The Big Sleep (1946) starring Humphrey Bogart as the hard-boiled private-eye Philip Marlowe. Marlowe gets sucked up into a case involving a missing man, two rich girls, a complex blackmail scheme and murder galore. The eldest girl, a femme fatale, is played by Lauren Bacall.
The film was directed by Howard Hawks. William Faulkner cowrote the screenplay with Leigh Brackett and Jules Furthman, based on Chandler's novel; the plot is so convoluted that Faulkner insisted that he didn't understand all of it.
A famous story of the filming: Of the many corpses that turn up in The Big Sleep, one is that of Owen Taylor, a chauffeur, who is found dead in a water-logged Packard, "washing around off Lido Pier. Howard Hawks realized he had no idea of who killed him. The screenwriters couldn't figure it out. Finally, they sent a cable to Raymond Chandler himself, "Who killed Owen Taylor?" Chandler reportedly re-read his own novel, and cabled back, "I don't know." It is never cleared up, and adds to the ambiguity of the movie.
The Big Sleep was remade in 1978 by Michael Winner starring Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe. James Stewart appeared as General Sternwood. The action was set in London, England rather than California. The later film The Big Lebowski is also based on The Big Sleep, with numerous alterations.
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