‘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.
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The Big Sleep

Part of our Anniversary Classics series. For details, visit: laemmle.com/ac.

The definitive Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall movie, 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 pornography dealer . 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 story 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 re-shot 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.

Played at

NoHo 7, 11.30.16 - 11.30.16
Playhouse 7, 11.30.16 - 11.30.16
Royal, 11.30.16 - 11.30.16
Rated NR
Runtime: 114 min
Language: English

Director: Howard Hawks
Writer(s): Leigh Brackett, William Faulkner
Cast: Charles Waldron, Humphrey Bogart, John Ridgely, Lauren Bacall, Martha Vickers, Theodore von Eltz
FEATURED REVIEW: Manny Farber, The New Republic
The Big Sleep is an unsentimental, surrealist excitement in which most of the men in Hollywood’s underworld are murdered and most of the women go for an honest but not unwilling private sleuth (Humphrey Bogart). Coinciding with the speci...