Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Big Sleep

The Big Sleep, 1946
Dir: Howard Hawks
January 12, 2010

I'm not sure if any of my countless throngs of readers have a Top 5 list for Film Noir, or if this is on it, but this will bump one out for sure, maybe even slide into the Number 1 spot. From the opening shot during the title sequence of the silhouettes of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall smoking, you know what the score is. It's so weird and slightly off, but at the same time really funny and tightly written. There are some things that annoyed me a little bit, like towards the end they start telling the audience exactly what is going on a little bit too much, but that doesn't stop this from being absolute dynamite. The story doesn't entirely matter that much (though it is sleazy in a good way); it's what the characters do in it and how Hawks, under tight restrictions from censorship, uses innuendo and symbolism to convey his messages. That is what CINEMA is. To tell a story visually without actually saying it. Watch Bogey fuck this book store chick. You may not think that's what he's doing, but he is. How about maybe just talking about it? If you watch for things like this, there everywhere in the film. Hawks' direction, the Bogey/Bacall dynamic in a great film and the overall experience of just watching this put a smile on my face. The Big Sleep is all class.


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