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The Big Sleep (1978)

5.7
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 2,544 users  
Reviews: 44 user | 17 critic

Set in England, rather than California, the story follows Raymond Chandler's book fairly closely otherwise. Philip Marlowe is asked by the elderly (and near death) General Sternwood to ... See full summary »

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Title: The Big Sleep (1978)

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This, the second adaptation of Raymond Chandler's novel, is much closer to the source text than the original - Murder, My Sweet (1944), which tended to avoid some of the sleazier parts of ... See full summary »

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Cast

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Commander Barker
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Inspector Gregory
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Storyline

Set in England, rather than California, the story follows Raymond Chandler's book fairly closely otherwise. Philip Marlowe is asked by the elderly (and near death) General Sternwood to investigate an attempt at blackmail on one of his daughters. He soon finds that the attempt is half hearted at best and seems to be more connected with the disappearance of the other daughter's husband, Rusty Regan. Rusty's wife, seems unconcerned with his disappearance, further complicating the mystery. Only General Sternwood seems concerned as mobsters and hired killers continue to appear in the path of the investigation. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Meet Philip Marlowe, the toughest private eye whoever wore a trench coat, slapped a dame, and split his knuckles on a jawbone. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 May 1978 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Big Sleep  »

Box Office

Budget:

£3,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was made and released around thirty-nine years after its source novel of the same name by Raymond Chandler had been first published in 1939. See more »

Goofs

In the night of Geigers murder, Marlowe returns to Geigers home in a Taxi (20:18) with a numberplate 7077. Next day Marlowe follows a truck from Geigers shop (25:26) in a taxi with the same plate 7077 after stopping the taxi in the street. See more »

Quotes

Philip Marlowe: So many guns lately; so few brains.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Big Sleep (1946) See more »

Soundtracks

Won't Somebody Dance With Me
Music & Lyrics Lynsey De Paul
Sung by Diana Quick
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User Reviews

 
As a literary adaptation, it is superior to the Bogart version
7 March 2005 | by (Jena, Germany) – See all my reviews

You may regard the 1946 version as a classic because of the Bogart-Bacall pairing. As a literary adaptation, this version, however, is much better.

First of all, the plot stays true to the novel, whereas the older version had a plot ruined by the restrictions of the Hayes code, so that it contains numerous loose ends and unexplained developments.

Secondly, Robert Mitchum impersonates Marlowe much better that Humphrey Bogart. Bogart essentially recycles his role of Sam Spade in "The Maltese Falcon". Yet, Spade and Marlowe are very different characters. While Spade is a cynic who just barely remembers the remnants of morality (and Bogart is brilliant in that role), Marlowe is way beyond that point. He walks around people in a distanced, almost detached way. Only when he spots a glimpse of humanity in his fellow men, he is willing to engage himself (as with General Sternwood in "The Big Sleep"). Mitchum plays this character with great understatement, as it should be done, while Bogart makes Marlowe just another hard-boiled detective, which could be replaced by any other one.

Finally, both Sarah Miles and Candy Clark (while not being necessarily great actresses) bring over the lunacy of the Sternwood daughters beautifully. While the scenes between Bacall and Bogart a great, they are out of place in this plot, in which there is no place left for romance. It might have been appropriate for the characters of Marlowe and Linda Loring in "The Long Goodbye", but hardly in a movie adaption of a novel, in which Marlowe remarks "both Sternwood women were giving him hell".

So, while this movie transfers the plot to another time and another place, it is a much better adaption of the novel than the version often regarded as a classic.


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Better than the original on ONE POINT ONLY!!! sam_roberts1967
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