A special screening of Howard Hawks’ The Big Sleep (1946, 114 min.) will be presented Thursday, April 21, at 7 p.m. in 101 Becker Communication Studies Building. The screening is part of the 2011 Annual Film Studies Lecture, to be presented by James Naremore on Friday, April 22, at 4 p.m. in the same location. Both events are free and open to the public.
Private detective Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) is hired by rich Gen. Sternwood to sort out a blackmail scheme purportedly centered on gambling debts incurred by his younger daughter, Carmen. Marlowe’s arrival at the Sternwood manor draws him into a case in which murder, drugs, and sex pit him against an array of racketeers, cops, thugs, fall guys and “broads.” Marlowe is also attracted to the older Sternwood daughter, Vivian (Lauren Bacall), despite the fact that he suspects her of hiding a deeper secret.
Adapted by William Faulkner and others from Raymond Chandler’s 1939 novel, The Big Sleep features Bogart’s hard-boiled cool, his snappy dialogues with Bacall, and memorable performances by supporting players Dorothy Malone, Elisha Cook Jr., and Bob Steele. Does anyone know who killed Carmen Sternwood’s chauffeur? Does anyone really care? And what does Eddie Mars have on Vivian Sternwood that Philip Marlowe can’t fix?
James Naremore is Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus at Indiana University-Bloomington. He is the author of More than Night: Film Noir in its Contexts as well as studies on Orson Welles, Vincente Minnelli, acting in the cinema, film adaptation, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. His recent publications are On Stanley Kubrick and the British Film Institute Film Classics volume on Alexander Mackenrdrick’s The Sweet Smell of Success.
These events are part of the spring 2011 Proseminar in Cinema and Culture “Film After Noir” series, sponsored by UI International Programs, the Institute for Cinema and Culture and the Department of Cinema and Comparative Literature in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.