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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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>
James Stewart originally turned down the role of General Sternwood, as he felt that since the movie was being relocated to England a British actor should play the character. See more »
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 »
[when Marlowe declines to blackmail her]
Wha-? You don't want money?
Oh sure. All I itch for is money. I'm so greedy that for fifty pounds a day plus expenses on the day I work, I risk my future, the hatred of the cops, of Eddie Mars and his pals, I dodge bullets and put up with slaps and say "Thank you very much. If you have any further trouble please call me: I'll just put my card here on the table." I do all that for a few pounds. And maybe just a little bit to protect what little pride a ...
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As a literary adaptation, it is superior to the Bogart version
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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