U.S.A. • 1946 • BLACK AND WHITE • 35MM • 114 MIN

Private eye Philip Marlowe (a mesmerising Humphrey Bogart) mixes with L.A.’s hoi polloi as he tries to extricate a rich family from a blackmail attempt. Intrigues, dirty deeds and murders pile up in this most convoluted of Chandler’s tales, in which nothing is straightforward. A terrific team was assembled for this mainstream adaptation of Chandler’s first Philip Marlowe novel. Director Howard Hawks hired top screenwriter Leigh Brackett and legendary novelist William Faulkner to create what turned out to be a follow-up vehicle for the on-screen romantic pairing of Bogart and Lauren Bacall, following their success in Hawks’ previous film To Have and Have Not. Even after consulting the author himself, Hawks and his team failed to make sense of the plot. After producing a very dull first cut, they went back to re-shoot and re-edit the whole movie. The plot made even less sense in the finished version, but with the emphases now placed on the Bogart-Bacall romance and the stars burning brightly in their roles, few people complained. It’s the wonderful performances and the innuendo-ridden, wise-cracking repartee that makes the film a classic.

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