The individual films by Howard Hawks were celebrated by intelligent critics by later 1920s an onwards (Hillier and Wollen 1). He was one of the most brilliant Hollywood directors in his generation, where there is little written about him. One of the greatest masterpieces of Hawks is the Big Sleep. The book written by David Thomson is an affirmation that this film has become one of the greatest movies of all time and how he gushes that the film was exquisitely directed, with superb script, fine cast and magnificent cinematography. Thomson was able to vividly shed light on the principal characters of the story. At the same time, he was able to show to the readers that he has done his homework when he did an extensive research on the director of the film in the person of Hawks. Thomson presented Hawks as a director who was able to mold Lauren Bacall to portray the role of his second wife Nancy “Slim” Hawks. In the film, Nancy was described as a very chic and classy woman, who has been blessed with wit and intelligence. Thomson adds that there have been discussions on the details of the plot of the movie and how the home studio has achieved more exposure of the characters of Bogey & Bacall. The sacrifices made to focus the attention in these two characters have paid off. In fact, Thompson has described that the film “The Big Sleep” set a jovial and happy mood as it was intended to attract every attractive woman who will throw herself in the path of Bogey for the entire duration of the film. In this scenario, Thompson was able to present the reputation of Hawk for being loved by women, or for being a lady’s man.
Close analysis of the title “The Big Sleep’ will tell us that it relates to death. Thomson was able to provide a clever analysis on the film’s background. More importantly, Thomson was able to write more accurately of Hawks’ indulgence in the character of Martha Vickers for being the gentleman that any woman will fall for. Hawks’ style was more focused on the continuity of the story and did not include flashback, camera tricks and movements to add drama to the scenes and even close-ups were avoided. Instead, he was able to mold the personality of the young Batall, who infuriated him when he slept instead with Bogart than the assertive woman who was determined to penetrate his dream into film. Hawks was able to release a heavy scene in film wherein Marlowe was seen informing the police what had transpired, which left the audience mystified. This kind of film noir can cover a murderous plot but may only be clearly understood during the second viewing. Hillier and Wollen raved about the film for being able to suggest the connivance of the characters by glaring evidence (2). Finally, many of the film critics lauded the film that will add luster to the glamor of Hollywood films since the acclaimed piece of work by Hawks can be considered as a masterpiece (Hillier and Wollen 7). The public was in sync with the movie by making them laugh and hold on to the excitement of every scene. The work of Hawks has expanded his ability to make movies using his methods and variable success to make each film unforgettable to the audience.
Hillier Jim and Peter Wollen. Howard Hawks: American Artist. London: British Film Institute,
McCarthy, Todd. Howard Hawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood. New York: Grove Press, 1997.
Thomson, David. The Big Sleep. London: British Film Institute, 1997. Print.