James Naremore on The Big Sleep

Academic James Naremore talks about the film adaptation of The Big Sleep at BFI Southbank as part of the Key Scholars in Film Studies series. Naremore discusses the suitability of Humphrey Bogart's casting as the character Phillipe Marlowe, as well as exploring the textual differences between the 1939 novel and the 1946 film, explaining how Hawks changed the plot to appease the overseas troops. In the film, Hawks adjusts Vivian Rutledge's characteristics in an attempt to match the sex appeal Lauren Bacall radiated from her acting debut in To Have and Have Not (1944), also compensating for the lack of the famous ‘Hawks’ woman’ by creating minor roles for young female pin-ups. Nineteen year old Dorothy Malone was one of these pin-ups and to highlight the differences, Naremore reads from the Acme Book Shop description in Chandler's novel and then invites us to compare the original text to Naremore’s favourite scene in the film.


Elsewhere on BFI Live



  • Do the Right Thing
  • L'Atalante
  • Psycho
  • Separation