5.9/10
3,723
49 user 24 critic

The Big Sleep (1978)

Grizzled American private detective in England investigates a complicated case of blackmail turned murder involving a rich but honest elderly general, his two loose socialite daughters, a pornographer and a gangster.

Director:

Michael Winner

Writers:

Michael Winner (screenplay), Raymond Chandler (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Mitchum ... Philip Marlowe
Sarah Miles ... Charlotte Sternwood
Richard Boone ... Lash Canino
Candy Clark ... Camilla Sternwood
Joan Collins ... Agnes Lozelle
Edward Fox ... Joe Brody
John Mills ... Inspector Carson
James Stewart ... General Sternwood
Oliver Reed ... Eddie Mars
Harry Andrews ... Norris
Colin Blakely ... Harry Jones
Richard Todd ... Commander Barker
Diana Quick ... Mona Grant
James Donald ... Inspector Gregory
John Justin ... Arthur Geiger
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Storyline

Philip Marlowe (Robert Mitchum) is asked by the elderly General Sternwood (James Stewart) to investigate an attempt at blackmail on one of his daughters. He soon finds that the attempt is half-hearted at best, and seems to be more connected with the disappearance of the other daughter's husband, Rusty Regan (David Savile). Rusty's wife seems unconcerned with his disappearance, further complicating the mystery. Only General Sternwood seems concerned as mobsters and hired killers continue to appear in the path of the investigation. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Some days business is good - and some days it's murder! See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 April 1978 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Tote schlafen besser See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£3,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The meaning and relevance of the title is a euphemism for death. It refers to a rumination in the book about "sleeping the big sleep". As such, in simple terms, the title is a metaphor for death. See more »

Goofs

Marlowe retrieved a 6-shot revolved from his car. When he attracted the attention of Lash Canino, he fired 2 shots into the window, but when he emerged from the burning car's smoke, he fired 6 more. Too many. See more »

Quotes

Charlotte Sternwood: [when Marlowe declines to blackmail her] Wha-? You don't want money?
Philip Marlowe: Oh sure. All I itch for is money. I'm so greedy that for fifty pounds a day plus expenses on the day I work, I risk my future, the hatred of the cops, of Eddie Mars and his pals, I dodge bullets and put up with slaps and say "Thank you very much. If you have any further trouble please call me: I'll just put my card here on the table." I do all that for a few pounds. And maybe just a little bit to protect what little pride a ...
See more »

Connections

Version of Robert Montgomery Presents: The Big Sleep (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

Won't Somebody Dance With Me
Music and Lyrics by Lynsey de Paul
Sung by Diana Quick (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Worthy Offering ... But ...
24 September 2016 | by valdaquende-39713See all my reviews

Rating this film is a tough go. As a long-time fan of Chandler's stories, I appreciate and watch every film based upon them. Some are stunning; some are not. This one is in-between.

First a word about Robert Mitchum. Watching him in 'Farewell My Lovely' (1975), I had to conclude that of all the portrayals of Philip Marlowe I have seen (by Humphrey Bogart, James Garner, Dick Powell, James Caan, Elliot Gould, Robert Montgomery, George Montgomery, Powers Boothe and several others), Robert Mitchum stands out as the most realistic Philip Marlowe of them all. Shop-worn, hard-bitten but with a kindly and chivalrous streak within; aging but still very vital and with a solid 'authority'(for want of a better term) in the role, Mitchum made as perfect a Philip Marlowe as has ever graced the screen - in 'Farewell My Lovely'.

Unfortunately, in this film he probably won't impress you in this way but that is not his fault; it's the screenwriter's. Sadly, it was decided, for whatever reason, to transplant the story to England; a transplant that doesn't work very well. The gritty world in which Marlowe lives is not a very good fit for the English countryside and the locales and characters lack the film-noir geist that Chandler's world evokes: the crazy mixture of glitz and sleaze, glamour and grittiness that was post-prohibition Los Angeles.

Nonetheless, this film has a number of redeeming qualities; the acting is quite good, the plot adheres to Chandler's story much more closely than the Bogart/Bacall version and the scenes, cinematography and direction are competent and entertaining.


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