What movie,apart from Casablanca, has been as mythologized as this version of The Big Sleep? Ironically, the film based on the work of two fine writers (Raymond Chandler wrote the novel and William Faulkner helped write the script) started life as a sequel to To Have And Have Not. Warners didn't really care what the film was about as long as it starred Bacall and Bogart. (Indeed, after the first version was completed, the studio would insert extra scenes with its stars before it was released in 1946.) The plot was changed dramatically because Chandler's original plot didn't hang together (one of the bigger loose ends being who killed the Sternwood family's chauffeur) and because the censors wanted somebody punished: if not the decadent Sternwood family then the gangsters. Hawks didn't mind, the censors' ending was more violent than his and less complicated than the one Chandler suggested. Chandler's hero didn't like women much, not a point of view the usually broad-minded Hawks had much time for, so he made the women in the film as available as he could, without having them actually walking the street. Out of these conflicting priorities and commercial considerations emerged a masterpiece. But for the depressed alcoholic Faulkner, it was the film which finally persuaded him to give up screenwriting.
Director: Howard Hawks Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall