The Big Sleep - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Big Sleep Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ May 23, 2017
If one enjoys a detective outing that makes sense, where all the dots connect, then one need search elsewhere, making sense is not the purpose here. But if moody atmospherics and crack dialogue is your thing then settle in for one primo experience
February 23, 2017
Good acting by Bogart, but this film holds the dubious title of "most incomprehensible plot I have ever encountered" (minus TDKR).
½ December 16, 2016
Bogart is P.I. Philip Marlowe. There is some serious chemistry between him and hard edged but vulnerable Lauren Bacall. A reasonably faithful adaption of the novel, except for the ending. The plot has been criticized for being to labyrinthine, but that misses the point of the movie. It is about attitude and attraction, and clever, hard boiled dialogue.
December 3, 2016
Another expertly handled Film Noire by Hawks with Bogie and Bacall. Two versions exist. Both are worth watching. On Blu-ray.
½ October 15, 2016
this is a movie that takes its time to really get started, and that develops slowly but surely into a complex puzzle that you really have to pay attention to to really get it. The cinematography is also excellent in this film that adds depth and intensity with every shot.
September 28, 2016
Humphrey Bogart oozes with confidence and wit, so that's a plus, and his chemistry with Lauren Bacall helps a lot.  The dialogue in general is snappy, and the performances are all around good.  Seriously though, I've yet to see a classic noir film that blows me away.  I'm not a fan of the typically convoluted plots these types of flicks contain, which usually adds to me feeling bored most of the time.  I didn't hate The Big Sleep, it just didn't engross me, so I'll keep waiting for that noir classic that fires on all cylinders for me, subjectively.
½ September 20, 2016
"The Big Sleep" contains some of the slyest characters and dialogue noir films of the 1940s had to offer.
September 17, 2016
A good film noir detective flick for the ages.
September 16, 2016
One of the best examples of film noir that really solidified the genre. Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart in their prime, what more could you ask for?
September 7, 2016
To paraphrase Father Ted, "God almighty, Dougal" "What was all that about?" Have sat through 1946 The Big Sleep and thought myself a complete thicky until I researched the damn thing and learned everyone else felt similarly. What a ridiculously complicated film to score 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. There has to be some standard to rating films that penalises over-complexity. Even the makers, including author Raymond Chandler, hadn't fully figured out the story. Unforgiveable in my book. No thanks. 4/10

I will reserve complete judgment until I see the original cut with a slower pace and more salacious tone. But, phew, what a bloody headache.
½ July 29, 2016
I've seen this one a few times now, and I enjoy watching it every time. Bogart and Bacall are great in it. Good direction from Howard Hawks and an interesting story. This is a highly entertaining film-noir and all movie lovers should watch it!
½ July 16, 2016
This movie is the definitive film noir, with witty dialogue, classy women and femmes fatales, an intricate storyline and many interesting twists.
½ July 4, 2016
The Big Sleep is an absolute gem. Featuring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, the film has two leads with perfect chemistry. The film is perfectly written with a smart and witty sense of humor that can be found throughout the film. The crime element here is well developed and incredibly engaging. Often times with these older films, they can kind of drag at times. However, The Big Sleep certainly never does. Instead, from beginning to end, it is thoroughly entertaining due to the great blend of comedy with the more straight forward noir plot. It is not hard to see why The Big Sleep is such a classic. Funny, charming, mysterious, and thrilling, The Big Sleep is timeless.
June 26, 2016
masterpiece, action, suspense and romance in bogart and bacall brilliance!!
June 6, 2016
The Big Sleep is a hard mystery to follow, yet for viewers who are up to the challenge or even for those who get confused, these gritty thrills are nearly impossible to beat.
½ April 20, 2016
Another Bogart Marlowe noir, this time the story is a bit better than, say, the Maltese Falcon, and the dialogue is a little less annoying. It's still quite a forgettable film though.
March 26, 2016
Sensational. On par with the book.
March 3, 2016
Few people would argue with the statement that Humphrey Bogart the greatest gossip magazines never really change over the years American actors. Appearing in almost 90 films his rough voice and distinctive appearance made him a household name in a favorite for Hollywood gossip magazines particularly in the 40s. Many of his greatest films owned by Warner Bros. studio and they have been releasing fully restored versions of these films on high definition Blu-ray. One of the latest is being considered here, 'Key Largo' which drew audiences not only for its intense adaptation of the Raymond Chandler novel of the same name or the screenplay by one of the great American authors, William Faulkner, but because to the stars, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall having an affair and was quickly destroying Bogart's marriage. Hollywood and the fans inexorably drawn to gossip magazines intently followed every solutions detail. Almost the exact same circumstances were duplicated several years ago when Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie became romantically involved ending his marriage to Jennifer Aniston. However the tabloid stories, despite being mostly true, are not what the film is remembered for. This is one of the greatest examples of a film noir detective story. There was a remake in 1978 starring Robert Mitchell and although enjoyable it pales in comparison to this original. Adding a little value to film this movie is being distributed as part of the Warner Archive Collection which is gaining a reputation presenting classic films that pivotal in cinematic history that are fully restored with both audio and video. If you're serious film aficionado then the chances are this is already part of your collection but is also the reason why you should upgrade to this release. You'll be able to discern details in the picture there in detectable some of the early DVD releases.

Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) was a private detective generally working in Los Angeles. This character would serve as the progenitor and template for the hard-boiled, tough as nails detectives that would follow. Most cinematic historians agree that Humphrey Bogart was ideal for the role, sentiment almost universally accepted by the fans. Story such as these would also form the foundation for the Golden age of film noir genre moviemaking that although it began in Germany found its best examples United States. As the story begins Marlowe is summoned to the luxurious home of his newest client, General Sternwood (Charles Waldron). The general was quite wealthy is engaged the services of Marlowe in order to locate the resolution of his daughter, Carmen's (Martha Vickers) other sizable gambling debts owed to Gwynn Geiger (Theodore von Eltz), proprietor of the A.J. Geiger bookstore, the front for the gambling operation. On his way out Marlowe is stopped by the general's older daughter, Mrs. Vivian Rutledge (Lauren Bacall), who warns the effective the father's real motives of being hidden from. A father is actually interesting finding the location of a young friend of his, Sean Regan, mysteriously disappeared a month earlier.

Most delightful aspects of the film noir mystery is how it demands the audience pay attention to the plot and keep track of the intricacies of what the characters are doing. Absolutely nothing straightforward and very few of the characters are what they seem on the surface. When Marlowe starts his investigation by going to the rare bookstore he notices that Geiger's assistant, Agnes Louzier (Sonia Darrin) is watching the store as Geiger slips out. Marlowe follows Geiger back to his home in and while lurking outside he is gunshots within. There followed by a woman screaming from smaller to break in. Once inside he notices Geiger's body in nearby common in a drug status of stupor. There is also the hidden camera and a show from a round of ammunition. He takes Carmen to her home by the time he returns to the Geiger residence the crime scene had been cleaned up in the body is now gone. He subsequently learns that Sternwood's, chauffeur (Owen Taylor), has been found dead with this car the driven off the pier.

Is that every single character is acting in a suspicious fashion and bodies continued to pile up further implicating an increasing number of suspects. Motives abound with everything from jealousy to self-vindication. Illegal battling operation is ideal for pulling in a number of shady characters such as Joe Brody ( Louis Jean Heydt) any mind the gangster, Eddie Mars (John Ridgely). When Marlowe follows Vivian she winds up in Brodie's house he finds the gambler armed Vivian and Agnes hiding. Carmen burst in and demands photographs that had been used to blackmail her. Marlowe intervenes retaining the pictures while sending Vivian and Agnes back home. Pacing of this film is impeccable balancing the urgency of the main situations with the need for a romance to slowly develop between Marlowe and Vivian. It is not so much a romance in the traditional sense but truly the film noir format is a visceral attraction than either one of them can or wants to deny. The scenes between them are considered so sensual for the time the people were afraid that the movie would violate the Hayes law, the codified standard for what would be considered moral behavior in a movie. This resulted in many changes from the book including Geiger's involvement with pornography and being a homosexual.

The romance between Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall did effective performances on screen. He gave a palpable chemistry between the actors in the scenes that they shared, something that even talented actors such as themselves would be able to so completely infuse in their performances. It should be kept in mind that the relationship between both Bogart and Bacall is that Humphrey Bogart was 47 at the time of the shooting while Ms. Bacall was only 22. Although obviously commonplace such December may romances was considered quite scandalous Raymond Chandler was one of the best mystery writers in the world and many thought it would be impossible to bring his novels screen. They were thickly leaving the numerous subplots and ample twist and turns. There is also a significant amount of sensual material that the studios apartment of Standards and Practices were not allowed on film. Fortunately the director of this movie, Howard Hawks, was one of the greatest filmmakers of his time. Occasionally back by millionaire Howard Hughes, Hawks was able to push the envelope far more than most directors in Hollywood. His previous experience with skirting the restrictions set by both the studio and the federal government, included the 1932 original version of 'Scarface' which are mild by contemporary standards including those that apply to the remake, the film that use made in 1922 was nothing short of scandalous and was banned in many locations. There is any man was able to bring a root Raymond Chandler novel to life it would be someone both the talent and intestinal fortitude of Howard Hawks. The terms classic and time was often tossed around with regard to films but very few of them are as well earned on marriage as this movie. It was inducted into the national registry for film preservation and recognition of its cultural significance. These now there is a version with the technical specifications up to the standards of the content.

As an extra treat the 1945 alternate edit of the film is also restored and provided as added content. The version followed a far more linear narrative and was the director's original edit. It had been lost until in the late 1990's it was discovered in the UCLA Film and Television Archive. That cut had been used entertain the troops serving in the South Pacific. Benefactors deeply committed to film preservation including Hugh Hefner, raised the capital to bring the film back to its original glory. Subsequently it enjoyed a brief resurrection on the art house circuit in 1997. The accompanied documentary detailing the differences is also provided here. Warner Brothers is to be lauded for exhibiting such immeasurable respect for not only the value of film as a means of artistic expression but for all of us who have devoted much of our lives to enjoying movies.
February 20, 2016
This continues the incredible run of films Bogie made with now-wife Lauren Bacall. Crackling script ran to perfection by Howard Hawks. Essential, especially for fans of detective thrillers or simply well-made movies.
½ February 16, 2016
The Big Sleep is too complex for one viewing alone; you will have to give it two viewings or more. On first viewing though, it is difficult to follow the many characters and situations (killings, blackmail, romances) and will have you scratching your head instead of enjoying the film. The main thing to take away is that Marlowe and Vivian are falling in love slowly but gradually throughout the film.

Nothing against Hawks here; there is great direction in every scene and the acting is beyond phenomenal. The screenwriters deserve appraisal as well since they have put together a very intricate story which happens to work, even if you can't decipher it on first viewing. Films that make the audience have to think and pay attention usually deserve merit; look at the television show The Wire, for instance. Every detail is there for a reason even if it is difficult to grasp on first viewing. However, with a television show it is easy to fill in gaps of what you may miss in the scenes or even the episodes to follow, but with a film that is just under two hours and as complex as The Big Sleep you NEED to rewatch it. Films with rewatchability is one thing, but films that require you to rewatch them are not necessarily fun experiences. Important maybe, but not fun.

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall are very convincing in their roles. They make the film bearable to watch. There is also some excitement in the film as there are little bits of action when you hear a gunshot or see somebody gunned down. With this film being somewhat action-oriented it makes up for the fact that you cannot follow the plot the first time (but only slightly).

Give this film a shot if it sounds like something you might revisit, but do not be surprised if you're scratching your head through the duration of the film.

3.0/4.0
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