Story: The charming Phillip Marlowe is hired by a dying millionaire to find out who’s blackmailing his youngest, and craziest, daughter. In the process, Marlowe gets tangled up in murder, gangsters, rare book sellers and Lauren Bacall.
Detective: Phillip Marlowe
Release Date: August 31, 1946
Writer: Raymond Chandler (book); William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, Jules Furthman (screenplay)
Source: The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler
Is it a mystery?
Detective as protagonist?
Lani: Absolutely. It starts right where the trouble starts, when Phillip Marlowe is called in to help a sick old man get his youngest daughter out of trouble. Problem is, the youngest daughter likes trouble. A lot.
Murderer as antagonist?
Lani: Yep. It’s quite a tangled web the bad guy weaves, and sometimes it’s hard to follow all the threads, but they do all lead—eventually—to the same bad guy.
Conflict created by mystery/murder?
Lani: Yes, the conflict is based on Marlowe wanting to get to the bottom of it all, and the murderer wanting him to keep his nose out of it.
Is it a good mystery?
Fair play with all the clues given?
Lani: Yes, although many of the clues were pretty hard to follow at times.
Solved using deduction, not luck?
Lani: Yes; no cheap tricks for Marlowe.
All threads pertaining to the mystery pull together at the end?
Lani: This is where The Big Sleep falls apart. At the end, it’s still ambiguous as to who the murderer is, which I think is a big drawback for a mystery. And no one knows what the hell happened to the poor chauffeur.
Our Ratings and Breakdown:
Jenny says: ? Pops
Mystery: ?, Craft: ?, Suspense: ?, Romance: ?
Lani says: 3.5 Pops
Mystery: 4, Craft: 4, Suspense: 3, Romance: 3