IMDb > The Big Sleep (1946)
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:
8.0/10   66,967 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Up 5% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
William Faulkner (screen play) &
Leigh Brackett (screen play) ...
(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 » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
2 wins See more »
User Reviews:
Classic Noir See more (249 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 ... General 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)
James Conaty ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)

Joseph Crehan ... Medical Examiner (uncredited)
Sonia Darrin ... Agnes Lozelle (uncredited)
Jack Deery ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
Carole Douglas ... Librarian (uncredited)
Jay Eaton ... Casino Patron (uncredited)

Tom Fadden ... Sidney (uncredited)

Bess Flowers ... Woman with Bumped Man (uncredited)
Kenneth Gibson ... Casino Patron (uncredited)
Joe Gilbert ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)

Stuart Hall ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
Shep Houghton ... Casino Patron (uncredited)

Kenner G. Kemp ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
Pete Kooy ... Motorcycle Cop (uncredited)

Lorraine Miller ... Hatcheck Girl (uncredited)

Forbes Murray ... Furtive Man (uncredited)

William H. O'Brien ... Waiter (uncredited)
Shelby Payne ... Cigarette Girl (uncredited)
Jack Perry ... Silent Thug Beating Marlowe (uncredited)
Tommy Rafferty ... Carol Lundgren (uncredited)
Waclaw Rekwart ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
Edward Rickard ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)

Suzanne Ridgway ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)

Jeffrey Sayre ... Croupier (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 (screen play) &
Leigh Brackett (screen play) &
Jules Furthman (screen play)

Raymond Chandler (from the novel by)

Produced by
Jack L. Warner .... executive producer
Howard Hawks .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Max Steiner 
 
Cinematography by
Sidney Hickox (director of photography) (as Sid Hickox)
 
Film Editing by
Christian Nyby (film editor)
 
Art Direction by
Carl Jules Weyl 
Max Parker (supervising art director) (uncredited)
 
Set Decoration by
Fred M. MacLean (set decorations)
 
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 .... re-recording mixer (uncredited)
Gerald W. Alexander .... sound effects mixer (uncredited)
Robert G. Wayne .... re-recording mixer (uncredited)
Robert G. Wayne .... sound effects 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 Companies
  • Warner Bros. (presents) (as Warner Bros.-First National Pictures)
DistributorsOther 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:SOA (original rating) | Australia:PG (re-rating) (1997) | Canada:14A (video rating) | Finland:K-16 (1949) | Finland:(Banned) (1947) | France:Tous publics | 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 | UK:A (original rating) | USA:Approved (PCA #10625) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating) | West Germany:16

Did You Know?

Trivia:
When Marlowe is talking to the proprietress in the Acme Bookstore "The Wire Cutters" by Mollie E. Moore Davis is visible in the background.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: The guns hidden in Marlowe's car: first he chooses the one on the left and later when he shoots Canino he picks the same gun, but the other is missing.See more »
Quotes:
Carmen Sternwood:Is he as cute as you are?
Philip Marlowe:Nobody is.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
I Guess I'll Have to Change My PlanSee more »

FAQ

Why were Brody, Lundgren, and Agnes clearing out Geiger's bookstore the day after he was killed?
Is "The Big Sleep" based on a book?
How does the movie end?
See more »
50 out of 66 people found the following review useful.
Classic Noir, 3 May 2005
Author: MatBrewster from United States

Read all of my reviews at www.midnitcafe.blogspot.com This classic film noir has very few of techniques generally associated with noir. It contains no skewed camera angles; and though it is darkly lit, it is not overcome with murky, obscuring shadows. The hero is not down-and-out, poor, or desperate. There is no retrospective narration, or flashbacks. Yet, the Big Sleep is widely considered to be one of the very best of this genre. It is a cynical, perverse, murderous world filled with loads of confusing action and unknown motives. It is, in fact, one of the great films of one of the screens greatest actors (for my personal top 10 actors list, click here), and most talented directors.

It was directed by Howard Hawks fresh off of the successful pairing of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Becall in To Have and Have Not. The two star here again and it is easy to see why they made another two films together. Based on a Raymond Chandler novel of the same name, many people complain that this film is incomprehensible. Somewhat famously it is reported that Bogart and Hawks, after arguing over who killed one of the characters, called up Chandler to get the correct answer. Chandler didn't have the slightest idea, for the novel is rather vague on this point. It's true that both the novel and film leave many plot points as to who did what to whom more than unclear, but there is so much style in both that it's hard to make a convincing argument against them.

A good deal of the confusion within the film comes from the production codes in effect at the time it was produced. Chandler's novel deals with murder, homosexuality, heterosexuality, and pornography. At the time, these things were deemed unfit to show on a movie screen and so Hawks had to hint at them using various subtle methods. For instance, when Carmen Sternwood (Martha Vickers) is found by detective Phillip Marlow (Bogart) in the novel she is completely nude and sitting posed for a hidden camera. Since pornography is explicitly against code, in the movie she is dressed in a silky, Japanese gown. There is still a hidden camera, and its missing film becomes a catalyst for much of the action in the film. We must infer from the exotic nature of the gown that there was more than just pictures of a woman in a gown going on. There are many similar instances in the film like this. For an audience member who has not read the book, they must pay close attention to the subtext, or the film will seem baffling.

Personally, I am very much a fan of the book, and all of Chandler's work. While I appreciate that some of the finer plot points are a bit vague in this film, I also understand that the film succeeds not in the details of the story, but in a sinister sense of style. The film oozes with a dark, disquieting atmosphere. Nearly everyone Marlowe meets is hiding something, and is of less than upstanding moral character. Hawks does a great job of keeping nearly every scene in the dark or in the rain, or both. There are so many characters coming in and out of the shadows and with their own shady character that it is difficult to keep up.

Bogart, of course, does a marvelous job as Marlowe. He seems to understand a lot more information than the audience is ever given. Chandler wrote Marlowe as a detective who sticks by his own set up morals, remaining somewhat of a noble creature trying to stay afloat amongst the muck and sewers of the city. Lauren Bacall does a very good job portraying Vivian Sternwood Rutledge, in a role that is much different than the one in the book. Like many films from this era, they create a romance that wasn't really in the source material. I don't mind though, because Bogart and Bacall really sizzle.

What can I say that hasn't been said before? This is really classic noir at its best. It's got Bogart and Bacall. It was directed by Howard Hawks, written by William Faulkner from a novel by Raymond Chandler. What more could a lover of classic cinema want? More reviews at www.midnitcafe.blogspot.com

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (249 total) »

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