Tue, 15 November 2005
When "The Big Lebowski" was released in 1998, Ethan and Joel Coen claimed its "episodic" narrative structure found its source in the work of Raymond Chandler. In this super-sized double-feature podcast, Richard and Shannon examine "The Big Lebowski" against Howard Hawks's 1946 noir "The Big Sleep," and both films against Chandler's 1939 novel "The Big Sleep." Beyond their similar narrative structures, these works all present consummate dialogue, a panoply of memorable characters, and crimes and anxieties impossible to imagine outside Los Angeles--the city of angels, and noir. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir" at outofthepast.libsyn.com/
Direct download: OOTP_2005_11_15_BSBL.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 1:19am EDT
Two of my favorite films, connected in (many) ways I hadn\'t thought of. Thanks for an excellent podcast. I\'d love to hear you discuss Miller\'s Crossing, my favorite film from my favorite directorial team (though No Country for Old Men is threatening that position).
The Big Lebowski is one of my favorites, and they certainly laid their film noir cards on the table when Da Fino tells The Dude \\\"I\\\'m a brother shamus! [...] Let me tell ya something - I dig your work. Playing one side against the other, in bed with everybody - just fabulous stuff.\\\" Thanks for pointing out all the connections to The Big Sleep, I had never looked into it that deeply (too busy laughing).
Of all of your podcasts, I believe that I disagree with you the most on this particular one. First of all, you got the date of the making of the Big Sleep incorrect. It was made in 1944, not 1946. It was released in 1946, but there is no discussion in the podcast as to why it was delayed. Moreover, there is no discussion about the differences between the 1944 and 1946 versions. Also, I thought your analysis of the sexuality in the opening credits was spot on, but you failed to really address a lot of the overt flirting and sexual innuendo throughout the entire film other than to criticize it. You fail to understand that the plot is so complex and complicated that the romance between Bogart and Bacall and the flirtations throughout the movie are necessary to lighten it up. I think this departure from the book is a strength because it balances the complexities of the plot with light moments. You also do not note that Bogart had progressed into a very unlikely sex symbol by 1944. This is fairly significant because he was not always regarded that way in film. At one time, he was more of a bad guy and very few bad guys at the time became sex symbols. You fail to note that this movie portrays women in a much more overt and aggressive sexual way and this plays into what was really going on in real life because women were driving taxi cabs and running the country in a lot of way s during the war. The Big Sleep seems to portray this by showing flirtatious women almost at every turn. I also thought, despite the light moments in the film, that this was a much grittier and more intelligent version of Marlow than that portrayed by Dick Powell, but your review seems to be too mired in comparing it to Ray Chandler\'s book to give this movie the fair credit it deserves. I disagree that this movie is ultimately about good over evil. No one in this movie is wearing a black hat. The characters are not as clearly evil in this movie as all of that. They seem to be really vulnerable characters in some ways such as Agnes and Harry Jones. By the way, the actor who played Harry Jones was a huge noir actor and you don\'t even mention him in the review. I also think the chauffeur loved Carmen and killed for her. Joe Brody was a small time hood just trying to take advantage of what he thought was easy ways to make money, but he could never get it right. Eddie Mars in some ways was more respectable than all the small time vulnerable hoods, but he turned out to be worse. Geiger tried to put up a front of respectability, but as the woman in the book store across the street noted it was easy to tell that it was all smoke and mirrors. I don\'t think it was totally clear until the end just how bad he was. I just don\'t think it was clear who the good guys were and who the bad guys were. This film brilliantly portrayed the small time hoods as having their own vulnerabilities and that in and of itself is very noir. I have listened to all of your reviews, but I can truly say that this one was THE one that I was not especially enthused about.
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