Finally, the Big Sleep on DVD! Humphrey Bogart plays private dick, Philip Marlowe in this classic noir film based on Raymond Chandler's novel of the same name. The plot centers around Marlowe, hired to help a rich family out of a little blackmail jam. What follows is one of the most convoluted stories in the history of film. The plot unfolds, seemingly at random, and the viewer has no idea how characters and events tie in to the blackmail scheme. But luckily it doesn't matter! This film is excellent despite the plot problems. There are so many things going for it; Bogart's performance, his chemistry with Lauren Bacall, and especially the script & dialogue (by William Faulkner no less). Bogie's scene with Dorothy Malone in the bookstore alone makes the film worthwhile for me. But I'll let you judge your favorites for yourselves.
The film is presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and is extremely watchable. The DVD would have obviously benefited from archival restoration of the film elements as the usual amount of scratches and other age related defects appear throughout the movie. Another problem is the fluctuation in black level throughout the presentation. Blacks in portions of the frame occasionally shift to dark gray and back. The overall effect isn't particularly distracting and isn't bad for a film from 1946.
Presented in digital 2.0 mono, the dialogue is clear throughout while the music is just a tad harsh.
The Big Sleep DVD contains two versions of the film, the 1946 theatrical release and a 1945 prerelease version of the film. The '46 version had numerous scenes between Bogart and Bacall reshot to improve Bacall's role. These are accompanied by a 16-minute documentary with UCLA professor, Robert Gitt, who analyzes the differences between the two versions. Also included are production notes, a cast listing and the theatrical trailer.
A great movie with great stars. This is the best presentation you are ever
going to get of the Big Sleep and I recommend you get it now. You can't
beat two versions of this classic film (A whole other version, how's that
for an extra?!?!?! ) on the same disc and you can't beat the price. I've
seen this going for as less than 12 bucks online so act fast! Highly