I just finished reading "The Big Sleep" again. (Not sure how many times I've read it, but I am now convinced it was either fewer than four times or I have been overly influenced by seeing the movie so often, particularly the Bogart version.)
I am reading it again to piece it together properly, and it occurs to me that if the book were published today it would be declared a "literary novel" by the critics. By virtue of staying in print so long and having been praise so often over the years, it is even a literary novel by my tough standards--it has remained in the popular psyche for 70 years now. That is long enough for it to be declared "literature."
I recently taped the Bogart version but will not look at it again until I have finished reading it again. I have already started to read it again because I was so impressed and also because I want to sort it out better.
Some of what Kevin Burton Smith says rings true, though. Bogart did seem to recycle Sam Spade to become Philip Marlowe. But I prefer Bogart's Marlowe to Powell's, Mitchum's, or Gould's.
Hope to again catch their films also the near future.
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