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The Characters of Chandler's The Big Sleep

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The Characters of Chandler's The Big Sleep

The differences between the characters in Hawks' adaptation of Chandler's The Big Sleep and the novel are obvious to someone who has noticed the details on both. Of course there are positive and negative aspects to such choices which Hawks makes in his film and those decisions which Hawks made from novel to movie should be examined and questioned whether they helped or hindered the production of The Big Sleep. One of the major differences, and I would argue a drawback, in the film version is the representation of the characters and the predictable ending. Looking specifically at Marlowe and Mrs. Regan, it is easy to see that Hawks changed some things about their characters simply because of the high profile actors: Bogart and Bacall. Such a change in the characters was most likely a decision made by Hawks in order to make the novel more believable or exciting to the audience, perhaps assuming the majority of the viewers may not have read the novel. The end of the movie was completely predictable and I think Hawks took the easy way out when making his decision to end with Marlowe and Regan ending up in love. The changes Hawks made in the characters as well as the end are ones that I assume Hawks made on the basis of what he thought would produce the best film. I can respect Hawks' goal, but I think anyone who has read the novel would agree that the novel is the better version between the two.

Starting with the character of Marlowe, the differences in his character are major ones. In the novel Marlowe is somewhat of a loner- a characteristic that I found intriguing. It is made clear that Marlowe knows this about himself and even revels in this aspect of his personality. He likes to ponder things alone and does not even long for company. Throughout the novel, there are several instances where Marlowe is put in social situations and is always strictly business. Marlowe has drinks with Mr. Geiger while doing business, but does not elaborate on conversation with him. Marlowe is very subdued and laid back in his manner; when he is done talking business with Mr.
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