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The Big Sleep
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Big Sleep, The (DVD)
Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall ignite the screen in this classic film noir adaptation of Raymond Chandler's steamy detective novel. When private investigator Philip Marlowe (Bogart) accepts the blackmail case of one of Los Angeles' wealthiest men, his probe leads deep into a web of lies, drugs, pornography and murder woven around his client's two beautiful daughters. But Marlowe's most startling discovery is his inexorable attraction to one of the sisters.]]>
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Top Customer Reviews
It was re-released in 2014: Sharper picture + subtitles + director's commentary + theatrical trailer + three mini-documentaries.
Amazon has a horrible habit of lumping all versions of a movie onto a single web page.
At the time I posted this review, the Robert Mitchum "Big Sleep" already had 77 reviews, dating back to 1999.
The top four reviews on Amazon were posted between 2002 and 2007 - Three were reviews of the 2000 DVD.
The top review was a review of the VHS tape.
VHS reviews seem to keep the top spot for eternity.
[hint: for ease of navigation, read the review through to the end, then come back and click on the links.]
Assuming you don't want VHS, you have a choice of DVD editions - It's not on Blu-Ray.
At the top of the Amazon web page (as of September 17, 2015), you will see:
Additional DVD options:
DVD 1-Disc Version -- Amazon Price $7.19 - $5.28 New - $5.27 Used
DVD 1-Disc Version -- $44.99 New - $5.09 Used
DVD 1-Disc Version --- $6.87 New - $4.98 Used
The first version is the GOOD DVD from 2014: The Big Sleep
Robert Mitchum and Sarah Miles are listed on the cover, along with the words: "Timeless Noir Classic" (the actress in the picture is Candy Clark, not Sarah Miles).
The second version is the BAD DVD from 2000: The Big Sleep
The cover has Mitchum and Joan Collins against a deep red background.
Ignore the third version: The Big Sleep [Import anglais]
The cover has Mitchum with Joan Collins and Oliver Reed.
This is the British release of The GOOD DVD, with identical extra features.
It's a European Region 2 PAL format DVD that won't play on 99% of American DVD Players (we are Region 1 NTSC format).
This was the second time Robert Mitchum played Raymond Chandler's hard-boiled detective Philip Marlowe.
Three years earlier he starred in an even better film:
Farewell, My Lovely
In the meantime, consider this to be a Consumer Protection Warning.
Be careful which version of the Mitchum "Big Sleep" you order.
The Big Sleep makes even The Maltese Falcon seem simple and easily figured out. The basic situation is actually fairly straightforward, but it is obscured by a multitude of shifty characters and a number of cons and side cons that make clarity nearly impossible. Add to this the fact that a great deal has gone down before Bogart's Philip Marlowe has even gotten involved and the fact that as is usual in these films, a number of the characters are lying, and you have virtually no chance of solving its mysteries before Marlowe. In fact, a tidy wrap-up scene where Marlowe explains everything was cut from the film because it was felt that the film was better enjoyed for its atmosphere and acting, and that the audience didn't really care about the details. Nowadays with the IMDb and other online sources it's easy to look up plot summaries if you want clarification.
The noirish atmosphere is wonderful, from General Strernwood's conservatory to Eddie Mars' gambling joint and Arthur Gwynn Geiger's storybook cottage off Mulholland Drive in a Los Angeles that never seems sunny. There are hidden cameras and antique book stores where the clerks know nothing about antique books. There's a very daring scene for the time, when in the Acme book shop, across the street from the antique book shop, the clerk, played by a young Dorothy Malone, closes the shop while Marlowe visits and the inference is that they had a romantic encounter. Marlowe's real romantic interest is Vivian Rutledge (Lauren Bacall), so in this case the romance is real.
There's too much to enjoy here to worry about the plot. Don't miss The Big Sleep.
“I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room.” R. Chandler, "Farewell My Lovely" Imagine incorporating that thought well into a script.
Besides, with Bogey and Bacall on the screen, who needed a coherent script!