A Comparison of Two Versions of The Big Sleep

1518 WordsJul 8, 20187 Pages
A Comparison of Two Versions of The Big Sleep The Production Code attempted to censor sex and violence in film of the 1930's and 40's. Instead of impairing, it encouraged directors to use artistic ideas and integrity to surpass the viewers' expectations -- actively involving them in the film despite Hollywood's censorship. Howard Hawks is one such director who used the restrictions of the Production Code to his advantage. His screen adaptation of the Raymond Chandler novel The Big Sleep portrays the same amount of sexuality and violence apparent in the written word, using a distinctly subtle style, which develops broader themes. Comparisons with the extremely dull 70's remake by Michael Winner further suggest the superiority…show more content…
Both of these endings work well in their respective mediums. There is no written law that says a producer or director has to strictly reinforce all the themes of the novel that are being adapted to the screen. If this were true that would make for an entirely dull piece of work, which brings me to the Michael Winner version. Lacking the stars of Bogart and Bacall, the film inserts sexuality by glorifying Carmen Sternwood's nude body at every opportunity. She appears quite a few times, as Chandler would say; "in her birthday suit" alongside a gratuitous shot of the "Schoolgirls" porno magazine that Geiger distributes. The problem does not lay in the vulgarity of this blatant flamboyance of flesh; however, it adheres to the common false mystique that exhibitionism equals sex appeal. Another fault in Michael Winners' remake is its' strict adherence to the plot of the novel. The relationship between Vivian and Marlowe in the movie is non-existent. It seems as though Robert Mitchum, playing Marlowe, has more fun flirting with Agnes, played by Joan Collins, in Geiger's bookstore than with the snotty, senior Sternwood sister. Leaving Eddie Mars' gambling casino, Marlowe kisses Vivian in an attempt to find out, "what Eddie Mars has on her." However, Vivian is not pleased with Marlowe's prodding and shrieks, "so that's the way it is you rotten bastard." As illustrated in the book, this scene depicts
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