Thursday, 11 September 2008

The Big Sleep [1946]

Raymond Chandler’s first novel The Big Sleep isn’t just one of my favourite books, it also happens to be one of the most groundbreaking in the genre of gumshoe pulp fictions. And of course it also introduced the irresistible private dick Phillip Marlowe drenched in an overdose of cynicism, wisecracks and sardonic humour. To cut a long story short, I had to watch this movie. Even though it is literally impossible to capture the labyrinthine plot, all the underplayed intricacies (what with the draconian Hays’ Code in place) and the layered nuances of the various characters in a 2-hour feature, still I was expecting that perhaps Mr. Howard Hawks had managed to do the impossible; consequently, the movie left me a tad disappointed. However, that aside, the movie is admittedly a cornerstone in the great American genre of film noirs, with its moody atmosphere, and a crisply delineated depiction of the dark underbelly of the post-war society filled with crime and lack of the so-called inherent goodness of life. And of course, the sterling performances by Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, and the heavy undertones of their sexual chemistry nearly set the screen on fire.

Director: Howard Hawks
Genre: Film Noir/Mystery/Crime Drama/Private Detective Movie
Language: English
Country: US

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