Wednesday, 25 March 2009

The Big Sleep

1946 - Dir: Howard Hawkes
Shown at The FeckenOdeon on 25th November, 2006
This has to be one of the all time classics - they don’t make ‘em like this any more... but how we wish they would!
“The Big Sleep” is memorable for many things but the main thing that comes sizzling out of the screen is the chemistry between its stars - Bogart and Bacall on cracking form in a Raymond Chandler tale that’ll have you so far on the edge of your seat you’ll practically levitate. No couple in the history of the silver screen has possessed the mystique enjoyed by Bogart and Bacall. Their romance began on the set of “To Have and Have Not” then continued through three other movies (The Big Sleep, Dark Passage, and Key Largo) and on into real life. Both were stars of great magnitude, with Bogart eclipsing every other male lead of that era. He was 44. She was 19. He was married to an alcoholic. She wasn’t. She was nervous. He found a way to make her less nervous.... and it’s all happening behind the scenes in “The Big Sleep”!
· Howard Hawks and Humphrey Bogart got into an argument as to whether one of the characters was murdered or committed suicide. They sent a wire to author Raymond Chandler asking him to settle the issue, but he replied that he didn't know either.
· Bogart was shorter than Bacall. He wore platform shoes and she stood in a trench for face to face scenes.
· Bacall was 20 when she made this film. It was only her third picture. She’s still working and her latest film (Paul Schrader’s “The Walker”) opens next year.
· The plot of “The Big Sleep” is often thought to be confusing. Perhaps not surprising when its director often said “As long as you make good scenes you have a good picture - it doesn't matter if it isn't much of a story.”
. The film was shot and completed in 1945 but its release was delayed while Warner Brothers issued dozens of action films to co-incide with the end of World War 2

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