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50 user 23 critic

The Big Sleep (1978)

Grizzled American private detective in England investigates a complicated case of blackmail turned murder involving a rich but honest elderly general, his two loose socialite daughters, a pornographer and a gangster.

Director:

Michael Winner

Writers:

Michael Winner (screenplay), Raymond Chandler (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Mitchum ... Philip Marlowe
Sarah Miles ... Charlotte Sternwood
Richard Boone ... Lash Canino
Candy Clark ... Camilla Sternwood
Joan Collins ... Agnes Lozelle
Edward Fox ... Joe Brody
John Mills ... Inspector Jim Carson
James Stewart ... General Sternwood
Oliver Reed ... Eddie Mars
Harry Andrews ... Norris
Colin Blakely ... Harry Jones
Richard Todd ... Commander Barker
Diana Quick ... Mona Grant
James Donald ... Inspector Gregory
John Justin ... Arthur Geiger
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Storyline

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 halfhearted 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 | Plot 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 April 1978 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Tote schlafen besser See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£3,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Mitchum was asked by a BBC man to have an interview. The star then told the TV man to f...off and drove away to his hotel. 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: [of Mrs. Regan] She'd make a jazzy weekend, but she'd be a bit wearing for a steady diet.
See more »


Soundtracks

Won't Somebody Dance With Me
Music & Lyrics Lynsey de Paul
Sung by Diana Quick
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
It's not the 1946 original but a lot of fun nonetheless
6 March 2011 | by skysaxonSee all my reviews

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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