RogerBW's Blog

The Big Sleep 26 July 2021

1946 noir, dir. Howard Hawks, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall: IMDb / allmovie. The general hires the private eye to deal with his daughter's blackmailer…

Many people despise the 1931 and 1936 adaptations of The Maltese Falcon for not being the 1941. For me it's the other way round: I enjoy this film less because it isn't the 1941 Maltese Falcon, and just as in those other cases I can see that it's an unfair comparison.

But I think the problem is that where Falcon has a relatively straightforward plot Sleep has multiple instances of criminality all pulling in different directions; Hawks famously cabled Chandler to ask just what did happen to Owen Regan the chauffeur, whether he was actually murdered and if so by whom, and Chandler didn't know. This is much more a film of incident: here are Bogart and Bacall smouldering at each other, here is Bogart punching a guy in the face, here is more Noir Stuff happening. The usual approach to this kind of thing is "turn your brain off and enjoy it", and that's a thing I don't like to have to do.

I'd like to give a nod to Dorothy Malone, the Acme Bookshop girl; she was in a few bigger parts, notably Written on the Wind, but somehow she never seemed to get the breaks.

Still, I've seen the 1945 cut as well – the one with the 20 minutes of material that was excised to make room for more Bogart/Bacall smouldering in the wake of To Have and Have Not, including an explanation of the Plot So Far – and it's a worse film. Sleep just isn't that great as a story (apart from anything else, it has nothing approximating a moral dilemma for, well, anyone really); as a vehicle for these two stars it's much more enjoyable.

But even the original cut has the upbeat ending. In the book, Marlowe does not end up in a clinch with Vivian; they part, and he wists after Mona Mars, and never sees her again either. But, hey, Hollywood…

It's all right in close-up, but shuffle the scenes out of order and it would be nearly as good. I can't love it.

Once more if you want more of my witterings you should listen to Ribbon of Memes.

Tags: film reviews

Add A Comment

Your Name
Your Email
Your Comment

Your submission will be ignored if any field is left blank, but your email address will not be displayed. Comments will be processed through markdown.

Search
Archive
Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life julie enfield kickstarter learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana mecha men with beards museum music mystery naval non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1