The Big Sleep

If you can't make sense out of Raymond Chandler's whodunit novel The Big Sleep, join the club. Nobel Prize laureate/screenwriter William Faulkner, along with co-screenwriters Leigh Brackett and Jules Furthman, couldn't make sense out of it either. They called author Chandler to have him explain the plot, and he yelled at them that everything was in the book and hung up. In the long run, it really doesn't matter who shot the chauffeur or what nympho Carmen's been up to in director Howard Hawks's 1946 crazy-quilt adaptation The Big Sleep. The attraction is the fact that the ever-steamy Bogart and Bacall elegantly fence their way around the censors like two musketeers, making the most of the writers' snarky double entendres. Hawks's firm grasp of cinematic grammar gives us a screen that's awash in cinematographer Sid Hickox's pearly gray noir swirls, a nice contrast with designer Carl Jules Weyl's crisp settings. The film screens at 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit www.mfah.org. $6 to $7.
July 2-3, 5 p.m.; Sat., July 4, 3 p.m., 2009
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D.L. Groover has contributed to countless reputable publications including the Houston Press since 2003. His theater criticism has earned him a national award from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN) as well as three statewide Lone Star Press Awards for the same. He's co-author of the irreverent appreciation, Skeletons from the Opera Closet (St. Martin's Press), now in its fourth printing.
Contact: D. L. Groover