Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Big Sleep (1946)

The Big Sleep is one of my favorite Bogie and Bacall films. Last night, there was a theater by me that was playing it, so I got to see it on the big screen. The turn out for the showing was incredible. Someone actually had to sit on the stairs because they couldn't find a seat! No one kicked them out either, if we had needed to escape from a fire, I'm pretty sure we could have still done it, even though sitting on a staircase is a fire hazard and I've seen people kicked out for sitting there.

I went to a showing that included a discussion because it's actually part of a class. I got to listen to some of it, but I was starving, so I had to leave because when my blood sugar drops, I must get food as soon as possible. Next time, I'm eating something before so that I can listen more. I had forgotten how long the film was.

Before the film began, the Professor of the class discussed Film Noir and how it came about. He mentioned that a lot of people thought it came from German Expressionism, however, it was the French who first came up with the name for it, during the French New Wave. Also, he mentioned World War II, which was the time period, before and after, that film noir was developed. A lot of film noir films, including The Big Sleep, were shown to soldiers before they were released to be viewed by the general public. Also, it must be noted that film noir isn't a genre, it is more of a mood or tone that a film possesses. 

The Big Sleep starring Bogie and Bacall has two versions. The one that was released in 1946 and an earlier version from 1945. We watched the 1946 version. There is also a version from 1978 starring Robert Mitchum, which I have not seen. 

This film is awesome. Bogie is perfect as private detective Philip Marlowe, who is hired by an old man, General Sternwood (Charles Waldron), who is worried about some problems that the family has been dealing with. The main problem is his nymphomaniac drug addict daughter Carmen Sternwood (Martha Vickers), who always seems to find trouble because of the company she hangs around with. This problem in particular leads Marlowe to discover even more problems that the family is involved with, which include a disappearance, murders, and blackmail.

Bogie says his witty and usually condescending smart-ass comments with such perfection that you'd think that he was Marlowe. I've read Farewell, My Lovely and I'm in the middle of The Long Goodbye, which are other Chandler novels based on Marlowe, and I still imagine Bogie as him. The performances given by Bacall and Vickers are excellent as well. Bogie and Bacall are perfect together and their suggestive dialogue is entertaining and humorous. Vickers plays a very believable psychotically unstable character. Watch the film to see what I mean.


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