The Big Sleep Movie and Novel

The Big Sleep Movie and Novel - The Big Sleep Movie and...

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The Big Sleep Movie and Novel On first inspection of Raymond Chandler's novel, The Big Sleep, the reader discovers that the story unravels quickly through the narrative voice of Philip Marlowe, the detective hired by the Sternwood family of Los Angeles to solve a mystery for them. The mystery concerns the General Sternwood's young daughter, and a one Mr. A. G. Geiger. Upon digging for the answer to this puzzle placed before Marlowe for a mere fee of $25 dollars a day plus expenses, Marlowe soon finds layers upon layers of mystifying events tangled in the already mysterious web of lies and deception concerning the Sternwood family, especially the two young daughters. When reading the novel, it is hard to imagine the story without a narrator at all. It certainly seems essential for the story's make-up to have this witty, sarcastic voice present to describe the sequence of events. Yet, there is a version of Chandler's novel that does not have an audible storyteller, and that version is the 1946 movie directed by Howard Hawks. Hawks' version of The Big Sleep is known to be one of the best examples of the film genre-film noir. "Film noir (literally 'black film,' from French critics who noticed how dark and black the looks and themes were of these films) is a style of American films which evolved in the 1940s." (The Internet Movie Database LTD). Film noir typically contains melancholy, and not so moral themes. Another characteristic of film noir is just because the main character has the title hero, that does not mean that he will always be alive at the end of the book, or that the hero is always "good." Marlowe in The Big Sleep is a prime example of this concept. In the novel it is questionable how lawfully moral he actually is, concerning the situation of turning Carmen into the police for killing Sean Regan. This aspect of Marlowe's character added yet another difficult task of formatting The Big Sleep to the big screen-the question of how the audience (media) might react to such a personality trait was now placed before the writing staff (IE production codes). Hawks had a big job ahead of him trying to make a movie out of Chandler's hard-boiled detective novel. So, Hawks hired the Nobel laureate-winning writer William Faulkner to head up the writing staff. Accompanying Faulkner with his difficult task of adapting the novel to the cinema version were Leigh Brackett and Jules Furthman.
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Together, these three put together an incredible film version of The Big Sleep. One of the
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This note was uploaded on 08/23/2011 for the course PHIL 22 taught by Professor Gavin during the Spring '09 term at UCLA.

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The Big Sleep Movie and Novel - The Big Sleep Movie and...

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