P.I. Philip Marlowe's hired by a wealthy general to find out and stop his daughter, Carmen from being blackmailed over gambling debts, Marlowe finds himself deep within a web of love triangles, blackmail, murder, gambling, and organised crime. With help from Vivian (another of the general's daughters), Marlowe hatches a plot to free the family from this web and trap the real culprit.

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...except maybe a completely coherent plot. Raymond Chandler's books tend to have so much plot that Chandler himself wasn't always completely sure what was going on. There is a famous story about this movie in which co-writer Leigh Brackett called up Chandler late one night to ask him who killed the chauffeur. Even HE didn't know. So, apologies to everybody who gets a headache trying to follow the story, but hey don't sweat the small stuff. The Big Sleep has big pay-offs too. 1. Bogie and Bacall were never better, and their on-screen chemistry is the stuff of legend for good reason: their every scene together is like watching Ali take on Frazier. High powered Old Hollywood screen presence is a thing sorely lacking in what passes for drama in these days of 'reality' TV. 2. Whole sections of Chandler's dialogue were lifted right off the page, and this is the movie's best feature. Chandler was a master of hard- boiled dialogue, but he also mixed a lot of really funny bits into the fireworks, as Marlowe verbally probes and challenges everyone he meets. The creators wisely did not set out to 'improve' on Chandler, they just adapted his work for the screen. 3. The sort of viper pit atmosphere which modern Hollywood mostly fails to create in its thrillers is here in purest form thanks to smart choices of staging. The posh house in which Bogart/Marlowe meets his client is full of people, none of whom are completely suited to the place. The old general lives in his sauna-like greenhouse, and the girls seem So, right off, you get this eerie feeling of generalized wrongness on a soundstage filled with expensive-looking decor. As characters move to more comfortable surroundings (smoky gambling houses, and other dingy out of the way places of sin) the viewer gets to participate in the full film noir experience: seeing where casual crime encroaches on 'respectable' society as we follow around femmes fatales who are not to be trusted. Great fun.

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