Howard Hawks’s The Big Sleep (1946) is a serrated Maltese Falcon. It is a tad uglier and more violent than Falcon. Rainfall is not uncommon, and the tough-as-nails banter won’t quit. Further, comely but brittle or semi-brittle dames are everywhere—and out of your league. But not out of Philip Marlowe’s: He gets all the breaks, except when two thugs work him over but good. (Hey, whoever sent the thugs will never live it down.) There is even a certain aggressiveness in the plot’s being so convoluted.
Chalk that one up to Raymond Chandler, who wrote the book. William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett (female) and Jules Furthman wrote the shining screenplay, and this may well be the best Humphrey Bogart-Lauren Bacall vehicle.