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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So It's Not Bogie and Bacall, It Still Works
The American movie star Robert Mitchum headlines the 1978 British-made adaptation of Californian Raymond Chandler's famous noir novel of the same name The Big Sleep: A Philip Marlowe Mystery (Penguin Fiction). The Mitchum film is generally considered an inferior remake of the 1946 American-made adaptation of the same novel, The Big Sleep [1946] [DVD] that starred Humphrey...
Published on 11 Dec 2011 by Stephanie De Pue

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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Who thought this was a good idea and how drunk were they at the time?
The Big Sleep has to be the most bizarre pitch of the 70s: giving Michael Winner carte blanche to transfer Philip Marlowe from LA's mean streets to the Green Streets of suburban England. With so many of the stellar supporting cast just so terribly wrong for their parts - a drunken Richard Boone with his leg in a cast as an unintentionally comical Lash Canino, Sarah Miles...
Published on 7 Mar 2009 by Trevor Willsmer


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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Who thought this was a good idea and how drunk were they at the time?, 7 Mar 2009
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Big Sleep [DVD] (DVD)
The Big Sleep has to be the most bizarre pitch of the 70s: giving Michael Winner carte blanche to transfer Philip Marlowe from LA's mean streets to the Green Streets of suburban England. With so many of the stellar supporting cast just so terribly wrong for their parts - a drunken Richard Boone with his leg in a cast as an unintentionally comical Lash Canino, Sarah Miles with the worst wardrobe and the biggest Afro you've ever seen on a white woman displaying all the sex appeal of a decomposing antelope in the Lauren Bacall role, Edward Fox as a bookie, John The Thief of Bagdad Justin as a glass-eyed gay blackmailer and Richard Todd as the police commissioner - it's only Robert Mitchum who keeps the thing afloat, even managing to keep a straight face when confronted with such dangerous characters as Dudley Sutton and Derek Deadman. On one level it is perversely watchable without ever being gleefully bad, but like almost all of Winner's films it shows his amazing ability to flatten any material he gets his hands on. Still, at least Mitchum amused himself on the set telling any passing Arabs he saw that Michael Winner was forcing the cast to give 25% of their salary to Mossad and then giving them the director's home address - "You can't miss it, it's the one with the effigy of Yasser Arafat hanging from the chimney."

After being available as an extras-free DVD for years, ITV's special edition DVD adds a decent collection of extras - an introduction and audio commentary by an emaciated but unapologetic Michael Winner, a 5-minute making of short from the film's 1978 release, an interview with Maxim Jacubowski on Chandler and a somewhat whimsical 'on location' short with a bearded Robert Powell complete with umbrella trying to make the most of some ill-fitting hardboiled dialogue as he revisits the film's UK locations. Curiously the film's original trailer has not been included.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Who thought this was a good idea and how drunk were they at the time?, 22 Feb 2006
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Big Sleep [DVD] (DVD)
The Big Sleep has to be the most bizarre pitch of the 70s: giving Michael Winner carte blanche to transfer Philip Marlowe from LA's mean streets to the Green Streets of suburban England. With so many of the stellar supporting cast just so terribly wrong for their parts - a drunken Richard Boone with his leg in a cast as an unintentionally comical Lash Canino, Sarah Miles with the worst wardrobe and the biggest Afro you've ever seen on a white woman displaying all the sex appeal of a decomposing antelope in the Lauren Bacall role, Edward Fox as a bookie, John The Thief of Bagdad Justin as a glass-eyed gay blackmailer and Richard Todd as the police commissioner - it's only Robert Mitchum who keeps the thing afloat, even managing to keep a straight face when confronted with such dangerous characters as Dudley Sutton and Derek Deadman. On one level it is perversely watchable without ever being gleefully bad, but like almost all of Winner's films it shows his amazing ability to flatten any material he gets his hands on. Still, at least Mitchum amused himself on the set telling any passing Arabs he saw that Michael Winner was forcing the cast to give 25% of their salary to Mossad and then giving them the director's home address - "You can't miss it, it's the one with the effigy of Yasser Arafat hanging from the chimney."

No extras on Carlton's original 'Silver series' DVD - for that you need ITV's reissue, with trailer, original 1978 making of short, a couple of featurettes and audio commentary and introduction by Winner.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not as bad as you'd think!!, 27 Aug 2002
This review is from: The Big Sleep [DVD] (DVD)
this film takes a real panning in most guide books but it is really not too bad.
mitchum is just right as an ageing marlowe and, once you get used to the english seting, the action rattles along at a cracking pace.
the cast is good (especially oliver reed)and the story follows chandlers' book much more closely than the 40s version (which is indeed a classic).
if you expect art you wont find it here, what you will find is a well made, solidly entertaining movie.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So It's Not Bogie and Bacall, It Still Works, 11 Dec 2011
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Big Sleep [DVD] (DVD)
The American movie star Robert Mitchum headlines the 1978 British-made adaptation of Californian Raymond Chandler's famous noir novel of the same name The Big Sleep: A Philip Marlowe Mystery (Penguin Fiction). The Mitchum film is generally considered an inferior remake of the 1946 American-made adaptation of the same novel, The Big Sleep [1946] [DVD] that starred Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. In any case, the plot centers on private investigator Marlowe, called to the aid of a rich family, the Sternwoods, who are being blackmailed.

The 1946 American version is a classic of film noir, and an enduring entry in the Bogie/Bacall canon. But can we look at it a bit more closely? It's a Howard Hawks production, from Warner Brothers Studios. It is, of course, in black and white: Warners' made everything in black and white. And who says a noir film can't be done in color? What about the later "Body Heat," "Against All Odds," or "The Long Goodbye?" Or the famous trio of British noir pictures, "Mona Lisa," "Get Carter," and "The Long Good Friday?"

Hawks and Warners' did spring for famous novelist William Faulkner as head screenwriter on the picture. But it could hardly be more obvious that what all three wanted was simply a follow-up vehicle for Bogie and Bacall, who'd just burned up the screen in To Have and Have Not [1944]. From looking at the picture, a case can be made that any story would have done them, as long as it showcased the studio's new golden couple, and they sure didn't throw money up on the screen. Black and white. Filmed totally on the back lot: General Sternwood is supposed to be rich, yet we never see the exterior of his house, only interiors. In fact, almost the entire movie is shot in interiors. The picture had Bogie and Bacall, all right; Martha Vickers and Dorothy Malone in important supporting parts. Beyond that, you'll notice Warners' didn't even send over their usual suspects on the A list of supporting players, the people you see in "Casablanca." Only supporting players you've ever heard of are Elisha Cook and Bob Steele. However, Warners' did send over a half-dozen young studio starlets, whose sole purpose seems to be making eyes at Bogie, as if they needed to underline his attractiveness to the female sex. And the studio stops the movie cold so Bacall can sing a sexy song: hey, it worked in TO HAVE.

Let's take a closer look at the English version. Sir Lew Grade did spend money on the picture. He moved it to England, well, okay. He filmed it in color, horrors. He and Michael Winner, the director/screenwriter do open the story up, showing us exteriors, the English countryside, scenes of London. Nothing wrong with that. It's not as claustrophobic as the '46 version-- must film noir be claustrophobic? Some elements of the book and the Bogart treatment don't play as well as they did; the child pornography in the bookstore, the porn its owner is making of Carmen Sternwood, the bookstore owner's gay lover. They were hardly earth-shattering in 1970's England. In fact, it's popularly thought that England was awash in that stuff at that time. So the movie loses some force there.

Many people consider Mitchum too old to play Marlowe, and he was, by a couple of decades. But the humanity of his lived-in fact adds a dimension of feeling to the picture. His fancy car, suits and Rolex watch? It's a puzzlement. Many people also consider Sarah Miles to be no Lauren Bacall, and she wasn't. Furthermore, if there's a hairdressers' hell, that's where her hairdresser belongs; her clothes are kind of clunky, too. But Charles Waldron, who played the General in '46, is no Jimmy Stewart, who played the General in '78. The Warners' butler, Charles D. Brown, was no Harry Andrews, the British. The Warners' Eddie Mars, John Ridgely, was no Oliver Reed. The Warners' Mona Mars, Peggy Knudsen, was no Diana Quick. The Warners' Bernie Ohls, Regis Toomie, was no Sir John Mills. The Warners' Joe Brody, Louis Jean Heyd, was no Edward Fox. The Warners' Agnes, Dorothy Malone, in fact, was no Joan Collins. The Warners' Bob Steele, as Lash Canino, sorry, but he was no Richard Boone. The Warners' Jonesie, actually, Elisha Cook, was no Colin Blakely, either. And then there's Richard Todd as the English Commander Blake. Candy Clark in the English Carmen role, well, she gets naked, and Martha Vickers' is the class act.

Basically, these are two different pictures, made with different aims, and by different philosophies. The Mitchum picture has stood up to the test of time, as has Bogart's. A lot of people will tell you the English take is truer to Chandler's book than is Hollywood's. (Though neither movie can solve the mystery of Owen Taylor, the Sternwood family chauffeur, found in the family limo, in the water, dead) Then again, the author Chandler, who cobbled together three short stories to make this book, never did solve that bit himself. In sum, the English ending is much truer to the book's than is Hollywood's. After all, book and movies are called "The Big Sleep," and they are, at their heart, about the disappearance of Rusty Regan, and where he might be.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Judge it on its merits not its predecessors, 30 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Big Sleep [DVD] (DVD)
Okay its not a classic but its thoroughly entertaining. Mitcham is great, Reed, Sutton, Miles et al are as watchable as ever and it comes with a great commentary from Winner. It is was an original film it would be a four easy just on entertainment value; if you think about in terms of the original then it pales to insignificance...but who cares
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gladioli, 21 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The Big Sleep [DVD] (DVD)
Was staying in the house of the first murder, so had to see how it has changed. Very good adaptation of book, we enjoyed trying to recognise various places. We'll worth getting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It is Mitchum, 28 Jun 2013
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Mr. M. Stagg "MikeHydro" (Somerset England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Big Sleep [DVD] (DVD)
If Mitchum it has to be good and this is classic, well delivered, present from daughter so I can indulge in Video evening. The scenes are great and the reproduction has enabled the real experience again which some digital do not. As Rhys Ifans said a right fest of video for tonight.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Present - wll received, 20 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Big Sleep [DVD] (DVD)
This was a present for a big Raymond Chandler fan. He wanteds this to compare with the Bogart film and expected it to be not as good. He says it is OK but not as well acted as the other film. However, it was worth the comparison. Would recommend to fans of Chandler if only to see how the different films compare.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Big Sleep, 23 April 2013
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This review is from: The Big Sleep [DVD] (DVD)
Not the greatest film I have seen, but I am a great fan of Robert Mitchum so like to watch all his films
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Remake.............., 1 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Big Sleep [DVD] (DVD)
When the late Michael Winner's 1978 remake of Raymond Chandler's epic novel reached our screens it came in for much critical flak from many quarters but I liked it then and even more so now. Replacing Bogart and Bacall from the original US version was always going to be difficult but Mr Winner has more accurately followed what can only be be described as one of the most convoluted plots ever written. Robert Mitchum, Sarah Miles, Joan Collins and James Stewart work exceptionally well together although Oliver Reed seems unconvincing in several of his scenes. However my award of 4 stars is nothing to do with any minor thespian shortcomings but more reflects that, to an Englishman at least, the tale appears out of place being filmed in London and Knebworth House (the latter, incidentally, not mentioned in Robert Powell's resume of locations) as opposed to Caifornia. In his opening comments Mr Winner says he felt remaking the film within America would not have worked but given his talent as a director I cannot think that such would have been the case. An excellent film presented with equivalent technical qualities and well worth having on one's personal library.
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