Big Sleep: Sarcasm Seldom Sleeps By David Landau
How does one establish character as fast as possible? In the case of the classic film noir movie, “The Big Sleep,” it’s sarcasm.
CARMEN: You’re not very tall, are you?
MARLOWE: I try to be.
Other than a short exchange of mere introduction with the butler, these are the first words out of private detective Philip Marlowe’s mouth, and they set the tone of the character and his dealings with everyone else to come in the rest of the movie. Carmen is the flirtatious daughter of the General who is being blackmailed because of her misadventures. The film opens with Marlowe arriving at the General’s home. After Carmen deliberately falls into his arms before leaving, Marlowe turns to the butler and says, “You should wean her – she’s old enough,” and later tells the General, “She tried to sit on my lap, while I was standing.”
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