Big Sleep, The (1946)

 

You WON'T fall asleep! I promise!
You WON'T fall asleep! I promise!

Genre: Mystery Crime Drama Thriller Film Noir

Starring: Humphrey Bogart (The Treasure Of The Sierra MadreThe African Queen), Lauren Bacall (Key Largo • Murder on the Orient Express)

Directed By: Howard Hawkes (Scarface (1932) • Sergeant York)

Overview: When a private dick is hired to clear up into the affairs of an old man, blackmail, murder and double-cross seems to be the order of the day, and all within his own family.

Performance:

Whenever I see a film starring Humphrey Bogart (and think about the name too, I mean it sounds like someone falling down the stairs for Christ's sake), I'm surprised at how unattractive a man he is.

I'm gonna let that all sink in to you Casablanca freaks out there for a moment... recovered yet? My point is, when you think 'Film Star', there's a lot to be desired in the look of Bogart. He's got that gitchy voice that must have been brought on by the speech impediment that's his whole lower jaw, he's not a tall man and he's rather pockmarked too.

But he's cool. He's cool BECAUSE of the way he looks, because he don't care. He's like that short fat guy who's always getting hot dates. You wonder how he does it. Watch The Big Sleep, my friend, and you'll see how he does it. It's cause the story's one hot fantasy adventure. It's basically one stunt after another, watching him pull off the situations and lines he's whipping out.
Rating: 9

Cinematography:

Film Noir? Check. Good times at the gambling hall, nice cars, gats and hats, low-key greatness, this has got it all. The one thing I found most interesting about the cinematography, the visuals, is how... well frankly... objectified the women were. Backgrounds and settings are a very important part of Film Noir, and having said that, the ladies were as important background pieces as anything, still, every woman, be she Lauren Bacall or a waitress, was all dolled up and sported lines that lent weight to the feel of the thing. They added to the fantasy, rather than being representative of... people, consistently hot as they were.
Rating: 8

Script:

"She tried to sit in my lap while I was standing up."

"You know what he'll do when he comes back? Beat my teeth out, then kick me in the stomach for mumbling."

The is not the kind of dialogue you'll run into on the street. This is pre-scripted, pored-over super-wit that is so far beyond real that it goes to a place you wish existed. It's Hollywood, and it's what makes this movie great. It's out there awesomeness that really just needs to be seen to be believed. No matter how bottlenecked the plot gets with all the explaining, when they crack out the zingers, you're loving the balls on these guys... and the ladies too.
Rating: 9

Plot:

Let it not be said that I am without intelligence. I liked Syriana, and I was able to admit that it's a confusing piece of politicking while still declaring my love of it.

That being said, The Big Sleep's first viewing is one that would be better with a plotted-out graph of characters with descriptions and motives. When so many names are flying around that you just want to start over, it says a thing or two about a thing or two. Pay close attention because it's complex. Some will call it multi-layered, but they're the snobs that go around telling the bold-faced lie that they didn't watch this seven times.
Rating: 7

Mood:

Film Noir without a slap in the mouth is like a day without sunshine. Not only that, but after five or six films, you know right when it's going to happen. It's one hell of an interesting phenomenon, and when you get right down to it, what defines a genre of film, is it the innovations - that which is new and different - or is it the warm blanket of predictability. I think you'll agree it's somewhere in the middle. The Big Sleep is about a private dick who deals with guys running a blackmail racket against an old man in a wheelchair. How much more classic can you get? Right, right, The Big Sleep, the trendsetter, I almost forgot.
Rating: 9

If she's not enough to draw you in, the film's full of em...
If she's not enough to draw you in, the film's full of cucpcakes like her...

Overall Rating: 84% (An Eye-Opener)
Aftertaste:

Is a film you have to see again a good film? Is a movie you need to watch over to get what's being hinted at 'good'? Fight Club, yes, Mulholland Drive, yes, Lost Highway, yes, but those are the kinds of films whose mysteries hint right from the beginning.

When you take a film that makes you have to watch it again to enjoy it to the degree you expect the first time, there's something wrong there.

For one who is currently full swing in study mode, I'm not really much for re-watching a film, then watching it again with director's commentary to understand all the subtle nuance. To me, a good film is one I enjoy once, and a great film is one I WANT to watch again, not one I have HAVE to watch again to get the full effect of it.

That was my beef.

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