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 ...
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Policemen Bonaro and Madigan lose their guns to fugitive Barney Benesch. As compensation, the two NYC detectives are given a weekend to bring Benesch to justice. While Bonaro and Madigan ... See full summary »
A father serving time for murder convinces his three teenage sons that his life is being threatened by fellow inmates and that they should break him out of jail. However, when his sons ... See full summary »
In 1952, as the Korean War rages on, American officers land in Kyoto. Among them are Major Ceve Saville, assigned to a fighter squadron, and Lieutenant Carl Abbott. The latter neglects his ... See full summary »
Quiet young Orfamay Quest from Kansas has hired private detective Philip Marlowe to find her brother. After two leads turn up with ice picks stuck in them, he discovers blackmail photos ... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
Takes place in the then contemporary Britain of 1977, even though Farewell, My Lovely (1975) took place in Los Angeles in 1941. See more »
When Marlowe brings Camilla home from Geiger's house, the shot from the car to the Sternwood's door shows Marlowe's car door open. The reverse shot from the house out to the car shows his car door shut. See more »
It's not the 1946 original but a lot of fun nonetheless
While I haven't read the novel upon which 'The Big Sleep' is based, I have seen the Bogart version. I really love the original. Bogie-Bacall
what's not to love? However, that version does suffer from Hays Code
puritanism that robbed the edge from much of human desires and sexual foibles that obviously suppressed some of the underlying desires and sexual motives.
That's where the 1978 version excels - and fails. Let's start with the fails. In the original, the scenes in the bookshops near the beginning rule with Bogie's use of humour and the electric suggested tryst with Dorothy Malone's character. Sometimes the suggestion can be erotic enough. Perhaps that's why this version skips the fun and the implied sex for another more mundane approach.
The other fail is the atmosphere. This version lacks any. The original's shadows and textures evoked each scene and created moods. This version lacks any specific mood to instead tell a story in almost a heightened reality. The direction does the same, relying on straight-ahead narrative more like a TV movie than a theatrical film.
There's so much more here that succeeds. Despite his age, Mitchum is a fine Marlow, more cynical and world-weary than Bogart's version. The script is sharp, full of humour and wry observations. The biggest improvement is the depiction of sex. Freed of the tyranny of the forties' censorship, scenes like Carmen naked and stoned are much more realistic and make a more satisfying treatment, even if the innuendo is not as predominant.
OK, it's not the classic it could've been. It's still a decent flick to rent or watch on cable. Marlowe is solid, Candy Clark is wonderfully loony, Joan Collins is pure kitsch, Richard Boone plays the essence of evil. It's good to see James Stewart, even if his gentle disposition doesn't quite match the demeanour of a General. The supporting cast are almost uniformly intriguing and fun to watch. And what a cast!
The Big Sleep may be no masterpiece but it is great fun. Relax your expectations and enjoy it for what is - fine entertainment.
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