Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Big Sleep

DVD review from The Movie Snob

The Big Sleep (B). This 1946 release is based on a novel by Raymond Chandler. Humphrey Bogart (Key Largo) stars as hard-boiled L.A. private investigator Philip Marlowe. A wealthy widower hires him to handle what looks like a straightforward case of blackmail -- the widower's flightly younger daughter has run up some gambling debts. But the case turns out to be anything but straightforward as murders begin to pile up, and the widower's older daughter (played by Lauren Bacall, Kay Largo) turns Marlowe's head while concealing secrets of her own. It's an enjoyable film, even though I couldn't follow all the twists and turns of the plot. (Amusingly, the extra features on the DVD report that Chandler himself couldn't explain who killed one particular character or why.) Bogart and Bacall have chemistry, and there is some entertainingly snappy dialogue, such as between Marlowe and a cute female cab driver. There's even a scene in which Marlowe, needing to spy on a shady character from a bookstore across the street, smoothly seduces the bookstore's proprietress (who's quite attractive herself, once she takes off her glasses and lets her hair down). Fun stuff.


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