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She succeeded at distinguishing herself as a highly competent, original and strong voice in a field practically reserved for men, and in the early stages of her career she had to put up with a lot of skepticism and outright criticism for being a female writer of science fiction. Moreover, the nickname The Queen of Space Opera was mostly used as a degrading term, not a compliment: the subgenre she found most interesting and inspiring was then regarded as a lesser form of writing, some sort of an ugly child of science fiction and fantasy.


But she stuck with it, defended it, becoming its champion and claiming science fiction should never be put into drawers and confined with labels. But even before George Lucas pushed the genre of space opera into mainstream, Brackett had already been its champion and representative.

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The mentor to Ray Bradbury, a masterful storyteller of limitless imagination, exquisite writing skills and quite an impressive range, Leigh Brackett was ahead of her time just as she was ahead of most of her colleagues. This interview by Steve Swires was conducted several years before her death and the post-humous release of The Empire Strikes Back , her final screen credit.

How did you manage so prestigious an advancement? Howard Hawks read the book and liked it. I went to the studio the first day absolutely appalled.

The Big Sleep

I had been writing pulp stories for about three years, and here is William Faulkner, who was one of the great literary lights of the day, and how am I going to work with him? What have I got to offer, as it were? We will do alternate sections. I will do these chapters and you will do those chapters. I never saw what he did and he never saw what I did. We just turned our stuff in to Hawks. Jules Furthman came into it considerably later, because Hawks had a great habit of shooting off the cuff. He had a fairly long script to begin with and he had no final script.

‘The Big Sleep’: Seventy Years Since Howard Hawks’ Electrifying Film Noir Masterpiece

He eventually wound up with far too much story left than he had time to do on film. Jules came in and I think he was on it for about three weeks, and he rewrote it, shortening the latter part of the script. If you try to watch the film as a standard mystery, fitting all of the clues together to logically develop a hypothesis as to who the murderer might be, you find yourself continually frustrated by the narrative development.

I think everybody got very confused. Owen Taylor, I believe, was the name of the chauffeur. In writing your portion of the screenplay, did you have any concept in mind of the role of the private eye as an archetypal hero?

The Big Sleep | Music Box Theatre

I was very much under the spell of Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, and I have written a few stories myself in that same vein. Something struck me. I just sort of accepted it.

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I think that the characterization of Marlowe as done by Bogart and directed by Hawks was entirely their own. On the other hand, I think Bogart was ideal and, as far as I was concerned, he was the greatest actor that ever happened. I adored him. Actually, it was a joy to watch him on the set because he was stage trained.

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Get Known if you don't have an account. Vivian : You go too far, Marlowe. Marlowe : Those are harsh words to throw at a man, especially when he's walking out of your bedroom.

Film Noirchives: THE BIG SLEEP

Agnes : He gives me a pain in my— Brody : That goes for me, too. Perhaps it was the wine. Just maybe it was the dastardly difficult to follow plot. They are pretty bad. I grieve over them on long winter evenings. I don't mind your ritzing me drinking your lunch out of a bottle. But don't waste your time trying to cross-examine me.

Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Howard Hawks and William Faulkner once again come together and this time instead of Ernest Hemingway it is Raymond Chandler who lends his mysterious dark world to this divinely perfect team and the result — unsurprisingly — is a top class labyrinthine murder mystery that benefits from the magnetism of Bogart as the lonely Phillip Marlowe whose no-nonsense approach makes him even more….

I love Bogey so much. So very much. The harder I tried to pay attention, the worse it got. I wished I loved this as much as everyone else, but I found myself wishing I was watching Bringing Up Baby the far superior Hawks film instead.

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.


Review by Dans Dalton. Dig too deep and you run the risk of saving your gravedigger the trouble. The Big Sleep is a film noir detective story about the sly and sharp "shamus" private detective , Philip Marlowe Humphrey Bogart. After being commissioned to learn the secret motivations of a blackmailer, his investigation grows more and more intricate with every new clue, setting him on a path laden with murder and conspiracy.

Helping and hindering him in equal measure is the lovely Vivian Sternwood Rutledge Lauren Bacall , who matches Marlowe beat for beat with flirtation and wit, as Marlowe treads water in this quagmire of deception. The Big Sleep was adapted from the novel by acclaimed pulp detective author, Raymond Chandler, with a screenplay by…. Humphrey Bogart is hired by a rich invalid to help with some blackmailers trying to extort money from him over his wild daughter's gambling debts.

A really great adaptation of Chandler's novel that manages to be pretty faithful even though the Production Code prevents the film from mentioning pornography, narcotics and homosexuality, all of which to the plot.