rating) | Sweden:15 (re-rating) (1961) | UK:PG | USA:Not Rated | USA:Approved (PCA #10625) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating) | West Germany:16 (f)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The fussy persona that Marlowe adopts upon arriving in Geiger's bookstore has been a subject of argument for years; Lauren Bacall said that Humphrey Bogart came up with it while Howard Hawks claimed in interviews that it was his idea. What both of them failed to notice is that it was in the original book ("I had my horn-rimmed glasses on. I put my voice high and let a bird twitter in it."); all Bogart did was elaborate on it.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: 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:
Carmen Sternwood:You're not very tall are you?
Philip Marlowe:Well, I, uh, I try to be.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in A Little Romance (1979)See more »
Soundtrack:
You Go to My HeadSee more »

FAQ

What are the differences between the Pre-Release Version and the Theatrical Version?
Why were Brody, Lundgren, and Alice clearing out Geiger's bookstore the day after he was killed?
What is 'The Big Sleep' about?
See more »
71 out of 87 people found the following review useful.
Classic private eye tale with Bogart and Bacall in fine form, 12 December 2001
Author: Dennis Littrell from United States

This classic of American cinema, actually made during the war and released in 1946, got a whole nation of young men affecting Bogey mannerisms, raising their eyebrows or showing their teeth while grimacing, and especially pulling on their earlobes while deep in thought, a smoking cigarette dangling between their lips. It was the genius of Howard Hawks, who directed, to do everything possible to make Humphrey Bogart a matinée idol, including having Lauren Bacall slump down in the car seat so as not to tower over him. With this movie a new kind of cinematic hero was created, the existential PI, a seemingly ordinary looking guy gifted with street smarts and easy courage, admired by men, and adored by women.

Hawks fashioned this, part of the Bogart legend, with a noire script penned by William Faulkner, et al., adapted from Raymond Chandler's first novel, that sparkled with spiffy lines, intriguing characters, danger and a not entirely serious attention to plot detail. Hawks surrounded Bogey with admiring dames, beginning with the sexy Martha Vickers who tries to jump into his lap while he's still standing (as Marlowe tells General Sternwood), and ending with the incomparable Lauren Bacall, looking beguiling, beautiful and mysteriously seductive. In fact, every female in the cast wants to get her hands on Bogey, including a quick and easy Dorothy Malone, bored in her specs while clerking at a book store. Hawks also employed some very fine character actors, most notably Elisa Cook Jr., and Bob Steele, the former as always, the little guy crook, (Harry Jones), and the latter, as often seen in westerns, the mindless heavy with a gun (Canino). Charles Waldron played the world-weary general and Charles D. Brown was the butler.

I was reminded somehow of the old Charlie Chan movies with the dark, mysterious, ornately-decorated interiors heavily carpeted and studded with ethnic statuettes, especially the house on Laverne Terrace that Bogey keeps coming back to, and the glass-paned doors and glass-separated cubicals of his office and others. The atmospheric L.A. created here has been much admired and imitated, cf., Chinatown (1974) and L.A. Confidential (1997), two very superior movies that continued the tradition.

In comparing this to the book, I have to say it's a little on the white-washed side, and not as clearly drawn--'confused' some have said. Of course liberties were taken with Chandler's novel to make it romantic. Chandler's novel emphasizes cynicism, and romance takes a back seat to manliness and loyalty to the client. An especially striking difference is in the character of General Sternwood's younger daughter, Carmen. She is vividly drawn in the book as something of monster, a degenerate sex kitten who would try and do just about anything. She is twice encountered butt naked by Marlowe, once in his bed. Being the sterling guy he is, he turns her away. (Right. I could do that.) Another difference is in all the sleazy details about the low-life underworld of Los Angeles that are omitted or glossed over in the film, including Geiger's homosexuality and his gay house guest, Carol Lundgren. (Of course there was a code in those days.) Bacall's character in the movie is actually a fusion of Vivian and Mona Mars from the book, made nice for movie fans. In the book, Marlowe kisses Vivian, but turns down her invitation for more intimate contact. In the movie, of course, there is no way Bogart is going to say 'no' to Bacall. In the book Marlowe seems to prefer whiskey to women.

Most of the sharp dialogue comes right from Chandler's novel, including Bogart's grinning line, 'Such a lot of guns around town, and so few brains.' Interesting is the little joke on Bogart in the opening scene. In the novel, Chandler's hero is greeted by the purring Carmen with the words, 'Tall, aren't you?' Well, the one thing Bogey ain't is tall, and so in the movie Carmen says, 'You're not very tall, are you?' Bogart comes back with, 'I try to be.' In the novel, Marlowe says, 'I didn't mean to be.'

By the way, the film features Bacall singing a forties tune and looking mighty good doing it.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)

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