Book

Film Noir & Early Hollywood: The Big Sleep

Feb 11, 2018

When private detective Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) is hired by a wealthy general (Charles Waldron) to investigate the gambling debts of his younger daughter (Martha Vickers), he becomes embroiled in a scheme of blackmail, murder, and subterfuge, made more complicated by his dizzying relationship with the general’s oldest daughter, Mrs. Vivian Rutledge (Lauren Bacall). Bolstered by the matchless performances of Bogart and Bacall, this quintessential Noir film is considered one of Howard Hawks’s greatest triumphs.


In the 1940s, film studios introduced an entirely new film genre to American audiences. Filled with murder, corruption and despair, and populated with detectives and femme fatales, the films that came to be defined as Film Noir grew into enduring and iconic classics. Today, these hard-boiled tales are just as fascinating and entertaining as when they first premiered more than a half-century ago.
The Denver Film Society is excited to present a collection of some of the best American noir classics, kicking off with the film that many suggest marked the genre’s end point (Touch of Evil) and working backward to showcase hallmarks of the form (The Big Sleep and Double Indemnity). The films, featuring career-defining roles by some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including: Lauren Bacall, Orson Welles, Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck, Janet Leigh, and Edward G. Robinson, are cinematic treats, not to be missed on the big screen.
Along with these monthly screenings, DFS will also present a series of lectures by local film scholars that provide additional context and insights into the early American cinema. Lectures include an introduction to film noir, its history, impact and influences; a discussion about how Hollywood helped shape attitudes about the female body; and a presentation on the history of censorship and the Hays code in Hollywood. All screenings and lectures in this series take place at the Sie FilmCenter and are free for members, and just $7 for non-members.