Sunday, January 24, 2010

#33 The Big Sleep: $25 a day plus expenses

1946. dir. Howard Hawks, starring Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall.

Seen it before? No.

So here we go with another ridiculous 40's film noir, this one adapted from a Raymond Chandler novel. (William Faulkner was one of the screenwriters.) I'm going to be totally honest: I don't like Humphrey Bogart. He can't act as well as Orson Welles or Marlon Brando, and he doesn't have the charm of Cary Grant or Spencer Tracy, so why am I supposed to like him? It seems like he was good at being a movie star; you know, being glamorous, that sort of thing, but why should I care about that?

This movie stars Bogart as Philip Marlowe, who is a private detective hired to track down the people who are blackmailing the Sternwood family. Specifically, it's the two daughters, one of whom has a gambling problem, and the other one was involved in pornography. I think. Hays Code era means you couldn't discuss it directly. The plot gets more convoluted from there, to the point where it becomes just totally confusing.

Lauren Bacall is okay, but Bogart is in pretty much every scene, and he says every one of his lines the same way. The villains are hastily sketched and interchangeable. A movie like this needs good supporting players... think of all the colorful characters in Casablanca, which is a Bogart movie I actually liked. Not this one. It was boring and hard to follow. Release the hounds...

Position on the list: 138
Lauren Bacall: Still alive, and still acting. Her IMDB page is a sad state of affairs. Her most recent finished project was something called "Scooby-Doo and The Goblin King". What the hell? Did she lose all of her money or something?

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