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The Big Sleep: Who killed the chauffeur? (1 Viewer)

Guy Martin

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Okay, I realize this is one of the most famous movie questions of all time. But last night I decided to watch side B of the DVD, the prerelease version with some different scenes, most notably a scene at the District Attorney's office which supposedly explains who killed the chauffeur. If they did I didn't catch it. My only guess is
that since Marlowe's buddy tells the DA that you have two murders, both solved, in reference to the deaths of Geiger (who was killed by the chauffeur because the chauffeur was in love with Carmen and wanted to stop Geiger from blackmailing her) and Joe Brody (killed by Geiger's henchman who thought that Brody killed Geiger). This would indicate that they do not consider the chauffeur's death a murder, and thus the chauffeur, shaken from having murdered Geiger and distraught because he lost the photos (which Brody stole after clocking him (explaining the bruise on the chauffeur's head) merely killed himself by driving off the pier.

The only other theory, which is equally possible in both versions is simply that
Brody killed the chauffeur and was just lying to Marlowe when he said that he didn't.
Simple isn't it? :)
Any thoughts?
- Guy
 

Robert Crawford

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I always believed it was your second theory! Hell, not even the writers or director were exactly sure about it.

Crawdaddy
 

Chauncey_G

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I just bought this title last night! No, really!
I had a chance to see this on the big screen at a local theater called The Englewood that plays nothing but old movies. To be honest, I remembered few details but I did remember loving the movie. So I bought it, but I haven't had a chance to watch it yet. Looking forward to checking out your theories!
P.S.- Lauren Bacall...
 

Rain

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Ok, I admit it. I killed the chauffeur!
Seriously, I've watched this movie a ton of times and had always heard about one of the murders remaining unsolved. Until this moment, though, I wasn't even exactly sure which murder that was. :laugh: Though admittedly, I never really gave the matter much thought.
Just goes to show you how convoluted the film is. But it's just so damn good anyway.
 

Holadem

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I really would have liked to watch this movie without knowing that I wouldn't get an answer at the end!

--
Holadem
 

Rain

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Holadem,

So much goes on in this film that by the time you are finished watching it, you won't even be thinking about it.
 

Kirk Tsai

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Those who think 2001: A Space Odyssey is confusing hasn't seen The Big Sleep. ;) But yeah, it doesn't really matter by the end, you are forced to go along with it, and what a ride!
 

andrew markworthy

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The simple answer is that nobody knows who killed the chauffeur. Certainly Raymond Chandler didn't know in the original book, and the 'anomaly' (if it is one) wasn't cleared up in the movie. Actually, I think it's better that we don't know. I think it sends out a message that things just aren't going to be perfect and neatly wrapped up. If you think about what will happen to some of the main protagonists at the end (mental asylum probably for the rest of their days, old man probably dying from the shock of it all, etc) it isn't exactly a happy story, and the unsolved murder fits in nicely with this.

Incidentally, if you've got the DVD and are trying to work out the plot, it's probably best to start with the original 1945 version. For those who are unaware of this, the movie has two versions. The first, shot in 1945, is pretty much plot-driven. This had a limited run (I think it was shown to servicemen serving in Europe). Then the studio bosses noticed the chemistry between Bogart and Bacall, and extra scenes of the two of them were shot. to keep the movie at a reasonable length, several key plot development scenes were removed or shortened. The result was that the movie became much more a study of the Bogart and Bacall characters and less of a murder mystery. However, in the process, the plot became a *lot* tougher to follow. If you get the DVD, both versions are on plus a very useful short documentary on the differences between them and the story of how the changes came to be made.
 

Guy Martin

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Don't get me wrong, I love the film to death, and have no problem with certain elements going unexplained. My question is simply that some reviews of the 1945 film from it's brief theatrical release claimed that there was a scene explaining the death of the chauffeur in that version and I was just worried that I had missed it.

Definitely one of the great film noirs!

- Guy

"I don't like your manners"

"I don't like them either. They're pretty bad. I grieve over them on long winter evenings."

Classic.
 

Jason L.

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Jul 12, 1999
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I just finished watching this for the Top 100 revote thread.

Even without the chauffeur, this plot is hard to follow!!!

2 things:

1. On the Netflix label it said this film dealt with pornography. I had no idea what they were talking about, then I remembered the photographs of the daughter. I thought the pictures were framing her of killing Geiger. Talk about subtle!! Fast forward to Lethal Weapon, and we see the blackmailed daughter in a porno. How times have changed!!

2. This film had a lot of good looking women:

Becall

Her sister

The woman at Geiger's bookstore

The woman at the bookstore across the street

Mars' wife

The "playboy bunnies" at Mars' mansion

It was pretty ridiculous how these women kept swooning over Malone, since he is old and not very good looking [and short], but it was the style at the time.
 

Rob Willey

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Also, the taxi driver and the waitress who gives Marlowe a match. They were everywhere -- just another thing to love about this superb movie!

Rob
 

Robert Crawford

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How about the female Taxi Driver that tailed a car for Marlowe.



For trivia purposes, the actress that played that woman was a Dorothy Malone with a different hair color besides her usual blonde locks.

Crawdaddy
 

Werner_R

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I never saw this film untill I recently bought it on dvd. After hearing lot's of good things about the movie on this forum I just went out and bought it. I must say it's an excellent film and I'm currently checking out other Bogart movies and other old classics. This forum keeps supplying me with good movies :D
 

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