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4.6 out of 5 stars85
4.6 out of 5 stars
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on 13 January 2003
This film is absolutely mesmerizing, a masterpiece full of sharp dialog and a plot so complex not even Raymond Chandler could tell you who commited one of the murders. Bogart is Detective Philip Marlowe and from the moment he arrives to talk to General Sternwood and gets mixed up with his daughters this is a film classic.
Bacall is the sultry older sister, but it is sexy and thumb sucking little sister Martha Vickers he meets first. As he tells Sternwood, "Yeah, we met. She tried to sit in my lap and I was standing up". This is all about gambling debts and murder, all of which leads to Eddie Mars and Carmen (Vickers). But there are more twist and turns here than a rollercoaster, and it moves just about as fast. If you blink, be prepared to start over.
Howard Hawks made a masterpiece here. It is the finest straightforward detective novel ever put on celluloid. William Faulkner adapted Raymond Chandler's greatest literary achievement for Hawks and the whole thing is filmed as a fast moving dream of dialog and images hard to forget. One critic likened it to a huge hangover. That is a perfect description of this film.
Bogart's Marlowe has his hands full trying to keep Carmen out of trouble she may already be in to deep to get out of, and the sparks between he and Bacall may just ignite if he can figure out a way to keep the fast rising body count from getting any higher while keeping himself alive. Bacall has never been more beautiful or inviting than when she is slumped down in the seat of Bogart's car, just waiting for him to kiss her.
You have to see this film to really appreciate it. You'll never see anything else like it in American cinema. Pick up this one as soon as you can.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 17 December 2014
The perfect gift for all movie buffs is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

"I don't mind if you don't like my manners, I don't like them myself. They are pretty bad. I grieve over them on long winter evenings. I don't mind your ritzing me drinking your lunch out of a bottle. But don't waste your time trying to cross-examine me."

Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Howard Hawks and William Faulkner once again come together and this time instead of Ernest Hemingway it is Raymond Chandler who lends his mysterious dark world to this divinely perfect team and the result - unsurprisingly - is a top class labyrinthine murder mystery that benefits from the magnetism of Bogart as the lonely Phillip Marlowe whose no-nonsense approach makes him even more charismatic, the seductive nature of Bacall's femme fatale who is romantic and deadly in equal measures, Hawks' great pacing and his matchless ability in connecting various characters with one another and perhaps most importantly the snappy, iconic and smart lines of Faulkner. And then add a rough noir atmosphere to all this, what else do you need?!

The Big Sleep has that gritty, dark and dirty feeling of hard-boiled novels which makes them unique among detective stories. Phillip Marlowe ain't no Hercules Poirot, he is not a man who sits around talking to suspects solving his problems with the help of his little grey cells, he is a man of action, he is a pragmatic hero who solves his problems with guns and verbal threats. A lonely man with a simple worn-out overcoat who spends his free time in smoke-filled cafes chatting up with girls but he is always aware that he shouldn't let himself walk into the trap of love. He always picks to-the-point lines mixed with sarcasm making you feel his dominant charisma and his unbeatable confidence. And who better than Humphrey Bogart to portray this complicated hardheaded character? Needless to say that he is fantastic in his role, while his stony face doesn't show much emotions but - specially - when he is with Bacall - through his eyes you can see that deep down in his soul there is a storm. And what happens when the storm of Bogart meets the eruptive volcano of emotions which is Bacall?

Speaking about plot details is not helpful here, just note that the film starts with a problem which at first looks to be a very simple and conventional bribery scandal but soon it extends its borders and becomes a maze that is almost impossible to exit. Such is the complexity of The Big Sleep's story. And who doesn't like to watch this intricate detective story that offers thrill, surprise and passionate romance all at once?
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 15 November 2001
This detective thriller is archetypal Bogart and Bacall. Dripping with rich, sensual, dark atmosphere, so that the complexity of the plot (it took me several viewings over many years to get the hang of it) just doesn't matter - don't worry about following every detail, just sit back and let this stylish, classic noir soak in to your consciousness in its own good time.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 31 October 2000
I grew up hearing great stories about Bogart's movies, so much loved by my dad... It took me years before I decided to "face" one of those black&whites and see what the fuss was all about. Now I know: his charms, the lines, the storyboard... I absolutely loved my first Bogey movie and I went straight for more. The Big Sleep provides you with intrigue, suspense, romance and even some action, all of them mixed the right way for a captivating cocktail.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 20 December 2006
This is the first time I've ever seen 'Bogie' in lead role and what a star he is, Lauren Bacall is equally as mesmerising on screen.

The plot is a right old head scratcher as you try to keep track with what the hell is going on, but it's still highly entertaining stuff from the quirky one liners, "she tried to sit on my lap while I was standing up", the nymphomaniac character played by the beautiful Martha Vickers, to the directors obsession that every single female character would find Bogart a sex symbol on first sight, something which he himself thought was amusing.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 20 August 2006
The fact that this has got six five star reviews so far should say something about its quality and there are so many wonderful performances in this film that are really worth highlighting that I hope even in this review I can say something new about it. The point of the film in part is the wonderful relationship between Bacall and Bogart and yet just saying this is a film of that relationship would be completely wrong. There are many other great performances- even by characters whose description is as small as girl in a bookstore.

This film is about as atmospheric as it gets. You can disregard the complicated plot to concentrate solely on the way that each scene, each character almost draws with him or herself an atmosphere. So for instance General Sternwood who hires Marlowe as a private detective has an atmosphere of decadence around him- the heat of his room and the wilting flowers mirror the rottenness of his past. Decadence, moral and actual dominates the film- pornography and violence are referenced though a lot is toned down from the book because of the Production codes in Hollywood at the time.

This is an amazing film to which this review doesn't do adequate justice but I hope it adds to the pile of general approbation and convinces you to give this a try.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Bogart directed by Howard Hawks in a Raymond Chandler adaptation had to be a winner surely? Well the purist novel fans may not be 100% satisfied but nobody can deny the class that seeps from every frame in this film. Gangsters, sluts, weasels, and a gritty (anti) hero are all visually and orally brought to magnificence by Hawks and a cast shooting from the top of the hill.

Often tagged as the unfathomable masterpiece, The Big Sleep has this power that draws you into the picture to feel completely part of it, each punch and shot seems to be a part of your life. It's an incredible experience for film lovers of all ages. Humphrey Bogart is Philip Marlowe, a private investigator called in to solve a blackmail case, and that's all you need to know because you just need to observe as Marlowe lurches from scene to scene, deeper and deeper into a convoluted mire that triumphs as each scene unfolds.

One of the greatest detective films ever made, directed by a genius, starring another, and as dialogue goes it has few peers. 10/10
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 21 August 2002
Perhaps the most famous detective film ever made, and one of the most complex! Still entertaining even after all these years, even though it seems to last hours at times! The chemistry between Bogart and Bacall is legendary; their scenes sparkle, and that wonderful final scene when the police sirens can be heard in the distance and they share "that look." Amazing. As far as the DVD version is concerned. its good, but not brilliant. Picture is clear, especially in the dark scenes, and there are many. Sound is dated, but bear in mind that it is an old film. However, you must buy this since films like this are ageless.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 August 2011
TCM - Africa comes up with occasional surprises. Last night, at a civilised hour, it was The Big Sleep. This is film noir at its scintillating best. The script is sharp and well-paced. The plot is almost impenetrable to the average mind, like mine. The music embraces the action. Bogart and Bacall shoot sometimes barbed sensuality at each other. Bogart seems so self-assured in this role, His vignette with a gorgeous looking Dorothy Malone simmered; she wanted him. The plot's twists and turns keep the viewer guessing throughout. Some of the dialogue is so rapid, there is intended (by the director), overlapping exchanges. It's just so clever. The ending is perfection.

Ian Hunter.
Author of The Early Years
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 16 November 2000
The screen version of Raymond Chandler's novel of the same name is marked by the potent sexual chemistry between the two main stars; Lauren Becall and Humphrey Bogart. This wonderful pairing is buttressed by a fast-paced and ceaselessly witty script that whilst maintaining a dramatic tension, never loses an underlying comic tilt. Philip Marlowe, Bogart's character, is everything you would imagine a private investigator should be, witty without being aloof, strong without losing a strange vulnerability. Whilst it would be untrue to suggest that the film manages to evade confusing the viewer at times, this merely adds to the films allure. Quite simply the big sleep ranks as one of the best detective films of cinema history. The only shame is the long shadow it casts over the modern day tendancy to place far to little importance on scripts of such genuine quality or to so successfully tranfer a novel to the screen. This film is a must see!
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