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The Big Sleep (1946)

aka The Big Sleep

"The picture they were born for!"

Directed By: 
Details: 116 mins · English


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Classic Noir

I am the first to admit that my attention span just isn't the best thing in the world for old movies. I still get enjoyment out of them though, and this one has a lot to enjoy, from great suspense, to amazing acting. The story is convoluted though (like others in the genre), and if you're like me you can get lost or distracted and start doing something else. Humphrey Bogart brings you back in eventually though as it is impossible not to listen to him while he talks. If you like Noir, sit down for a good time, if it isn't your bag, sit down anyway and you might open a horizon.

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Small Philip Marlowe
Small Eddie Mars
Small Carmen Sternwood
Small Acme Book Shop Proprietress
Small Vivian Sternwood Rutledge
Small Mona Mars
No_movie_poster General Sternwood
Small Chief Inspector Bernie Ohls
Small Norris the Butler
Small Harry Jones
No_movie_poster Joe Brody
Small Lash Canino
No_movie_poster Art Huck
No_movie_poster Agnes Lowzier


No_movie_poster Jack L. Warner Executive Producer
No_movie_poster Max Steiner Original Music Composer
No_movie_poster Carl Jules Weyl Art Direction
No_movie_poster Perc Westmore Makeup Artist
No_movie_poster Jules Furthman Screenplay
No_movie_poster Leigh Brackett Screenplay
No_movie_poster Robert B. Lee Sound Designer
Small Howard Hawks Director
No_movie_poster Raymond Chandler Novel
No_movie_poster William Faulkner Screenplay
No_movie_poster Sidney Hickox Director of Photography
No_movie_poster Christian Nyby Editor
No_movie_poster Fred M. MacLean Set Decoration
Small Howard Hawks Production
No_movie_poster Raymond Chandler Story Contributor
No_movie_poster Christian Nyby Editing


"The picture they were born for!"

"It's terrific!"

"The type of man she hated . . . was the type she wanted !"

"The Violence-Screen's All-Time Rocker-Shocker!"


"It's a smash!"


Private detective Philip Marlowe (Bogart) calls on new client General Sternwood (Waldron) at his Los Angeles mansion. The wealthy retired general wants to resolve gambling debts his daughter, Carmen Sternwood (Vickers), owes to bookseller Arthur Gwynn Geiger. As Marlowe is leaving, General Sternwood's older daughter, Mrs. Vivian Rutledge (Bacall), stops him. She suspects her father's true motive for calling in a detective is to find his young friend Sean Regan, who had mysteriously disappeared a month earlier.

Marlowe goes to Geiger's rare book shop. Agnes Louzier (Darrin), Geiger's assistant, minds the shop, which is the front for an illegal operation. Marlowe follows Geiger to his house, where he hears a gunshot and a woman scream. Breaking in, he finds Geiger's body and a drugged Carmen, as well as a hidden camera with an empty cartridge. Marlowe picks up Carmen and takes her home. He goes back to the house, but discovers the body is no longer there. Marlowe later learns that the Sternwood driver has been found dead, with his car driven off a pier.

Vivian comes to Marlowe's office the next morning with scandalous pictures of Carmen she received with a blackmail demand for the negatives. Marlowe returns to Geiger's bookstore, where they are packing up the store. Marlowe follows a car to the apartment of Joe Brody (Heydt), a gambler who previously blackmailed General Sternwood. He returns to Geiger's house and finds Carmen there. She initially claims ignorance about the murder, then insists Brody killed Geiger. They are interrupted by the owner of the home, small-time gangster Eddie Mars (Ridgely).

Marlowe follows Vivian to the apartment of Joe Brody, where they find an armed Brody and a hiding Agnes, interrupted by Carmen, who wants her photos. Marlowe keeps the pictures and sends Vivian and Carmen home. Brody admits he was blackmailing both General Sternwood and Vivian, then he is suddenly shot and killed; the assailant flees. Marlowe chases and apprehends Carol Lundgren, Geiger's former driver, who has killed Brody in revenge for Geiger's death.

Marlowe visits Mars' casino, where he asks about Regan, who is supposed to have run off with Mars' wife. Mars is evasive and tells Marlowe that Vivian is running up gambling debts. Vivian wins a big wager and then wants Marlowe to take her home. A stooge of Mars' attempts to rob Vivian, but Marlowe intervenes and knocks him out.

While driving home, Marlowe unsuccessfully presses Vivian on her connection with Mars, saying he knew the money she won and subsequent robbery was a setup by Mars and her. Vivian admits to nothing. Marlowe returns home to find a flirtatious Carmen waiting for him. She admits she didn't like Regan and mentions that Mars calls Vivian frequently. She attempts to seduce Marlowe, who throws her out of his apartment. In the morning, Vivian calls to say that Regan has been found in Mexico, and that she is going to see him.

Harry Jones (Cook), an associate of Brody's who apparently is now Agnes' lover, conveys an offer from Agnes to reveal the location of Mars' wife for $200. However, when Marlowe goes to meet Jones, a hired killer called Canino is there attempting to find Agnes himself. Jones is poisoned by Canino after disclosing her location (which turns out to be false).

Marlowe goes to meet Agnes after she telephones the office where Jones was killed. She reveals that she's seen Mona Mars near a town called Realito by an auto repair shop. When he gets there, Marlowe is attacked by Canino. He wakes to find himself tied up, with Mona watching over him. Vivian then comes in. Mona angrily leaves after Marlowe tells her that Mars is a gangster and a killer. Vivian fears for Marlowe's life and frees him, allowing him to get to his car and his gun. She distracts Canino, who is shot by Marlowe. During the drive back to Geiger's bungalow, Vivian unconvincingly tries to claim she killed Sean Regan.

When they arrive, Marlowe calls Mars and lies that he is still in Realito at a pay phone. They arrange to meet at Geiger's house, giving Marlowe ten minutes to prepare. Mars arrives with four men, who set up ambush points outside. Mars enters the home and is surprised by Marlowe, who holds him at gunpoint. Marlowe reveals he has discerned the truth: Mars has been blackmailing Vivian, claiming that her sister Carmen had killed Regan. As soon as Mars threatens Marlowe with his men outside, Marlowe retaliates by firing shots that just miss Mars, causing him to run outside, where he is mistakenly shot by his own men.

Marlowe then calls the police, telling them that Mars is the one who killed Regan. In the process, he tells them Vivian helped him with Eddie Mars, exempting her from criminal prosecution and that her sister Carmen needs a doctor's help.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 1946-08-31 : United States of America

DVD : 2006-07-25

DVD : 2000-02-15