The Big Sleep Reviews

  • Oct 16, 2020

    Don't let the film's status as a classic fool you - the plot is exceptionally clunky, to the point where a substantial proportion of reviews seem to begin with some variation of "Yes, the narrative has more twists than a pretzel factory, BUT...". Lots of characters thrown at the audience very quickly and relationships that need to be constantly recalled and updated in quick succession due to the rapid plot developments make the film seem unwieldy at times. Whether or not the remainder of the film makes up for it is likely a matter of personal preference, particularly the slick style, Bogart's iconic take on the noir private detective, and the dialogue that seems polarizing - either clichéd or classic. There are some practical shortcomings that some may choose to love for their faults as well, like the occasional off timing of character entrances, some decidedly poor acting among the bit performances, and the laughably terrible fake punches. I'm of the opinion that despite how much the film contributed to the development of the genre, particularly in pop culture, and how enjoyable parts of the film undeniably are and the timeless cool that Bogart gives off as Marlowe, there have been substantially better renditions of the noir genre. (4/5)

    Don't let the film's status as a classic fool you - the plot is exceptionally clunky, to the point where a substantial proportion of reviews seem to begin with some variation of "Yes, the narrative has more twists than a pretzel factory, BUT...". Lots of characters thrown at the audience very quickly and relationships that need to be constantly recalled and updated in quick succession due to the rapid plot developments make the film seem unwieldy at times. Whether or not the remainder of the film makes up for it is likely a matter of personal preference, particularly the slick style, Bogart's iconic take on the noir private detective, and the dialogue that seems polarizing - either clichéd or classic. There are some practical shortcomings that some may choose to love for their faults as well, like the occasional off timing of character entrances, some decidedly poor acting among the bit performances, and the laughably terrible fake punches. I'm of the opinion that despite how much the film contributed to the development of the genre, particularly in pop culture, and how enjoyable parts of the film undeniably are and the timeless cool that Bogart gives off as Marlowe, there have been substantially better renditions of the noir genre. (4/5)

  • Sep 06, 2020

    The plot makes no sense but every character is perfect in this wonderful crime thriller. Bogart's finest hour but then he had so many of them. Of its time so you have to read between the lines at times and perfect. Acting and especially direction top notch. Sometimes they do get it right. This is one of those times.

    The plot makes no sense but every character is perfect in this wonderful crime thriller. Bogart's finest hour but then he had so many of them. Of its time so you have to read between the lines at times and perfect. Acting and especially direction top notch. Sometimes they do get it right. This is one of those times.

  • Aug 15, 2020

    Even for those of us who want a story that flows much more fluidly, The Big Sleep is entertaining. It's got great dialogue and a few good performances, although the leading lady is not among those.

    Even for those of us who want a story that flows much more fluidly, The Big Sleep is entertaining. It's got great dialogue and a few good performances, although the leading lady is not among those.

  • Aug 05, 2020

    Disappointed. Once again I notice that these stories on the silver screen were written for audiences back then. I don't think the same schmaltz gathers much today. Those dated exchanges between Bogart and his wife almost seem like bad cocktail conversation. Chances are that today's stuff -if they had a chance to see it- wouldn't appeal to them either.

    Disappointed. Once again I notice that these stories on the silver screen were written for audiences back then. I don't think the same schmaltz gathers much today. Those dated exchanges between Bogart and his wife almost seem like bad cocktail conversation. Chances are that today's stuff -if they had a chance to see it- wouldn't appeal to them either.

  • Jul 28, 2020

    The story line was very, very complicated.....you needed a score card to keep track of the many, many characters and who did what to whom......gave it three stars for the acting and the fine print. Bogart does a great job in handling the very fast dialogue...And Lauren B was quite fetching...in her 1940's outfits...but Martha Vickers was the better looking one, as the younger sister. WOW. So if you have a scorecard to follow the script...you should enjoy this fine film nior from 1946... .

    The story line was very, very complicated.....you needed a score card to keep track of the many, many characters and who did what to whom......gave it three stars for the acting and the fine print. Bogart does a great job in handling the very fast dialogue...And Lauren B was quite fetching...in her 1940's outfits...but Martha Vickers was the better looking one, as the younger sister. WOW. So if you have a scorecard to follow the script...you should enjoy this fine film nior from 1946... .

  • Jul 22, 2020

    Nothing special despite its classic reputation.

    Nothing special despite its classic reputation.

  • Jul 12, 2020

    Fast talking people wearing long coats and tilted hat

    Fast talking people wearing long coats and tilted hat

  • Jul 03, 2020

    Arguably the best film noir ever made.

    Arguably the best film noir ever made.

  • Jun 12, 2020

    The Big Complication. The Big Sleep, regarded as one of the greatest noirs of movie history, had a production almost as complicated as the its plot, adapted, and softened in order to meet the draconian censorship of the Hays Code, from the 1939 Raymond Chandler's novel with the same title, that gave birth to the Philip Marlowe character. Finished in 1945, then subject to major reshooting to give more depth and breadth to Lauren Bacall's character and, particularly, to her romance with Humphrey Bogart, The Big Sleep was eventually released in 1946, conveniently few months after the wedding of its two leading actors. As widely known, the plot is baroque to say the least and Hollywood legend has that the very Raymond Chandler, asked by director Howard Hawks about some of the story's nexuses, was not able to explain them! However, the crafted direction of Howard Hawks is able to keep the viewer's attention always alive, subtly moving the centre of gravity of the movie from the developments of the criminal story to the developments of the attraction between Vivian Rutledge, played by Lauren Bacall at her fourth movie after her debut, still a teen-ager and under the direction of her Pygmalion Howard Hawks, in To Have and To Have Not, where she met the man, twenty five years older, at his third marriage and already a bright star, with whom she will form one of the most legendary Hollywood couples, in life and on screen, and that here plays Philip Marlowe, another sophisticated performance of Humphrey Bogart, as usual unrivalled in blending an abrasive harshness with an irrepressible empathy. The movie, although interesting for its multi-leads narrative built as a sort of matrioska of crime and rotten humanity, does not hide, even from its launching trailers, how much it is focused on the two leading actors and it banks on their close-ups and their intense, sexually charged, bickering, most often a truly witty and lively dialogue, without paying too much attention to clarify, not even at the end, what really happened: in the original version a scene where Inspector Bernie Ohls, a good Regis Toomey, and Philip Marlowe go together over the facts, explaining them for the benefit of the most likely still puzzled audience, has been sacrificed in the final cut to make more room for Lauren Bacall and her relationship with Bogart. Notwithstanding these patent commercial tricks, the movie had undoubtedly represented a milestone In the history of the classic film noir: while the film is not particularly innovative, neither in the structure nor in the camerawork, the performance of Bogart, already a big star in Hollywood, creates another icon of the private detective character, cynic yet deeply human: even if others have played both Sam Spade and Philip Marlow, The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep have linked them unavoidably to Humphrey Bogart's facial expression. A movie that every film buff should watch and that, even after many years, has aged very well and has been able to remain interesting and filmically attractive, well beyond the advertised romance of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

    The Big Complication. The Big Sleep, regarded as one of the greatest noirs of movie history, had a production almost as complicated as the its plot, adapted, and softened in order to meet the draconian censorship of the Hays Code, from the 1939 Raymond Chandler's novel with the same title, that gave birth to the Philip Marlowe character. Finished in 1945, then subject to major reshooting to give more depth and breadth to Lauren Bacall's character and, particularly, to her romance with Humphrey Bogart, The Big Sleep was eventually released in 1946, conveniently few months after the wedding of its two leading actors. As widely known, the plot is baroque to say the least and Hollywood legend has that the very Raymond Chandler, asked by director Howard Hawks about some of the story's nexuses, was not able to explain them! However, the crafted direction of Howard Hawks is able to keep the viewer's attention always alive, subtly moving the centre of gravity of the movie from the developments of the criminal story to the developments of the attraction between Vivian Rutledge, played by Lauren Bacall at her fourth movie after her debut, still a teen-ager and under the direction of her Pygmalion Howard Hawks, in To Have and To Have Not, where she met the man, twenty five years older, at his third marriage and already a bright star, with whom she will form one of the most legendary Hollywood couples, in life and on screen, and that here plays Philip Marlowe, another sophisticated performance of Humphrey Bogart, as usual unrivalled in blending an abrasive harshness with an irrepressible empathy. The movie, although interesting for its multi-leads narrative built as a sort of matrioska of crime and rotten humanity, does not hide, even from its launching trailers, how much it is focused on the two leading actors and it banks on their close-ups and their intense, sexually charged, bickering, most often a truly witty and lively dialogue, without paying too much attention to clarify, not even at the end, what really happened: in the original version a scene where Inspector Bernie Ohls, a good Regis Toomey, and Philip Marlowe go together over the facts, explaining them for the benefit of the most likely still puzzled audience, has been sacrificed in the final cut to make more room for Lauren Bacall and her relationship with Bogart. Notwithstanding these patent commercial tricks, the movie had undoubtedly represented a milestone In the history of the classic film noir: while the film is not particularly innovative, neither in the structure nor in the camerawork, the performance of Bogart, already a big star in Hollywood, creates another icon of the private detective character, cynic yet deeply human: even if others have played both Sam Spade and Philip Marlow, The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep have linked them unavoidably to Humphrey Bogart's facial expression. A movie that every film buff should watch and that, even after many years, has aged very well and has been able to remain interesting and filmically attractive, well beyond the advertised romance of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

  • May 08, 2020

    Confusing at times but worth the watch. Love the actors.

    Confusing at times but worth the watch. Love the actors.