Words Behind the Pictures Challenge – The Big Sleep

Words Behind The Pictures Challenge

This month Michael challenged us to read and watch one of three Humphrey Bogart movies.  I chose The Big Sleep because it was the one I hadn’t seen before and ended up watching the movie before reading the script.  This may have not been the best way to do it, because I didn’t really enjoy the movie.  I know it is a classic, but even though I like old movies I can’t like them all.

The Movie

Philip Marlowe is a private detective hired by the dying General Sternwood to look into the gambling debts of one of his two daughters.  As Marlowe visits the general at his huge estate, he also meets both of the daughters, one appearing a little crazy, Carmen, and the older, haughty one, Vivian.  Vivian tells him he should also be looking in to the disappearance of a close mutual friend, Sean Regan.  The man who owned the debts, Geiger, is murdered and Marlowe finds Carmen on the scene.

Okay, the plot gets much more complicated from here, so I will not try and unravel it.  There were murders, secrets, lies, beatings, and disappearances and I was not playing close enough attention to make sure I got it all right.  Humphrey Bogart was very compelling as Marlowe and Lauren Bacall did a good job as the secret keeping tempter.  Bogart and Bacall were married when they filmed this and their chemistry is obvious.  The best part of the movie was watching Bogart in a perfect role for him. 

The Screenplay

I enjoyed the script so much more than the movie.  It was co-written by William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, and Howard Hawks and based on the book by Raymond Chandler.  I found the script to be a great read.  It was so descriptive that it read almost like a book.  And there were scenes in the second half of the script that made more sense to me than the ones in the movie.

Actually, I would have liked to have read the book first, then the screenplay, and finished by watching the movie, but it’s too late for that.  In the first movie for this challenge  (The Fast Times at Ridgemont High) I preferred the movie, but this time I really liked the detailed script more than the star heavy movie.  Go figure.

Why not join us  next month?

6 thoughts on “Words Behind the Pictures Challenge – The Big Sleep

  1. bermudaonion says:

    How interesting! I’ve only read one screenplay and it was just okay for me. Of course, it wasn’t co-written by William Faulkner.

    This was only my second one and I did enjoy it.

  2. Staci says:

    I don’t know if I could get into reading screenplays but I’ve never really tried either. Sounds like a fun challenge!

    It is interesting for a movie lover like me to see part of the process.

  3. Jenners says:

    I think this is such a neat challenge … someday I would like to try it. And talk about a screenwriting pedigree!!! WOW!

    Faulkner knows how to tell a story – and he didn’t want to leave too much decision making to the director 😉

  4. Margot @ Joyfully Retired says:

    I picked The Big Sleep too. (My review will be posted on Monday.) I agree with you about the screenplay – it was very good. I also wish I’d read the book first. I ended up watching the movie three times. I felt it was confusing. There were some parts of the plot never resolved. Seeing Bogart and Bacall together was the best part of the movie.

    I look forward to your review! You are a better woman than me for watching it 3 times since I was so happy when it was over. It was definitely confusing. I think we would have been better off reading the book first.

  5. jennygirl says:

    I never heard of this movie before, but I think that’s a good thing based on your post and the comments. I would think something would be lost in the screenplay, but apparently not 🙂

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