Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep

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This essay critically analyzes similarities and differences between the novel way and film way of treating the same themes. The analysis will be based on The Big Sleep, a 1939 crime novel authored by Raymond Chandler. This novel has been adapted twice into film, first in 1946 and again in 1978. The story, set in Los Angeles California, is complex and arguably not easy to understand. It is characterized by many characters double-crossing one another and many secrets being exposed throughout the narrative. Both works, the novel and the film, unravel swiftly. Philip Marlowe, a detective, is hired by the Sternwood family of Los Angeles to solve a mystery for them concerning their daughter. Upon digging for the answer to this puzzle placed before…show more content…
In the novel Marlow guides the reader from action to action. Marlowe uses a figurative language. He does not shuffle around topics but he goes straight to the point and is determined to drag you along. That is why he uses such language to pull us in and let us understand. His narration makes it easy to get every point and understand his character by knowing what he is thinking about. The details he offers to the reader avails insider information, which makes it easy to connect the story. However, the 1946 movie by Howard Hawks does not have an audible storyteller. Although the absence of the narrator causes a few issues, the screenwriters always came together to accommodate for it. However, if the narrator had been present in the movie, the movie would have been more…show more content…
Faulkner, the film’s screenwriter, had to rewrite a lot of scenes to make up for the absent narrator. One example of the change is present when recounting the death of Owen Taylor. Bogart asked at one point who was supposed to have killed the character Owen Taylor. Hawks didn't know, the screenwriters didn't know and, when they telegraphed Chandler to ask him, he said he had no idea. Faulkner and Brackett put together a scene in which Bogart's character Marlowe figures out the murder with the help of an investigator from the D.A.'s office (http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/24062|0/The-Big-Sleep.html). The difference between the novel and the film is also present in how Marlowe responds to the death of Harry Jones. In the book Marlowe ponders the situation with gloom. In the movie however, Marlowe sits next to Harry Jone’s corpse and tells him how admirable he was. Another example of change in scenes is seen between Marlowe, played by Humphrey Bogart and Vivian, played by Lauren Bacall, when they first meet. In the novel one sees Marlowe’s desire for Vivaian from the narrator. "She was stretched out on a modernistic chaise-lounge with her slippers off, so I stared at her legs in the sheerest silk stockings" (Chandler, novel, 17). In the film, however, Bogart needs deliver lines flirtatiously. The attraction between the two is also played out differently in the

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