The Big Sleep

Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall

More than 60 years after it was first released, film noir classic The Big Sleep remains the blueprint for how to adapt a book for the big screen.

Smart, sexy and utterly compelling, Howard Hawks’ take on the hard-boiled crime novel by Raymond Chandler deserves to be dusted off this week and presented to a whole new generation.

That The Big Sleep has been able to stand the test of time is all the more remarkable since it has a notoriously confusing storyline.

Bogart is pitch-perfect as private detective Philip Marlowe, hired by General Sternwood (Charles Waldron) to make the person who is blackmailing him “go away”.

No sooner does Marlowe start his digging than he is up to his eyeballs in dead bodies and double-crosses while there is real chemistry between the private dick and the general’s daughter, Vivian (Bacall).

While the twists and turns of the plot might leave many cold, it doesn’t really matter thanks to the heat generated by real-life couple Bogart and Bacall. Most stars together off-screen fail to recapture their chemistry on film, but these two icons smoulder in every scene, making this a fascinating, timeless crime drama.


Good for: Those who like oldies that are goodies. 

– Pierre De Villiers