The Big Sleep (1946)

I really enjoyed the book and the film on this one, though I was amazed at how much the story and the presence of Mrs. Reagan differed. Both stories were surprisingly complicated compared to the other films so far, and it took reading the book after the film to understand the film better.

I really appreciated the writing style, very descriptive, though 3/4 through the book the conversations started to get longer and there were more cases of over describing unimportant scenes or features. I found that a little unnecessary as some of it was just repeating information I felt had been established. As if the characters in the book each needed their own in depth explanation for what we already knew, understandable in reality but slightly repetitive in the book.

In the film I did appreciate the relationship between Marlowe and Mrs. Reagan better than the book. The film made him seem a little more human and less like a cold untrusting – though defending his clients to the death type man, a very mysterious character from all angles. Also in the movie they included the concept of friends in his life, as the book made everyone into associates or clients and nothing more. There was no deep respect for a senior official, no devoted secretary, no father-like boss or brother-like partner; Marlowe was a very strange man. In the movie at least he seemed capable of forming a relationship, albeit one that had to be open, honest and free of illegal secrets. I think his mistrust of Mrs Reagan in the film made more sense because of how the original book played out. Compared to the book, the films used Mrs Reagan whenever possible to cover parts of the book that were missing, for positive reasons really, the inclusion of Mrs Reagan more often gave into the totally “necessary” Hollywood romance formula. It would have been a less popular film by far, good story or no, without the attractive protagonists romanticizing eachother.

I really liked how the reading pointed out that Marlowe was poetic in his metaphor’s and descriptions. Almost as though he lived an interesting life so as to narrate his experiences, people and places. He would describe his own death as if he were speaking aloud to a room full of theater actors, though completely satisfied with the fact that no one was listening. This also made his character more mysterious in the book more than the film. It’s as if here were such a loner, so personally departed from others, that he had learned to keep himself company and his mind nimble.

Sometimes I wish the characters in these films would carry over to other films just so I could see them throughout their lives and how they would handle different situations . But I also think it would ruin their mystery and cheapen their memory in the readers mind

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