Home > Film Selection > Sunday Screening #11: The Big Sleep

Sunday Screening #11: The Big Sleep

Yes, another Bogie film.  Can we help it if he’s in so many great movies?  Anyway, this week’s video is a little bit different than the others.  The Big Sleep trailer will play immediately after.  I hope you enjoy!

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  1. January 31, 2010 at 11:22 PM

    Because I always forget to check, I didn’t realize my copy of The Big Sleep was cracked to hell until I took it out to watch today, so, again, I’ll be a little late to the party.

    • February 2, 2010 at 11:56 AM

      Yikes…I’ve had to return scratched/scuffed discs from Netflix, but never cracked. It makes you wonder what people are thinking when they send these obviously unwatchable DVDs back.

      By the way, I enjoyed your mise-en-scène for the video intro (how did you get those seemingly ceiling-high angles?!). Worked really well with the song choice, too.

      • February 2, 2010 at 9:05 PM

        I foolishly didn’t realize that The Big Chill was on instant view, so not only did I not need to have it delivered, I still could’ve watched on Sunday.

        Also, it’s possible that the crack happened in transport, but I think there are a bunch of people who don’t report when a disc is busted, because really, it’s not their problem anymore.

        And thanks for the kind comments. The ceiling angle was taped to my ceiling fan (I thought about having it spin, but decided against it. Another higher angle was on a shelf next to my bed. It’s pretty fun to figure out ways to set things up with no equipment.

  2. LMM
    February 1, 2010 at 10:43 PM

    I will be late as well. Didn’t get a chance to get the right movie on Netflicks. I promise I’ll get it right sooner than later.

  3. February 2, 2010 at 11:51 AM

    I’ll just throw in some quick comments for now. I enjoy The Big Sleep mostly because of Bogie and Bacall: their on-screen presence and chemistry, the clever dialogue they’ve been given, and all of their scenes together. I also enjoy the sordid tone (for 1946) and the sexual innuendo barely being contained by the Production Code. It’s a daring and fun movie in those respects.

    I can’t really say that I enjoy the plot too much, though. The film has been famously noted for its convoluted, hard-to-follow plot full of red herrings and array of murdered characters. I agree with this reputation 100%. There is just too much that goes on, too quickly. I think this is partly due to the fact that certain things in the original Raymond Chandler novel had to be implied or omitted instead of explicitly stated due to the Production Code, but the film clearly needed a leaner, more streamlined adaptation to the big screen.

    Despite the overplotted, confusing screenplay, I think the scenes with Bogart and Bacall together make up for the film’s shortcomings. Their legendary charisma and dialogue is wonderfully entertaining. Really, the dialogue in general is a constant highlight in the film. A few favorites:

    Sternwood: How do you like your brandy, sir?
    Marlowe: In a glass.

    Eddie Mars: Is that any of your business?
    Marlowe: I could make it my business.
    Eddie Mars: I could make your business mine.
    Marlowe: Oh, you wouldn’t like it. The pay’s too small.

    Marlowe: Most gloves have five fingers.

    • February 2, 2010 at 9:23 PM

      I actually very much enjoy that the plot is so convoluted. It may be what draws me to the genre. Frequently, the private eyes are a step or two behind the bad guys and it really helps the audience get into the mindset of the main character. We’re trying to put together since convoluted puzzle along with them. That’s one of the things that make Chinatown or The Big Lebowski so great. Of course, another aspect is great dialogue, which John has already discussed. My particular preference for dialogue snippets is the recurring “somebody’s always giving me guns” stuff.

      After watching this (for the second time, for me), it really shocked me how much The Big Lebowski nailed all of the beats of classic detective movies. Especially the ridiculously overwrought plot.

      While Bogie and Bacall get all the attention, I found the scene with the woman in the bookstore across the street from Geiger’s incredibly sexy. And the actress who played Carmen’s (Martha Vickers) delivery of the line “you’re cute” was similarly alluring. It’s amazing to me the lengths some movies go to create titillating scenes with skin and sex when good chemistry, acting, and writing can do it with much more elegance.

      And, I think it’s neat that William Faulkner co-wrote the screenplay. While it seems to be changing a little, I feel like novelists have been missing from the screenwriting trade for a while.

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