The Big Sleep

The labyrinthine gumshoe movie, with Bogart and Bacall on top form, looks for all the world like something David Lynch might have dreamed up, writes Peter Bradshaw

  1. The Big Sleep
  2. Production year: 1946
  3. Countries: UK, USA
  4. Cert (UK): 15
  5. Runtime: 114 mins
  6. Directors: Howard Hawks
  7. Cast: Bob Steele, Charles Waldron, Dorothy Malone, Elisha Cook Jr, Elisha Cook Jr., Humphrey Bogart, John Ridgely, Lauren Bacall, Martha Vickers
  8. More on this film

The "big sleep" of the title is of course death, but the action in Howard Hawks's 1946 classic hardboiled thriller, taken from the Raymond Chandler novel, often looks like the sleep of reason bringing forth monsters. Only the fiercest concentration will keep you on top of the head-spinning plot, and the fact that Hawks had to be relatively coy about the pornography and drugs makes the proceedings look even more occult and mysterious. Bogart is Philip Marlowe, a private detective called in by an ageing sensualist when his pretty, tearaway daughter is being blackmailed. Yet Marlowe is enamoured of her sister: a cool customer played, of course, by Lauren Bacall. The movie's disturbing labyrinthine story of murder and betrayal now looks like a fable by David Lynch: and the witty, charged dialogue between the leads shows that no screen couple, before or since, had as much chemistry as Bogart and Bacall.

betrayal: zdrada

blackmailed: szantażowany

coy: nieśmiały

enamoured (of): rozkochany (w)

fable: bajka

gumshoe: detektywistyczny

hardboiled: bezlitosny, bez serca

head-spinning: przyprawiający o zawrót głowy

leads: odtwórcy głównych ról

plot: fabuła

tearaway: narwany

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