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Big Sleep, The


  • Pre-release version
  • Theatrical version
Release: Oct 02, 2010 - Author: Frankie - Translator: Gladion - external link: IMDB
Howard Hawk's The Big Sleep is probably one of the most famous representants of those American movies that are generally summarized as Film Noir and, in my personal opinion, are surely among the most interesting of Hollywood's productions.
Main acts are Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, the dream couple at the time, additionally Howard Hanks on the directing chair, so basically the perfect combination for a box office hit. Not many people know, though, that the movie already had a moved past behind it before finally getting its theatrical release on August 31st, 1946, which lead to two final cuts existing for this movie. Let's first look at the film's story, though.

The story

The Big Sleep, like many of its genre competitors - I'm using the term 'genre' in this context even though film historians and -scientists disagree about this, is based on one of the so-called hard-boiled novels of the 1930s. More precisely, Raymond Chandler's novel of the same name from the year 1939 was picturized, introducing the character of private detective Philip Marlowe - played in the movie by Humphrey Bogart. Eight more Chandler-novels as well as short stories with Marlowe as hero were about to follow.

In this story, Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) is first hired by General Sternwood to take care of the gambling debts of the General's youngest daughter, Carmen, which she owes to a local bookmaker. What seems to start as a simple job quickly turns into something much bigger, because the General's older daughter, Vivian Rutledge (Lauren Bacall), has a few problems and while Marlowe tries to get to the bottom of things, several people die of acute lead-poisoning...
It is not worthwhile to expand any more on the highly complex story at this point because you will have to have watched the movie or read the book to understand the connections - or maybe not. The Big Sleep is infamous for having a plot that is so rife with characters and names that you can easily lose track and indeed, this is what hapened to the filmmakers. Thus, there are several stories about neither Howard Hawks nor any of the scriptwriters could explain a murder happened in the story and thus contacted Chandler, who was terrified to find out that this question is also unanswered in his novel. Therefore, the moviemakers had to come up with a solution. It is explained in the next paragraph why this did not make it into the final cut.

The versions

The shooting of The Big Sleep started on October 10th, 1944 and took only place in the Warner Bros. studios in Burbank, California. The shoot was finished on January 12th, 1945. Attentive readers will now notice that more than one year passed between the actual end of production and the later theatrical release. Why did this happen?
There are several reasons for this delay. World War II was about to end and it was attempted to get the several films with this war as a theme into cinemas to make profit. A detective story thus had to wait, because, even one year later, it was just as current. This delay was not that bad for the film after all. Even though there were some copies sent to the front for the American soldiers far away from home get some variety from everyday war, but the rest of the time, the movie was laying in the archives.
Thus, it happened that another film with Lauren Bacall was released in American cinemas which was of great importance for the further destiny of The Big Sleep. We're talking about the 1945 movie Confidential Agent, which was especially criticized because of Bacall's play and her career was threatened to meet an end. Charles K. Feldman, who was Bacall's agent at the time and had several other renowned actors contracted and worked as a film producer himself, therefore had some power in Hollywood, wanted to save his fosterling's career and so he wrote a pretty bold letter to Jack L. Warner, in which he made it clear to Warner that he (Warner) could not allow himself another misstep (like with Confidential Agent) and reshoots had to be organized under all circumstances. Feldman was sure that otherwise The Big Sleep might meet the same fate.
There was a solution planned already:

More emphasis was to be put on the scenes with Bogart and Bacall to be able to build on the success of their first concurrence on the silver screen in To Have and Have Not (1944). Especially the sexual tension between the two actors was supposed to be used to make the film more interesting. So it happened that in January 1946, the crew was brought together again to start the reshoots.

People were really productive, too: Seven of the twelve reels The Big Sleep consists of were altered. Several passages were removed, partly to improve the dynamic and pace, while other passages were replaced by newly shot scenes with Bogart and Bacall. It's surely interesting that the theatrical version is basically even more promiscuous than the Pre-Release-version, because some rather important scenes, in which the events are partly summarized or the problem of the body without murderer are solved, did not find the way into the final version because they had to make room for more screentime for Bogart and Bacall. Thus, it also happened that some actors and the roles were cut from the movie while some or the other was shorthandedly replaced, because the person was not available for the time of the reshoots. See the finale, where Pat Clark, playing Mona Mars in the Pre-Release-version, was replaced with peggy Knudsen. Despite the numerous big differences, there is little difference in the two versions' runtimes.

Finally a few words about the differences between the book-version and the movie-version, resulting from the Motion Picture Production Code, which, among other things, prohibited nudity and "sexual perversions" such as homosexuality in theatrical films. This is the reason some more or less explicit scenes from the novel had to be made more harmless, such as the homosexual lover Geigers, whose affinity and motivation are not really explained in the film, as well as other scenes in which Carmen is naked in the novel resp. where the novel dwells on the blackmailing with pornographic images. The movie shows these scenes either slightly differed or touches the themes only very cautiously and leaves the audience with their imagination.

Back to the actual comparison. After the Pre-Release-version was discovered again in a UCLA archive, this version was later restored elaborately and released theatrically together with a documentation that deals with the differences between the two versions. It only made it on DVD in the US, where it can be found on the B-Side of the The Big Sleep-DVD by Warner Home Video.

To make orientation easier, the timecode of the scenes that are missing in the theatrical version are marked red in the report. These codes also relate exclusively to the theatrical version and result from the NTSC-format. Minimal master errors resp. time differences resulting from measures of the restauration were not considered. The English dialogues are based on the respective subtitles, therefore they sometimes differ slightly from the words spoken.

After Marlowe has taken the glasses and the carafe in Geiger's apartment into his hands, turned around and goes on, the theatrical version fades to Marlowe, who already sits at Geiger's desk and opens a locked cash box.
In the Pre-Release-version, you see Marlowe searching through Geiger's apartment a bit longer. He a.o. he looks into the bathroom and the kitchen, where he then puts down the glasses into the sink and washes the glasses. He notices in the process, that Geiger's murderer must have entered the apartment through the kitchen window, because there are traces of burglary found. Shortly after, he leaves the kitchen again and looks for more clues in the bedroom. Marlowe finds a key ring and goes back into the living room, where now he tries to fit in one of the several keys into Geiger's desk. There, he finds the cash box, which he opens then. Now both versions run in sync again.
01:45 min. (105 sec.)


After Marlowe has looked through Geiger's notes, he leaves the house with Carmen (Martha vickers). Here we see the next difference in the two versions. While the theatrical version, after Marlowe has put Carmen on her jacket and the two get going, fades rather quickly to the house of General Sternwood, the Pre-Release-version shows Marlowe and Carmen leave the house. Then there is a fade to black before showing Marlowe's car and you see Marlowe driving back to the parental home, while Carmen does not really realize much of the drive. Arrived at the house, the camera stays outside as Marlowe waits at the door before it's being opened by Norris, the butler.
He then says: "Good evening, sir."
Marlowe asks: "Is Mrs. Rutledge in?"
Norris: "No, sir."
Marlowe: "The general?"
Norris: "He's asleep."
Marlowe: "Good. I got something in the car."
Quick cut to Carmen in the car.
Marlowe: "She's all right. Is the maid around?"
Norris: "Yes, I'll get Matilda."
Marlowe: "Now wait a minute. Not as I'm leaving. I haven't been here. You haven't seen me at all. Kid hasn't been out of the house all night."
Norris: "I understand. May I get you a cab?"
Marlowe: "No, I'm all right. Put her car away."
Marlowe leaves thereat, a new fade takes place and we see him again, picking up his car at Geiger's house.
55 sec.


The theatrical vesion features one of the reshot scenes here. Unlike the pre-release-version, the camera is now inside the Sternwoods' house and we see Norris from behind, opening the door.
Norris: "Good evening, sir."
Marlowe: "Good evening, Norris."
He steps in: "I'd like to see General Sternwood."
Norris: "He's asleep."
Marlowe: "What about Mrs. Rutledge? Is she...?"
Contrary to the pre-release-version, Mrs. Rutledge (Lauren Bacall) actually is home and a cut to her takes place, we see her approaching.
Marlowe off-screen: und wir sehen sie entgegenkommen.
Marlowe aus dem Off: "Good evening, Mrs. Rutledge."
Mrs. Rutledge: "Hello."
Marlowe: "I've got your sister outside. She's all right. But she's not walking very well. I'll need some help."
Marlowe and Mrs. Rutledge step outside the door and a fade takes place, now we are located inside Carmen's room. Mrs. Rutledge and Marlowe just enter through the door with her. He puts her on her bed and Carmen's sister, Mrs. Rutledge, sits down next to her.
Mrs. Rutledge: "Are you sure... ?"
Marlowe: "Yes, she'll be all right in the morning."
Mrs. Rutledge: "Did you do this?"
Marlowe jokingly: "That? Oh, yes, that's a little special service... I always provide all my clients."
Mrs. Rutledge: "Including being insolent. Where did you find her?"
Marlowe: "I didn't find her."
Mrs. Rutledge: "Then how...?"
Marlowe: "I haven't been here, and she hasn't been out all evening."
Mrs. Rutledge: "That bad?"
Marlowe: "Mhm."
Mrs. Rutledge: "Just what did happen, Mr. Marlowe?"
Marlowe: "You're pretty fond of your sister."
Mrs. Rutledge: "Yes, I am."
Marlowe: "Do anything for her, wouldn't you?"
Mrs. Rutledge: "Anything."
Marlowe: "Then drop this whole thing."
Mrs. Rutledge: "I still think I should now.."
Marlowe: "Don't even ask her."
Mrs. Rutledge: "She never remembers, anyway."
Marlowe: "Just what did she forget about Shawn Regan?"
Mrs. Rutledge, after hesitating a little: "What'd she tell you?"
Marlowe, lächelnd: "No half as much as you did."
Mrs. Rutledge wants to slap him, but Marlowe grabs her arms: "Take it easy. I don't slap so good around this time of the evening."
Mrs. Rutledge: "You go too far, Marlowe."
Him, also tantalizingly provoking: "Harsh words to throw at a man... especially when he's walking out of your bedroom." Marlowe while leaving: "Good night, Mrs. Rutledge."
Another cross-fade and now Marlowe stands inside the lobby of the Sternwoods' house and lets Norris help him put on his trenchcoat: "Thanks, Norris."
Norris: "I've put her car away."
Marlowe: "If anybody asks, she's been in all evening. Forget about my being here."
Norris: "I understand. May I call a cab?"
Marlowe: "It'd be better if you didn't."
Norris: "Good night."
Now, Marlowe leaves into the rainy night and the fade, that was mentioned earlier when the pre-release-version of this scene was described, takes place. The two versions run in sync again.
02:07 min. (127 sec.)


The theatrical version misses Marlowe entering his office. The door actually is shown from the outside and you can also see it being opened by him, but then there is another fade, and Marlowe is sitting at the desk. In the pre-release-version, a cut takes place, though, the camera is now located in the room's interior and Marlowe steps inside through the door. He turns on the light, walks to his desk and gets out Geiger's notebook. He then walks towards another room and now, the pre-release-version also shows the fade to Marlowe, sitting at his desk, working.
24 Sek.


After the scene with the "accident" of Sterwood's driver Owen Tayler, the order of the scenes is different. While the theatrical version directly switches to the talk between Marlowe and Mrs. Rutledge in his office, the pre-release-version first shows Marlowe visiting Geiger's antique shop. This scene is shown after the talk between Marlowe and Mrs. Rutledge in the theatrical version.


During the dialogue between Marlowe and Mrs. Rutledge, some lines had to be changed so they would fit the scene described at 25:11 in the theatrical version. Notable in that version by the camera having switched the position earlier.

The dialogue of the pre-release-version:

[Mrs. Rutledge: "She was asleep when I left."]
Mrs. Rutledge: "She was sick last night."
Marlowe: "She go out at all?"
Mrs. Rutledge: "Servants say she didn't."
Marlowe: "You?"
Mrs. Rutledge: "I was out all evening. Police already checked that."
The camera now switches to the position known from the theatrical version.
[Marlowe: "Go ahead and scratch."]

Now, the dialogue in the theatrical version:

[Mrs. Rutledge: "She was asleep when I left."]
Marlowe: "Figure out a story?"
Mrs. Rutledge, while playing with her skirt all the time: "Norris fixed that."
Marlowe: "How?"
The camera switches back and the following line was dubbed.
Mrs. Rutledge: "She was in all evening."
The camera now switches back to the previous position.
[Marlowe: "Go ahead and scratch."]

This results in the theatrical version being slightly shorter.
1 sec.


The probably most famous change takes place now. After Marlowe has caught Carol Lundgren and brought him to Geiger's house, where he is being delivered to the police, the theatrical version switches to the scene with the famous race horse-dialogue by fading to black.
In the pre-release-version, the scene in Geiger's house continues. Lundgren is being conducted away and Marlowe is supposed to come with them to the district attorney.
Bernie Ohls: "You too, Phil. The DA is waiting for us. On the way, you and I can have a little talk."
A cross-fade takes place and you see the men in the car. The camera zooms to the back of the car, where Ohls and Marlowe continue talking.
Bernie Ohls: "The DA isn't going to like this very much."
Marlowe: "Yeah, I know."
Ohls: "Cronjager'll be there too."
Marlowe: "That won't help."
Ohls: "Maybe I can needle him enough to take the heat off you."
Marlowe: "Appreciate it."
He hands a cigarette to Ohls. Him at that: "Thanks."
Another cross-fade and you see the door of the district attorney's office. Marlowe and Ohls enter through the door, being already expected.
Marlowe: "Evening, Mr. Wilde."
DA Wilde: "Hi, Marlowe."
Ohls: "Hi, Cronjager. You know Marlowe?"
Cronjager: "Yeah, I know him."
DA Wilde: "Sit down. Unless you'd rather be on your feet."
Marlowe: "Thanks."
DA Wilde: "You'd better start, Bernie."
Ohls: "I guess the best way to begin is to ask Cronjager what he's got on the Randall Place killing." Quick cut to Marlowe and Ohls, off-screen: "Brody I think, was the name."
Cronjager: "We got Brody with two slugs in him, two guns that hadn't been fired down the street a dame trying to start a car that didn't belong to her. Hers was next to it. The same model. She acted rattled. We brought her in and she talked. She was their when it happened, claims she didn't see the killer..."
Ohls interrupts him: "That's all you got?"
Cronjager: "All? It only happened an hour ago."
Ohls: "Yeah, I know." Another cut to Marlowe, following the dialogue obviously amusedly.
Cronjager, off-screen: What do you expect? The motion picture of the killing?"
Ohls, also off-screen: "Not from you."
DA Wilde interrupts the two, also off-screen, while the camera keeps showing Marlowe: "That'll do. go ahead, Bernie." Cut back.
Ohls: "Your killer's down below, handcuffed. Here's the gun he used." Ohls starts walking around in the bureau and says: "Marlowe got him for you."
Cronjager: "How did you manage..."
Ohls sits down in a leather armchair: "Oh, yeah, there are a couple more deaths involved."
Cronjager: "Wah?"
Ohls: "One of them in your territory. Maybe you know about it. Marlowe uncovered them too."
Quick cut to Cronjager: "Keep going." Cut to Marlowe, he appreciatively lights a cigarette.
Ohls, offscreen: "You heard about it. The car that was lifted out of the ocean with a dead guy in it."
Cronjager, also offscreen. Marlowe is shown all the time: "What about it?"
Cut to Ohls: "The guy was chauffeur to a rich family that was being blackmailed. Mr. Wilde recommended Marlowe to the family through me. Marlowe had been playing it close to the vest."
Cut to Cronjager: "I love private dicks who do that."
Cut to Marlowe, taking a pull on his cigarette. Cronjager now off-screen: "And Ohls you don't have to be so coy about it."
Now Ohls, off-screen: "I don't have to be coy. I don't often get to be coy with you. I dig up stuff your men don't see. "
Medium-long shot of the room. Cronjager: "My men don't..."
DA Wilde: "That's enough. Sit down, captain. And you, Bernie, go on with it."
Ohls: "Well, this chauffeur killed a guy last night. A guy named Geiger. He ran a racket, back of a bookstore on Hollywood Blvd. In your territory. But you hadn't heard about Geiger, had you? Or the racket. Marlowe, tell it to them."
Marlowe: "Well..."
He is interrupted by Cronjager: "I hadn't heard..."
Wilde: "You want to talk?"
Cronjager: "Go ahead."
Wilde to the assessor of the discussion: "You'd better get this down."
Marlowe: "Yesterday, General Sternwood showed me a letter..."
A fade takes place and we see the assessor having protocolled Marlowe's remarks in stenography. Marlowe is heard off-screen: "... Brody stalled, but when Agnes didn't back him up he began to get cold feet. While I was persuading Brody to talk, the doorbell rang." Cut. We see the minute taker now up front and the camera moves away from him as Marlowe is still heard off-screen: "He opened it and somebody shot him. Well, you know the rest. " The camera has now arrived at the four dialogue partners.
Wilde: "Outside of Taylor, Lundgren and Brody, nobody knew about Geiger."
Marlowe: "His secretary. She got it from Brody."
The perspective is switched again. Now from diagonally up front towards Wilde.
Wilde: "No one else was near the house?"
Marlowe: "That's right."
Cronjager: "So all you failed to do was report a murder that happened last night? You fooled around all day so the kid could commit a second killing this evening."

Little Spoiler (Mark text to be able to read it)

A little interjection here. Basically, it is being casually mentioned who murdered Owen Taylor, because, if you recap the story and everything you know from this moment on, three murders happened. Geiger was shot by Taylor, when he had followed Carmen. Brody was shot by Lundgren and also killed Taylor, even though the motives for one of the two murders still do no make any sense.

Marlowe: "That's all? I was in a tough spot. I was wrong. But I wanted to protect my client. I didn't know he'd gun for Brody. Just worked out that way."
Cronjager: "That's police business. You're still in a tough spot."
Wilde: "Have you told it complete?"
Marlowe: "I left out personal details and intend to keep on leaving them out."
Cronjager: "Why?"
Marlowe: "My client's entitled to protection."
Cronjager: "You think. I got another idea. You could lose your license."
Marlowe: "Captain, your division's got two murders, both solved, with both killers."
Wilde: "I don't see what you can gain by starting trouble. Besides, there are other people in this. What you bring out wouldn't do any good."
Cut to Ohls: "If Marlowe wants to forget it, your office can take the credit."
Cronjager: "I hate to let him get away with it."
Wade: "Besides, it won't do you any good by watching this over in the papers."
Cronjager sits up, takes Lundgren's gun. At the same time, Ohls stands up, too, whereas he is being asked: "What do you want?"
Ohls: "I've got a prisoner to turn over."
Cronjager: "So long, Wilde."
Cronjager and Ohls leave the bureau together.
Wade to the assessor: "All right, Eddie, you can go. Just a minute. Leave that notebook here."
Marlowe gets up and Wade tells him: "You'll have to make another statement for our files. You think we can keep the two killings separate and keep Sternwood's name out of it?"
Marlowe: "Yeah, I think so."
Wade rips the protocol apart: "Know why I'm doing this instead of tearing your ear off?"
Marlowe, sitting down on Wade's desk: "I expected to lose both of them."
Wade: "You should have. What are you getting for all this?"
Marlowe: "$ 25 a day and expenses."
Wade: "That's $ 50 and a little gasoline."
Marlowe: "About that."
Wade. "For that, you're willing to get in touch with the law and lose your license?"
Marlowe: "I don't like but what can I do? I'm on a case."
Wade: "Just what did General Sternwood really want you for?"
Marlowe: "To settle this business with Geiger."
Wade: "Are you sure it didn't have anything to do with that ex-bootlegger Regan?"
Marlowe: "What makes you say that?"
Wade: "I had an idea that he thought Regan was mixed up in this. And he really wanted you to find out that Regan isn't."
Marlowe: "Shawn's no blackmailer. I know him."
Wade: "You'd better find him and make sure."
Marlowe: "Maybe I had."
Wade: "And buy Bernie a box of cigars."
Marlowe: "I'll do that."
Wade: "He's earned it."
Marlowe: "Someday, Cronjager'll blow up and bust."
Marlowe leaves the bureau: "So long, Mr. Wilde."
Wilde: "So long."

Marlowe meets Ohls in the hallway after that.
Marlowe: "Thanks, Bernie."
Ohls: "Forget it. Cronjager's always been my pigeon. What happens now?"
Marlowe: "Looks like I'll get paid off."
Ohls: "That'll end it, huh?"
Marlowe: "I don't know, Bernie. This began as a case of blackmail. All at once, things started to happen for no reason. No reason at all. Now when it looks like it's over..."
Ohls: "You think there's more."
Marlowe: "Well, so do you. What's your dope on Regan's disappearance?"
Ohls: "Missing Persons has all we've got. It boils down to one thing: Eddie Mars' blonde wife disappeared the same time Regan did."
Marlowe: "Mars ever ask you to find her?"
Ohls: "No."
Marlowe: "Could be people want us to think they ran off together."
Ohls: "Is that just a hunch?"
Marlowe: "Almost."
Ohls: "Why don't you play it?"
Marlowe: "That's what the DA said. I think I will."

Due to the fact that this scene was completely removed from the theatrical version, James Flavin as Cronjager and Thomas E. Jackson as Wade do not appear in the whole movie any more.

This scene is followed by another one that didn't make it into the theatrical version. It is the famous "vail-scene", Bacall's agent wanted to prevent under all circumstances.

Marlowe comes to his bureau after the fade to black and find Mrs. Rutledge waiting. She wears, a.o., a black veil.

Marlowe, after having come through the door: "Well!"
Mrs. Rutledge: "Good morning."
Marlowe: "And how are you today?"
Mrs. Rutledge: "Better than last night."
Marlowe walks to his office's door: "Come on in."
While entering, Mrs. Rutledge mentions: "No answer on your telephone."
Marlowe: "It was unplugged. I wanted to get some sleep. I was tired."
Mrs. Rutledge: "I was worried and wanted to know what happened after I left."
Marlowe: "Worried or curious?"
Mrs. Rutledge: "Both. Then I read the morning papers."
Marlowe: "We were lucky. We managed to keep the Sternwoods out of it."
Mrs. Rutledge: "My father and I were both very pleased. He hopes you didn't involve yourself too deeply."
Marlowe: "You tell him you were there?"
Mrs. Rutledge: "Nothing would be gained by telling him."
Marlowe: "You're probably right. Anything special you wanted to see me about?"
Mrs. Rutledge: "Dad asked me to give you a check. He considers the case closed."
Marlowe makes a dumbfounded noise.
Mrs. Rutledge: "It is, isn't it?"
Marlowe: "Well, as regards Geiger, yes."
Mrs. Rutledge: "Then it's completely closed. I hope this is satisfactory."
Marlowe takes the check: "Five hundred! It's a lot more than I expected but welcome just the same." Marlowe goes to one of his cabinets and gets out an envelope: "Here you are. Here's the three promissory notes and Geiger's card. As for the photographs, I'll destroy them myself, if you don't mind."
Mrs. Rutledge: "We appreciate what you've done. Someday, my father wants to thank you himself."
Marlowe: "Fine, I'll come and drink more of his brandy. Maybe he'd talk some more about Shawn Regan."
Mrs. Rutledge: "My brandy's just as good. If you can stop being a detective long enough you might have a drink with me."
Marlowe: "I'd like to. I like brandy."
Mrs. Rutledge: "I have lots of it."
Mrs. Rutledge therefore leaves Marlowe's office. He then starts thinking a little and then repeats teh words: "Completely closed." He then picks up the phone and dials a number.
Woman at the phone: "Long distance."
Marlowe: "Hello, long distance? This is Philip Marlowe at Main 9-1494" A cross-fade takes place. Marlowe is now sitting on his desk, still phoning. He starts burning Carmen's pictures.
Frau am Telefon: "Hello? I have Mr. Mars for you."
Marlowe: "Thanks. Put him on."
Marlowe: "Hello, Mr. Mars?"
Mr. Mars: "Yeah."
Marlowe: "Hello, Eddie. This is Phil Marlowe. I called because I want to see you"
Mr. Mars: "Sure. When?"
Marlowe: "I could drive up tonight."
Mr. Mars: "Okay, come ahead."
Marlowe puts down and a new crossfade takes place, and we see him go to Mr. Mars. This scene is also featured in the theatrical version.
8:50 min. (530 sec.)


Now to the scene shown here in the theatrical version. After Lundgren's arrest and the following fade to black, the next shot with Mrs. Rutledge entering a café takes place. The camera follows her trying to open a way through the crowd.
She finds Marlowe at the bar.
Mrs. Rutledge: "Hello."
Marlowe: "Woah."
Mrs. Rutledge: "I'm late. I'm sorry."
Marlowe: "How are you today?"
Mrs. Rutledge: "Better than last night."
Marlowe: "I can agree on that."
Mrs. Rutledge greets a waiter: "Hello, Max."
Him politely: "Good afternoon, Mrs. Rutledge."
Mrs. Rutledge: "Got a table for us?"
The waiter: "Certainly, madam. This way, please."
They walk to their table.
Mrs. Rutledge: "I'll have a scotch, mixed."
Marlowe: "A scotch and plain water."
Marlowe, after the waiter has disappeared: How'd you happen to pick out this place?"
Mrs. Rutledge: "Maybe I wanted to hold your hand."
Marlowe: "Oh, that can be arranged."
She puts her glove into Marlowe's reached-out hand.
Marlowe: "Why'd you want to see me?"
Mrs. Rutledge: "My father was very pleased when he saw the morning papers. So was I."
Marlowe: "We were lucky. I managed to keep the Sternwoods out of it."
Mrs. Rutledge: "He hopes you didn't involve yourself to deeply."
Marlowe: "You tell him it was no fault of yours?"
Mrs. Rutledge: "No. He asked me to give you a check."
Marlowe: "I don't need any money yet."
Mrs. Rutledge: "He considers the case closed."
Marlowe makes a dumb-founded noise.
Mrs. Rutledge: "It is, isn't it?"
Marlowe: "As far as Geiger is concerned, yes."
Mrs. Rutledge with the check in her hand: "Then it's completely closed."
She gives him the check: "I hope this is satisfactory."
Marlowe looks at it quickly: "Five hundred! It's a lot more than I expected but welcome just the same."
Mrs. Rutledge: "We're very grateful to you, Mr. Marlowe, and..."
They are being interrupted by the waiter bringing them the drinks.
Mrs. Rutledge: "... I'm very glad it's all over."
She continues: "Tell me, what do you do when you're not working?"
Marlowe: "Play the horses, fool around."
Mrs. Rutledge: "No women?"
Marlowe: "I'm generally working on something, most of the time."
Mrs. Rutledge: "Could that be stretched to include me?"
Marlowe: "I like you. I told you that before."
Mrs. Rutledge: "I liked hearing you say it."
Marlowe: "Hmmm."
Mrs. Rutledge: "But you didn't do much about it."
Marlowe: "Neither did you."
Mrs. Rutledge: "Well, speaking of horses, I like to play them myself. But I like to see them work out a little first. See if they're front-runners or come from behind. Find out what their whole card is. What makes them run."
Marlowe: "Find out mine?"
Mrs. Rutledge: "I think so."
Marlowe: "Go ahead."
Mrs. Rutledge: "I'd say you don't like to be rated. You like to get out in front... open up a lead... take a little breather in the backstretch... and then come home free."
Marlowe, who lights her a cigarette: You don't like to be rated yourself."
Mrs. Rutledge: "I haven't met anyone yet that could do it. Any suggestions?"
Marlowe: "I can't tell till I've seen you over a distance of ground. You got a touch of class but I don't know how far you can go."
Mrs. Rutledge: "A lot depends on who's in the saddle. Go ahead, Marlowe, I like the way you work. In case you don't know it, you're doing all right."
Marlowe: "There's one thing I can't figure out."
Mrs. Rutledge: "What makes me run?"
Marlowe: "Aha."
Mrs. Rutledge: "I'll give you a little hint. Sugar won't work. It's been tried."
Marlowe. "What did you try it on me for? Who told you to sugar me off this case? Was it Eddie Mars?"
With a terrified view, she puts down her glass again.
Marlowe: "All right, don't answer me. But your father didn't tell you to pay me off, did he?"
Mrs. Rutledge: "No. He's not well. I used my own judgment."
Marlowe: "Are you sure?"
Mrs. Rutledge: "I know it hasn't worked so well up till now."
Marlowe: "What's Eddie Mars got to do with this case?"
Mrs. Rutledge: "Nothing. He runs a gambling house. I play horses. I play the wheel."
Marlowe: "You're playing something else too. Never mind talking. Let me do it. Did you know Shawn Regan was supposed to run off with Mars' wife?"
Mrs. Rutledge: "Who doesn't?"
Marlowe: "Did you know he owned the house and was mixed up in that racket too?"
Mrs. Rutledge: "No, I don't believe..."
Marlowe: "Then why does it bother you so much?" Mrs. Rutledge is getting more and more nervous.
Marlowe continues: "What's Eddie Mars got on you?" After hesitating a little: "Come now, angel. Stop shaking. I don't want to hurt you, I'm trying to help you."
Marlowe sits up: "Well, you better run along. But you made a deal and you're going to stick to it, right or wrong. We'll take up the question of you and I when the race is over" Mrs. Rutledge sits up at that. Marlowe continues: "The only trouble is, we could've..." Mrs. Rutledge is being jostled and pushed into Marlowe. The man apologizes: "Pardon me."
Mrs. Rutledge, after being held by Marlowe: "The only trouble is, we could have had a lot of fun if you weren't a detective."
Marlowe: "We still can."
Mrs. Rutledge: "So long, Marlowe."
She leaves as he reflects shortly and talks to the waiter: "Uh, waiter?"
Waiter: "Yes?"
Marlowe: "Have you got a phone?"
Waiter: "Over there."
Marlowe: "Thanks." He then goes to the phone. A short cross-fade and he already is at the telephone.
A woman's voice: Deposit 55 cents, sir."
Marlowe: "How much is that?"
Frau: "55 cents. The woman: "Here's your party, sir."
A man's voice: "Hello? Hello!"
Marlowe: "Hello, may I speak with Mr. Mars, please?"
Mars: "This is Mars."
Marlowe: "Oh, hello Eddie I didn't recognize your voice. This is Marlowe. I want to see you."
Mars: "Sure. When?"
Marlowe: "I'd like to drive up this evening."
Mars: "Come ahead."
Fade to black and the scene in which Marlowe goes to Mars' house, takes place.
05:07 min. (307 sec.)


The scene in which Mrs. Rutledge is being threatened by one of Mars' henchmen after leaving the "gambling hall", was reshot for the theatrical version and dubbed with a new, more familiarly seeming dialogue.

First the events in the pre-release-version:

After Marlowe told the gangster to turn around, he adds: "I don't like people who play games. Tell your boss..." and then knocks him out. After he fell down, he continues: "...when you wake up." and goes to Mrs. Rutledge.
Her: "Nice work, Marlowe. Are you my bodyguard now?"
Marlowe: "Looks like it. You ready to go?"
Her: "Yes."
Cut and we see the two walk towards the car.

In the theatrical version, the situation is depicted like this:

After Marlowe has told the gangster to turn around, he adds: "I don't like people who play games." He then beats him, cut to Mrs. Rutledge and we see the gangster fly past her. Marlowe: "Tell your boss... when you wake up." Marlowe goes to her.
Mrs. Rutledge: "Well, I'm glad I asked you to take me home."
Marlowe: "So am I."
Mrs. Rutledge: "Shall we go now?"
Marlowe: "Aha."
They get going and said cut takes place. The theatrical version is a few seconds longer.
3 sec.
Pre-releaseTheatrical version


After the scene in which Marlowe and Mrs. Rutledge come from Eddie Mars' gambling hall, the theatrical version features a newly implemented scene with Carmen waiting for Marlowe to come home with her. As Carmen is lying naked in Marlowe's bed in the source material, she here sits in a chair, dressed.

After the cross-fade Marlowe comes to his door and opens it. He takes off his hat and steps in the room.
Carmen, sitting in the chair: "Well, what does the hatcheck girl get for a tip?"
Marlowe: "I'm trying to think of something appropriate. How'd you get in here?"
Carmen: "Bet you can't guess."
Marlowe: "I'll bet I can. You came in through the keyhole, like Peter Pan."
Carmen: "Who's he?"
Marlowe: "A guy I used to know around a poolroom."
Carmen: "You're cute."
Marlowe: "I'm getting cuter every minute. How did you get in?"
Carmen: "I showed the manager your card. I stole it from Vivian. I told him you said to come up and wait. I want..." She wanted to start to suck on her finger again, but then stops: "See, I remembered..."
Marlowe: "What do you remember about Shawn Regan?"
Carmen: "I didn't like him."
Marlowe: "Yeah, why?"
Carmen: "He didn't pay any more attention to me than you do. Treated me like a baby all the time."
Marlowe: "How does Eddie Mars treat you?"
Carmen: "I don't know him."
Marlowe: "You sure? You know who he is, don't you?"
Carmen: "He's always calling Vivian up. Why? Is he cute?"
Marlowe: "I think you're telling the truth, for a change."
Carmen: "Is he as cute as you are?"
Marlowe: "Nobody is. Alright kid, I've had a long day. You'd better be going."
She shakes her head.
Marlowe: "Come on, Carmen."
Carmen: "I don't want to."
Marlowe takes her hand and is shortly after bitten by Carmen. He then packs her and ungently puts her in front of the door.
Carmen, while being thrown out: "You can't..."
Marlowe: "Shut up!"
He then closes the door and a fade to black takes place.
01:25 min. (85 sec.)


The dialogue between Bernie Ohls and Marlowe, after he had found out that Mrs. Rutledge instructed the DA to close the case for good, was changed in the theatrical version.

The dialoge in the pre-release-version:

Marlowe: "I know, you just work here."
Marlowe: "All right Bernie, you told me to lay off."
Marlowe: "I'm getting breakfast. Want a cup of coffee?"
Bernie: "No, thanks."
Marlowe then leaves Ohls' office.

Here, the substantially longer scene in the theatrical version:

The new scenes are noticable by the camera position changing in the editing process. Marlowe does also say: "I know, you just work here.", but here, is standing in the middle of the frame in a medium shot.

Marlowe then starts with a rather long monologue, ending in a summarized dialogue, whereas the camera switches shots from time to time: "Put yourself in my shoes for a minute. A nice old guy has two daughters. One of them is, well "wonderful". The other is not so wonderful. As a result, somebody gets something on her. The father hires me to pay off... but before I can, the family chauffeur kills him. But that didn't stop things. It just starts them. And two murders later, I find out somebody's got something on "Wonderful".
Bernie: "Who is somebody?"
Marlowe: "I think it's Eddie Mars."
Bernie: "Why?"
Marlowe: "For one thing, he owns the house Geiger was killed in."
Bernie: "He did. The day after the murder, he transfers the deed to a dummy. What have you got that hooks Mars up with Mrs. Rutledge?"
Marlowe: "Last night, the two of them... I don't want to bore you with the whole story... but they went to the moon to prove there was nothing between them. I think there is, and it's got something to do with Shawn Regan."
Bernie: "Who's missing and supposed to have run off with Eddie Mars' wife?"
Marlowe: "Aha."
Bernie: "What does the general think about all this?"
Marlowe: "I don't know. "Wonderful" won't let me get to him. You still want me to lay off?"
Bernie: "The DA does, but you do all right following you own hunches."
Marlowe: "Thanks, Bernie. I'm going out to get breakfast. You want a cup of coffee?"
Bernie: "I can't afford to be seen with you."
Marlowe must grin and leaves the office: "So long, Bernie."
The cross-fade to the scene in the café takes place.
01:00 Min. (60 Sek.)
Pre-releaseTheatrical version

After Marlowe has left his car on the shoulder, the theatrical version misses a short cutscene depicting all the things Marlowe does in the cockpit of his car. He turns off the engine, removes the licensing, turns off the interior light and takes his guns with him. This scene was probably removed to improve pacing, as it does break with the speed.
25 sec.


The theatrical version starts slightly earlier before Marlowe opens the door.
1 sec.


Now, the scene mentioned in the intro with Eddie Mars' wife, who was recast for the theatrical version, because the actual actress couldn't make it for the reshootings. As usual, the procedure of the pre-release-version is being described, first.


After Marlowe was beat down, he wakes up tied up in the presence of Eddie Mars' wife and Mrs. Rutledge who take care of him and give him something to drink.

When he regains consciousness, he turns to Mrs. Mars: You'd be Mrs. Eddie Mars... the blonde that was supposed to run off with Regan."
Mrs. Mars: "That's right."
The camera pans a little away and Marlowe recognizes Mrs. Rutledge: "Hello, angel."
Marlowe: "Move that light, will you? Or move me."
Mrs. Rutledge turns off the light.
Marlowe: "I thought I'd find you here. I suppose we're in the house back of the garage."
Mrs. Rutledge: "May be you'd better stop talking."
Marlowe: "The boys don't take any chances, do they? Where are they? Out digging a grave?"
Mrs. Rutledge: "You had to go on with this, didn't you?"
Marlowe: "Where are they?"
Mrs. Rutledge: "They've gone down the road to telephone."
Marlowe: "Call up Eddie Mars, find out what to do with me. Hmm. I could tell them that."
Mrs. Rutledge: "Why did you have to go on?"
Marlowe: "Too many people told me to stop. Light me a cigarette, will you, angel?"
Mrs. Mars: "Why'd you have to make trouble? Eddie never did you any harm. I wasn't in love with Shwan. We were friends. If I hadn't hidden when Sawn disappeared... the cops would've been sure he killed him."
Marlowe: "May be he did kill him."
Mrs. Mars: "Eddie's not that kind."
Marlowe: "You mean Eddie Mars never kills anybody."
Mrs. Mars: "No."
Marlowe: "You really believe that, don't you? How do you suppose I found out you were here? Little man named Jones told me. Funny little guy. Harmless. I liked him. Came to sell me the information because I was working for Sternwood. How he came to know, it's along story. Anyway, Canino, you husband's man got to him first... while I stood around like a sap. I was in the next room. Now the little man is dead. But Eddie didn't do that, did he? He never kills anybody, he just hires it done."
Mrs. Mars. "I don't believe you. You're lying!"
Marlowe: "You think he's just a gambler, don't you? I think he's a blackmailer, a hot-car broker... a killer by remote control. Anything with money pinned to it, anything rotten..."
Mrs. Mars throws her glass' content into Marlowe's face, gets up and goes upstairs via the steps.
Marlowe: "Ask him when you see him."
Marlowe to Mrs. Rutledge: "Well, we got rid of her. She's all right. I like her."
Mrs. Rutledge: "You like too many people."
Marlowe: "I wonder if you'd do that for a man."
Mrs. Rutledge: "None that I've ever met."
Marlowe: "Then there's nothing to do but wait till Canino gets back. He doesn't know I was there. You know what he'll do when he finds out, don't you? Beat my teeth out then kick me in my stomach for mumbling. That'll be just the start... "
Mrs. Rutledge: "Stop talking that way!"
Marlowe. "Then, you couldn't have gone, could you?"
Mrs. Rutledge: "Stop it."
Marlowe: "Border patrol would've checked you through alone. Too many people would've seen you without Regan. It was much safer to come here with her, especially for Eddie Mars."
After this line, a cut to Mrs. Rutledge takes place and both versions run in sync again.

Theatrical version

In the theatrical version, the two women cannot be seen yet as Marlowe slowly awakes. Mrs. Mars is sitting here on the armrest of her chair and gives him the glass of water. After he has taken a zip, he says: "You'd be Mrs. Eddie Mars... the blonde Regan was supposed to have run off with.
Mrs. Mars: "That's right."
Marlowe: "Where is Shawn Regan?"
Mrs. Mars: "I'd like to know that myself."
You can hear a door opening, a cut takes place and you see Mrs. Rutledge entering the room.
Marlowe: "Hello, angel. I thought I'd find you here"
Mrs. Rutledge: "Yeah. But you don't seem to be running in front today."
Mrs. Rutledge turns off the light and sits down next to Marlowe at the table.
Marlowe: "I suppose we're in the house back of the garage."
Mrs. Rutledge: "That's right."
Marlowe: "The boys don't take any chances, do they? Where are they? Out digging a grave?"
Cut to Mrs. Rutledge: "You had to go on with this, didn't you?"
Marlowe: "Where are they?"
Mrs. Rutledge: "They've gone down the road to telephone."
Cut to Marlowe: To call up Eddie Mars, huh? To find out what to do with me. I could've told them that."
Cut to Mrs. Rutledge: "Why did you have to go on?"
Marlowe: "Too many people told me to stop. Light me a cigarette, will you, angel?"
Cut and a shot of the three.
Mrs. Mars: "Why'd you have to make trouble? Eddie never did you any harm. Besides, I was never in love with Shawn. We were just good friends. If I hadn't hidden here when Shawn disappeared... the police would've been certain he killed him."
Marlowe: "May be he did kill him."
Mrs. Mars: "Eddie's not that kind."
Marlowe: "You mean Eddie Mars never kills anybody."
Mrs. Mars. "No!"
Marlowe: "You really believe that, don't you?"
Mrs. Mars: "Yes, I do!"
Cut and a closer shot of Mars and Marlowe: "How do you suppose I found out you were here?"
Mrs. Mars. "I don't know. How did you?"
Marlowe: "Little man named Jones told me. Funny little guy. Harmless. I liked him. He sold me the information because he found out... I was working for General Sternwood. How he found out's a long story. Anyway, Canino, you husband's hired man got to him first... while I stood around like a sap. I was in the next room. Now the little man is dead. But Eddie Mars din't do that."
Mrs. Mars: "You're lying."
Marlowe: "Eddie Mars never kills anybody, he just hires it done."
Mrs. Mars: "I don't believe you."
Marlowe: "You think he's just a gambler, don't you? I think he's a blackmailer, a hot-car broker...
Mrs. Mars: "Stop talking!"
Marlowe: "A killer by remote control. Anything with money pinned to it, anything rotten..." and again, he gets water poured into his face. Mrs. Mars also gets up and walks towards the stairs.
Marlowe: "Ask him when you see him."
When she left.
Marlowe: "Well, that got rid of her. She's okay. I like her."
Mrs. Rutledge kneels down to him: "You like too many people."
Marlowe: "Never mind, angel. The water feels good. I wonder if you'd do what she did for a man."
Mrs. Rutledge: "I was wondering that myself."
Marlowe: "There's nothing to do but wait for Canino to come back.He doesn't know I was in the other room.You know what he'll do when he finds out, don't you? Beat my teeth out then kick me in my stomach for mumbling. That's just a start. It won't be pretty to watch."
Mrs. Rutledge: "Please don't talk like that!"
Marlowe: "You should have gone to Mexico..."
Mrs. Rutledge: "Stop! Please!"
Marlowe. "Then, you couldn't have gone, could you? The border patrol would've checked you through alone. Too many people would've seen you without Regan. It was much safer to come here with her, especially for Eddie Mars."
After this line, a cut to Mrs. Rutledge takes place and both versions run in sync again.
32 sec.
Pre-releaseTheatrical version