On Sunday I went to see “The Big Sleep” (Hawks, 1946) at the Astor theatre in St Kilda. This was a first for me in two regards, my first time seeing The Big Sleep and my first time seeing a film at the Astor theatre. For all the film aficionados in Melbourne, I know, I don’t know why it took me so long to go and see a film at this incredibly beautiful, restored, with all the old furnishings and old timey style intact, 1930’s, single-screen cinema. Waiting inside for my friend to show up on the trademark bouncy couches of the era was like stepping into the 30’s in surprising comfort. The Big Sleep is a film adapted from the 1939 novel of the same name written by none other than Raymond Chandler. That’s right kids, the man who practically fathered the genre (or at least the classic, convention-filled, hard-boiled detective and femme fatale centric story line film noir that we’ve all come to know and love). The Big Sleep itself features such classic conventions as the hard-boiled detective, namely the original archetype found in Phillip Marlowe, the femme fatale or in this case Vivian Rutledge, an almost literary dialogue, expressionistic lighting and weather and the girls falling for Marlowe as far as they can possibly throw themselves. While this film does contain many of the qualities that make it an almost nostalgic film noir, as it ticks all the ‘conventional’ boxes, it is however formulaic and fits the category of being a film that seems to simply want to get in on the movement sweeping the era, rather than create something unique and interesting within the genre, such as “Double Indemnity” (1944, Wilder), a film written by Raymond Chandler, which came out two years prior. The editing and staging, and therefore direction is also poor in some areas. I personally don’t know if this is exemplary of the era and the level of the equipment being used, but I feel like other film noirs did these things better, as there was no visible lag and displacement between some of the cuts, which in The Big Sleep actually creates a sort of ‘forceful ejection’ of the audience as they are forced out of the world in which they were previously consumed.

elisabetta franchi fall winter fashion

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01.01.1970
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