Dark Passages: The Films of Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall

The Big Sleep

Howard HawksUSA114 minutes1946PGB&WEnglish

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Jun 10
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Jun 22
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    After their success in To Have and Have Not, Bogart and Bacall reteamed with director Howard Hawks for this classic adaptation of the Raymond Chandler novel, and their verbal sparring was never tarter or more sexually suggestive. Irresistible to women — even a book-store clerk and a lady cabbie can't resist his craggy appeal — Bogart plays private dick Philip Marlowe, who is hired by a wealthy retired general to get his wild youngest daughter out of a fix involving gambling debts. When the general's other daughter, a crisp number with the imposing, triple-barrel name of Vivian Sternwood Rutledge (Bacall at her coolest), suggests that murder may also be included in her sister's shenanigans, Marlowe is drawn into a deadly web of lies, betrayal, and blackmail. Half the fun of this wondrously convoluted noir is relinquishing all claims on logic and getting lost in its maze of boggling twists and turns — though Bogie's unruffled gumshoe seems to understand everything that's going on even when we don't have a clue. "An unqualified masterpiece" (The Washington Post).

    Print courtesy of BFI Distribution.