USA 115m, B&W
Director: Howard Hawks; Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Ridgely, Martha Vickers
As stories go, the Big Sleep is as convoluted as they come. There is a never-ending supply of beautiful women, plot twists, double crosses and murder victims, but the smooth-talking detective Philip Marlowe, played by Humphrey Bogart, always gives the impression that he knows what’s going on. Despite the lack of any discernible plot, the script is full of clever dialogue and plenty of sexual innuendo which somehow by-passed the strict censorship rules of the period. The strength of the film lies in Bogart’s great dialogue delivery and screen presence. His scenes with co-star Lauren Bacall, who plays Vivian – Marlowe’s femme fatale, are particularly memorable as he becomes entangled in her sordid affairs and her charms (Klaus Ming May 2009).