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.


DUEL
1971, Universal, 88 min, USA, Dir: Steven Spielberg

Originally broadcast as a television film (and later expanded for theatrical release), DUEL stars Dennis Weaver as a businessman crossing a stretch of deserted highway, who finds himself terrorized by a malevolent, unseen truck driver. Nerve-wracking suspense and superb, turbo-charged action in the best MAD MAX vein, from 25-year-old gunslinger Steven Spielberg.


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