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Decidedly one of the greatest PI noir films of all time, Howard Hawks’ The Big Sleep begins with Philip Marlowe (Bogart), a private dick hired by a wealthy family to deal with a blackmailer. But before Marlow can do his job, the blackmailer is dead and gangsters, chauffeurs, femme fatales, and henchman twist this narrative into a decidedly labyrinthine tale far more concerned with tone than plot, devoting ample focus to the inimitable magnetism between Bogie and Bacall, and the pull of Los Angeles’ seedy underbelly.

Based on legendary pulp author Raymond Chandler’s novel of the same name, the film was adapted by none other than the powerhouse threesome of William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett and Jules Furthman. Famously, the filmmakers sent a wire to Chandler, asking for some clarity on whether or not a character was murdered or committed suicide, and his response was this: “They sent me a wire…asking me, and dammit, I didn’t know either.”

Dir. Howard Hawkes, 1946, 35mm, 114 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!