July 30, 2008

Short Cuts: "Hello, Who is This?"

The Big Sleep (1946). Directed by Howard Hawks; written by William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, and Jules Furthman; starring Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Ridgely, and Martha Vickers.

[The Big Sleep is one of the films I'll be reviewing for MovieZeal's month-long focus on film noir, which begins this Friday, August 1st.]


  1. Yay! You found a B&W version! I looking for this exact clip about a month ago, and could only find the colorized version.

    Looking forward to hearing/reading your thoughts!

  2. We'll see what I come up with, Hedwig. I am not all well-versed in noir, so this was an interesting venture. MZ is going to be the place to be in August.

    I'd seen The Big Sleep before but I didn't realize until this time around how insanely confusing the plot is, almost to the point of comedy.

    Speaking of which, the scene above is a good example of how sharp the writing and the comic timing are in this movie, not to mention the chemistry between B & B.

    That's why I chose this scene over another amusing clip. - Canino's not too quick on the draw, is he?

  3. Word to the wise: don't even try to figure the plot out. I've seen The Big Sleep a bunch of times and I think only once, when I saw the "extended cut" thanks to TCM, did I really think I understood it--the extended cut has a few scenes that help to explain the whole shebang. In fact, about two years ago I watched the unextended cut and then the extended cut together on a Sunday evening. Somewhat illulminating.

  4. Actually, I once read where neither Hawks, nor the novel writer Raymond Chandler could figure out who was responsible for all of the eight murders and that censors rewrote the final scene, letting one person off the hook and incriminating another. (But Hawks didn't bother rewriting anything that went before it.)
    But of course we are all aware that it matters not in th elarger scheme of things as the dialogue here is among the witiest, toughest (and sexiest) ever written, especially for a detective film, albeit it's also a quintessential noir, as hawks wonderfully coneys Chandler's corrosive, yet adventurous Los Angeles.

  5. Alexander, knowing that you've literally seen every classic noir film ever produced, that makes me feel a little bit better.

    Sam, I've heard the same and that even makes feel BETTER YET about the confusion.

    As you note, and you both know, the plot is secondary in this movie to the dry wit and classic staging on display throughout.

    Oh yeah, and I love Bogart's line in this clip: "Whaddya want, please?"

  6. Sam is correct. Apparently, according to Hawks, he even called Chandler up when they were shooting the lead-up to the climactic sequence, and Chandler didn't even know what happened in his own story.

  7. Miranda, somehow I can't imagine that's all you have to say about B & B! But I know what you mean...

    That's really funny, Alexander - makes you wonder how the decision was made to adapt the book. I haven't read it, but wouldn't somebody have figured out before filming that it was a dead end story? Either way, the quality of the movie just goes to show the strength of the cast and the direction.

  8. Oh man, thanks for starting my day off with Bacall.

  9. It was either her or Marilyn Monroe in The Asphalt Jungle, but Monroe only wishes she could pull off a scene like this.

  10. Well...

    The goddess Lauren was one of my early influences. Not only fashion wise. But I dug the image.

    How I ever got a voice like hers without smoking and drinking I will never know. It's downright unwholesome. Hah hah.

    It's likely one of the reasons I can do whatever I want...and get away with it.

    But although Bogie was a terrificly iconic presence he never did anything for me as a man.


    Now those were MEN...

    And much as I adore you, Danny, MARILYN was a better actor than you give her credit for...

    As far as I'm concerned, anyway...

    Hee hee...

  11. You sound like her?!?! I didn't think humans sounded like that after 1956. That must be fun.

  12. I've talked about this before, Danny.

    Where have you been, honey?

    From the time I was a teenager, boys used to say to me on the phone, "You sound like KATHLEEN TURNER."

    When I used to have friends over to watch DVDs and we'd be hanging around the house, my mom would catch portions of BODY HEAT.

    (That was a big favourite around the Wilding household. Now my mama knew a lot of major modern actors. But there were lots that she didn't pay attention to.

    KATHLEEN'S appeal was rather lost on her. I must admit that she never escaped the notice of my dad. But BH wasn't exactly a film that rang her chimes. She liked SHAMPOO a lot better.

    So a bunch of us were at my parents' place watching it. I think it was the end right before the boathouse blows up - where she gives the "I know what you're thinking but you're wrong" speech to BILL HURT.

    She turned to me and she said, "Who is that woman? She sounds a lot like you.")


    I worked in broadcasting when I was a kid, you know. This mellifluous sound is probably going to pay a lot of bills with voice over work until I get going.

  13. Haha, that's a great story. Sorry if I missed it before. Well I wonder if I've heard you somehow somewhere...I'll keep an ear out for the modern Turner/Bacall voice...


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