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4,298 Ratings

The Big Sleep

Directed by Howard Hawks
United States, 1946
Crime, Film noir, Mystery


A wealthy general seeks out hardboiled private eye Philip Marlowe to resolve his daughter’s gambling debts, but the case becomes much more complicated as people start getting murdered.

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The Big Sleep Directed by Howard Hawks
The sparring with Bacall takes things up to the next level (my favourite favourite thing, the way Bogart SNORTS in reply to Betty’s “My, you’re a mess, aren’t you?”), and then the bookshop stuff is fantastic — a prime example of Hawks getting some fun out of it, assisted by Bogart’s camping it up. I wish Humph did an entire film as that character. This all adds up to just about the best first half hour of any forties movie, and then a helpful corpse turns up just when one is needed.
August 14, 2017
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As twisty as the narrative is, with plot points left unconnected or entirely disregarded, the whole rises above the sum of its absorbing parts. This is a great movie, a quintessential detective film, an expertly crafted noir from writers William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, and Jules Furthman (an uncredited Philip Epstein also contributed decisive material), and a star showcase for leads Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. It is also one of the finest achievements in Hawks’ already illustrious career.
August 31, 2016
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The Big Sleep is such a great novel, but Hawks treats his adaptation of it like a game – an excuse to reteam Bogart and Lauren Bacall, who he’d introduced on 1945’s equally essential To Have and Have Not and who had subsequently married. The result purports to be a mystery thriller (it would later be called a film noir), but it’s also a feature-length excuse to have Bogart and Bacall bat innuendo back and forth at each other with such relish that you’re amazed such talk got past the censors.
August 23, 2016
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