Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Big Sleep (1946)

Bogart Film Fest Movie #1 (Shamus re-created a scene from The Big Sleep, and that film was obviously inspired by the 1946 classic, so I figured I would commence a long-planned tribute to Humphrey Bogart. Please click the link to read my review of the 1978 remake, featuring Robert Mitchum as a much older Philip Marlowe).

Synopsis: Bogie bangs Bacall, bags big, bad, blackmailer.

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “LA private eye Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) takes on a blackmail case...and nearly wears out his gumshoes following a convoluted trail peopled with murderers, pornographers, nightclub rogues, the spoiled rich and more!”

What Did I Learn?: 1) Splashing a bit of cold water on your face is just what you need to quickly recover from a savage beating delivered by a couple of hired goons. 2) If somebody remarks that you’re not very tall, the proper response is: “well, I try to be.”

Really?: 1) Um, who pushed the chauffeur off the pier? Believe it or not, Raymond Chandler – the guy who wrote the novel upon which this movie is based – was asked that very question and even he didn’t know! 2) Marlowe says he’s been to college, but he confuses Argentine with Egyptian, and doesn’t know how to pronounce “ceramics”.

Rating: The plot of this movie is indeed convoluted, and doesn’t entirely makes sense (see Really?), but The Big Sleep is definitely a classic detective film noir; Bogart is cool (and funny – the scene of him disguised as a nerdy book collector is memorable), Bacall is sexy, and the two of them enjoy some undeniable chemistry together. The Big Sleep is best enjoyed with your logical left brain turned off, and your right brain keyed to appreciate its hard-boiled, 1940s style.7.5/10 stars.

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