THE BIG SLEEP is the right name for this cinematic quaalude. Author Chandler, about as synonymous with Los Angeles as smog, wrote about the city of the Angels distinctively. To change the setting of the story to England (producer Kastner lives there, and director Winner is British) is
like setting a Mickey Spillane story in Peoria. Mitchum plays Bogart playing Marlowe, Miles plays Bacall, Clark plays Vickers, and so on. The 1946 version had a sprightly, sharp, funny screenplay by William Faulkner, Jules Furthman, and Leigh Brackett, which never flagged. This falls far below
that level. Some very good British and American actors are hamstrung by the turgid screenpla...