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The Big Sleep (1946)

HD   NR Closed Captioning

Howard Hawks

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About the Movie

The definitive Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall vehicle, The Big Sleep casts Bogart as Raymond Chandler's cynical private eye Philip Marlowe. Summoned to the home of the fabulously wealthy General Sternwood (Charles Waldron), Marlowe is hired to deal with a blackmailer shaking down the General's sensuous, thumb-sucking daughter Carmen (Martha Vickers). This earns Marlowe the displeasure of Carmen's sloe-eyed, seemingly straight-laced older sister Vivian (Bacall), who is fiercely protective of her somewhat addled sibling. As he pursues the case at hand, Marlowe gets mixed up in the murder of Arthur Geiger (Theodore von Eltz), a dealer in pornography. He also runs afoul of gambling-house proprietor Eddie Mars (John Ridgely), who seems to have some sort of hold over the enigmatic Vivian. Any further attempts to outline the plot would be futile: the storyline becomes so complicated and convoluted that even screenwriters William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, and Jules Furthmann were forced to consult Raymond Chandler for advice (he was as confused by the plot as the screenwriters). When originally prepared for release in 1945, The Big Sleep featured a long exposition scene featuring police detective Bernie Ohls (Regis Toomey) explaining the more obscure plot details. This expository scene was ultimately sacrificed, along with several others, in favor of building up Bacall's part; for instance, a climactic sequence was reshot to emphasize sexual electricity between Bogart and Bacall, obliging Warners to replace a supporting player who'd gone on to another project. The end result was one of the most famously baffling film noirs but also one of the most successful in sheer star power.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews

TOMATOMETER

96%
  • Reviews Counted: 57
  • Fresh: 55
  • Rotten: 2
  • Average Rating: 8.8/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: The Big Sleep is wakeful fare for folks who don't care what is going on, or why, so long as the talk is hard and the action harder. – James Agee, TIME Magazine, Mar 8, 2014

Fresh: Brittle Chandler characters have been transferred to the screen with punch by Howard Hawks' production and direction, providing full load of rough, tense action most of the way. – Variety Staff, Variety, Jul 7, 2010

Fresh: Don't try too hard to follow the story, just get swept away by the mood of the film. – Eric Brace, Washington Post, Oct 4, 2010

Fresh: It is typical of this most puzzling of films that no one agrees even on why it is so puzzling. Yet that has never affected The Big Sleep's enduring popularity, because the movie is about the process of a criminal investigation, not its results. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, Jan 20, 2006

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

The Big Sleep

I absolutely LOVE this movie! It might help that i'm a bit obsessed with Humphrey Bogart but I love how everything is pulled together in this film with the humor and romance and the chemistry between Bogie and Bacall is very strong and more apparent (as they had just been married). Although the stroyline is a little hard to follow with all the names and murders, etc. it is overall a great classic.

To have and have not!

Not sure why iTunes chose not include the other Bogey and Bacall classic, "To Have and Have Not". If they do have it, I can not find it. Key Largo and The Big Sleep are must haves for Bogey fans. For those that enjoy the classic banter between Lauren and Humphrey though, To Have and Have not is a gem. "Just put your lips together and blow". Maybe iTunes will soon include this with these other great films. One great May December relationship that will last for all time.

The Big Sleep

At the ending of this movie you may be very confused on who actually killed who but you will love the suspense and characters enough that you really dont care. The movie is based on the Raymond Chandler book of the same name but much of it was rewritten to give more of the Bogart/Bacall chemistry. If you have enjoyed any of Humphrey Bogart's film noir movies this is one you have to see.

The Big Sleep (1946)
View in iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Released: 1946

Customer Ratings