A very good movie (1946), and by far the best Raymond Chandler adaptation, but it isn’t one of Howard Hawks’s most refined efforts—it lacks his clarity of line, his balance, his sense of a free spirit at play within a carefully set structure. What you remember here are moments: Bogart’s line about Martha Vickers (“Ain’t she been weaned yet?”), Dorothy Malone in the bookshop, the broken roll of quarters pouring from a hood’s fist, Bogart and Bacall’s racetrack dialogue, the romance that is charted in the borrowing, lighting, and puffing of cigarettes. If you can figure out who killed the chauffeur, the world is waiting for the answer. With John Ridgely, Regis Toomey, and Elisha Cook Jr.; from a script by William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, and Jules Furthman.
The Big Sleep
NR • 1 hour 54 min • 1946