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THE BIG SLEEP
1946, Warner Bros., 114 min, USA, Dir: Howard Hawks

The second of the Bacall-Bogart-Hawks collaborations turns Raymond Chandler’s acidic novel into a surprisingly exuberant piece of escapist entertainment. Packed with quotable lines (courtesy not only of Chandler but screenwriters William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett and Jules Furthman) and colorful supporting players (including Dorothy Malone and Elisha Cook Jr.), it’s both an elaborately plotted detective story and a breezy (and hilarious) romantic comedy. Bogart is sardonic private eye Philip Marlowe and Bacall is the fast, funny and very sexy daughter of his wealthy and mysterious client.


THE MALTESE FALCON (1941)
1941, Warner Bros., 101 min, USA, Dir: John Huston

Based on Dashiell Hammett’s novel, this classic mystery gives life to Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) and a masterfully drawn group of characters involved in a dangerous and double-crossing hunt for a bejeweled golden falcon statue. The first-rate cast includes Mary Astor, Gladys George, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet and Huston’s father, Walter.


KNOCK ON ANY DOOR
1949, Sony Repertory, 100 min, USA, Dir: Nicholas Ray

Ray’s second picture was produced by star Humphrey Bogart’s Santana Productions and it reflects the gutsy social realism both men favored in their storytelling. Delinquent John Derek and his gutter-rat chums have shot a cop during a robbery. Bogart’s character, a successful attorney who extricated himself from the ghetto, feels obligated to defend Derek. Ray poses eternal questions about character versus environment and which is more responsible for rampant urban crime. NOT AVAILABLE ON DVD!


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