RARA-AVIS: Film Directors; The Big Sleep

From: William Hagen ( billha47@hotmail.com)
Date: 24 Feb 2002

Agree with Mark's observations (RE Rene) about the simplification of credits down to the director. But if there is a characteristic vision and style to much of the work credited to a director, I see nothing wrong with using an auteur approach, perhaps with acknowledgement of who else is a part of the team that creates this vision and style.

Recently purchased a dvd of The Big Sleep, so I could see through the noir mist better, and it's a treat. Nice to have the unreleased version as well.
  Much has been made of the softer treatment of Vivian and the Hollywood justice for Eddie Mars that the film imposed on the novel. I've always credited BOTH the Bogart-Bacall buzz AND Hawks' own tendency to make a female buddy, someone to fight the good fight along with the male. But doesn't this tendency, and the desire to picture Bogart and Bacall together for the last shot, in effect create a very unprofessional episode for Marlowe? Since when does the PI take a client, who happens to be the woman he loves, to a place where he plans to kill a gangster (who will have his gunmen outside)??? The more I think about it, the more it ruins the end of The Big Sleep for me...even though I had bought into the romance change.

Bill Hagen

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