“The Big Sleep” Character Connections Score Card

The Big Sleep is a classic adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s novel of the same name.  There’s so much going on on-screen and off with so many twists and character interactions you can enjoy the ride without getting all of the details.  And don’t feel bad if you don’t.  Even the actors and film makers weren’t sure who committed one of the murders!

TATJANA SL has provided us a score card to keep track of all the characters and their relationships.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1962)

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1962)

Director: Vincente Minnelli

Screenplay: Robert Ardrey and John Gay based on the novel by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez

Stars: Glenn Ford, Ingrid Thulin, Charles Boyer, Lee J. Cobb,  Yvette Mimieux and Paul Henreid.


The Pitch: “Hey, adapt the novel by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez!”

Tagline: From Ibanez’ immortal classic, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents an unforgettable motion picture

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

As World War II rages, Julio [Ford] a playboy from Argentina is living in Paris.  Although not a fan of the Nazis, like his country, Julio is neutral… until he falls in love with a married woman [Thulin] whose French freedom-fighting husband is a prisoner of war.  Julio begs Marguerite to leave Paris before it is overrun by Germans, but she refuses.

The German take over Paris and Julio is not to surprised to learn that his cousin and uncle are high ranking Nazis.  When Julio discovers that Marguerite is a member of the French underground he knows that he will have to chose sides.

Vincent Minnelli has created a unique film.  I really enjoyed it but bet it won’t be for everyone.

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The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

Director: John Huston

Screenplay: Ben Maddow and John Huston from a novel by W.R. Burnett 

Stars: Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen, James Whitmore, Sam Jaffe, John McIntire, Marc Lawrence, Barry Kelley, Anthony Caruso and Marilyn Monroe.

The Pitch: “Hey, John Huston wants to make The Asphalt Jungle!”

Tagline: The City Under the City

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Ex-con,  “Doc” Riedenschneider (Jaffe) brings together a team for a $750,000 heist.  Even though the job goes sideways, they get away with the money.  Then the double-crosses start.

Marilyn Monroe has a bit part — she wasn’t even listed in movie poster credits on the film’s initial release — but she made such an impact future posters featured her prominently.  The Asphalt Jungle made Marilyn a star!

John Huston with another classic!

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Of Mice and Men (1939)

Of Mice and Men (1939)

Director: Lewis Milestone

Screenplay: Eugene Solow based on the novel by John Steinbeck

Stars: Lon Chaney Jr., Burgess Meredith, Betty Field, Charles Bickford, Roman Bohnen, Bob Steele and Noah Beery Jr.

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s turn Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men into a movie!”

Tagline: A mighty novel! A sensational stage success! Now! The year’s most important picture!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

George (Chaney, Jr.) and Lennie (Meredith) are old buddies who travel from farm to ranch looking for work just barely getting by during the depression. George is a strong giant of a man with the brain of a child.  Lennie constantly looks after George whose strength and lack of mental aptitude is always getting him them in trouble.   Although they dream of one day owning their own little place, it will probably never happen.

George and Lennie get work on a ranch owned by a mean old man and his son, Curley (Steele).  Curley takes an instant dislike to George.  Curley distrusts all the men on the ranch because of his attractive wife (Field), but he especially hates large men.  Lennie warns George to stay away from both Curley and his wife.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that they will stay away from him.

 

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The Rules of Wolfe by James Carlos Blake

The Rules of Wolfe by James Carlos Blake

Publisher: Mysterious Press

First sentence…

Eddie Gato pleaded with us to take him on that run last winter but we said no.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

 

Eddie Gato Wolfe is an ambitious young man who wishes to make a fast rise in the vast Wolfe family criminal organization.  When things aren’t moving as fast as he’d like, Eddie heads down to Mexico and takes a security job for the La Navaja drug cartel.

Assigned to a remote but luxurious desert villa, days and nights are boring.  The only time things liven up is when the cartel bosses fly in with young women to party.  Although contact or conversations with the help is not allowed one of the women seems interested in Eddie… and he in her.  Eddie learns her name is Miranda.

On Miranda’s next visit he sneaks a visit to her and they hit it off.  All is going well until the man who brought her finds them together.  He and Eddie fight and the man ends up dead.  The dead man is the brother of  La Navaja’s leader.  Eddie knows that unless he and Miranda can escape across the desert and back into the United States, a brutal merciless death awaits them both.

Eddie and Miranda head into the desert with the knowledge that the entire La Navaja cartel will be looking for them.  They’re only hope is a lot of luck and maybe some help from the Wolfe’s… the family that he deserted.

James Carlos Blake has another winner!

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Leadfoot by Eric Beetner

Leadfoot (A Rumrunners Novel) by Eric Beetner

Publisher: 280 Steps

First sentence…

Slow it down, McGraw.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

1971.  Calvin McGraw is known as one of the best outlaw drivers working.  Calvin’s son, Webb, looks to follow in his footsteps.  When an easy delivery comes along, Calvin takes Webb to show him the ropes.

Things go sideways and Calvin finds himself in the middle of a gang war.  To make matters worse he needs to be in two places at once so he sends Webb to retrieve a package (that turns out to be a young woman who doesn’t want to be returned to the crime boss’ brother).  Calvin then works to set things right (even if it means killing a whole lot of folks) to protect his family.

I loved this book.

 

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No Country for Old Men (2007)

No Country for Old Men (2007)

Director: Ethan Coen and Joel Cohen

Screenplay: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy

Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson Woody Harrelson and Kelly Macdonald.

The Pitch: “Hey, the Cohen Brothers want to make No Country for Old Men.”

Tagline: You can’t stop what’s coming.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

In the badlands of modern day Texas, Llewelyn Moss (Brolin) comes across a massacre – a massive drug deal that went sideways.  Among the dead bodies Moss finds two million dollars in cash.  Moss takes the money and leaves the scene unreported.  When the drug dealers discover the missing money, they send Anton Chigurh, a psycho hitman (Bardeem) to track down the money.  Chigurh kills without remorse and the bodies start piling up as he tracks Moss.

Once Moss realizes that someone is on to him he prepares for the worst having no idea how bad it will get.

No Country for Old Men is a modern day masterpiece.  It is a film that will stick with you.

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The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

Director: Tay Garnett

Screenplay: Harry Ruskin Niven and Busch  from the novel by James M. Cain

Stars: Lana Turner, John Garfield, Cecil Kellaway, Hume Cronyn, Leon Ames, Audrey Totter and Alan Reed.


The Pitch: “Hey, let’s turn James Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice into a movie!”

Tagline: Their Love was a Flame that Destroyed!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Frank Chambers [Garfield], a drifter stops at a diner and is offered a job by the middle-aged owner, Nick Smith.  As Frank begins to turn down the work, he spots Cora [Turner], a very attractive waitress and changes his mind.

Soon enough Frank learns that Cora is Frank’s wife.  Frank would be ready to move on except that Cora seems interested in him.  Although both Frank and Cora attempt to fight the attraction, it’s strong and will not be denied.  It doesn’t take long until Frank and Cora are planning Nick’s demise.  And we all know how those things work out, don’t we?

Garfield and Turner definitely had chemistry.  I love how each of them fights the attraction.  The Postman Always Rings Twice has a couple of great twists.  The cast and direction are top notch.

A classic.

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Double Indemnity (1944)

Double Indemnity (1944)

Director: Billy Wilder

Screenplay: Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler from the novel by James M. Cain

Stars: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson and Walter Huston


The Pitch: “Hey, let’s turn James Cain’s Double Indemnity into a movie!”

Tagline: From the Moment they met it was Murder!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Walter Neff [MacMurray], an insurance salesman, meets and falls hard for the wife [Stanwyck] of one of his clients.  Before too long they’re plotting his murder to cash in on an insurance policy that Neff tricked him into buying.  Because Neff is in the business he believes they can pull off the murder and make it look like an accident so they can collect on the double indemnity clause.

The only thing between them and the cash is to commit the murder and pull it off without a hitch or Neff’s partner figuring out it wasn’t an accident.

If you like noir, you’ll love Double Indemnity.  Directed by Billy Wilder with snappy dialogue and mounting tension.  If you only know MacMurray from My Three Sons or Stanwyck from The Big Valley, prepare to be shocked!

A classic.

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Robert B. Parker’s Kickback (A Spenser Novel) by Ace Atkins

Robert B. Parker’s Kickback (A Spenser Novel) by Ace Atkins

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Putnam

First sentence…

Maybe he shouldn’t have gone out and celebrated.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Spenser faces one of his greatest challenges when he goes against a corrupt judge with organized crime ties.  Spenser takes on the case of a 17 year old kid, denied a lawyer and sentenced to a year in a youth prison that is run by a corporation with ties to, you guessed it, the judge.

Spenser won’t back down in his quest to right this wrong and finds himself up against cops with think they’re backing a zero-tolerance judge, and thugs who know the true score.

Not just another excellent Spenser tale by Ace Atkins but one of the best Spenser novels.

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The Story of Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Eddie Deezen presents The Story of Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas.  If you click over you’ll learn How the Grinch Stole Christmas went from simply being a follow-up to the best selling The Cat in the Hat to become not only another best seller but a loved Christmas tradition for millions.

Oh, you’ll also learn who the Grinch was based on as well.

Source: Neatorama.

The Naked Edge by David Morrell

The Naked Edge by David Morrell

Hardcover: 396 pages
Publisher: Morrell Enterprises, Incorporated

First sentence…

The sniper had a partner.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Cavanaugh is a retired Special Forces vet, and Security expert.  Now living the quiet life on an isolated Wyoming ranch with his wife, Jamie, their world is literally blown apart when an old friend and fellow vet shows up with a team to kill them.

Cavanaugh and his wife barely survive thanks to Cavanaugh’s training.  Cavanaugh learns that other operatives across the country have been killed.  When Cavanaugh and his wife are attacked again while under police protection, Cavanaugh realizes that the killers will stop at nothing to eliminate him.  Before it is over Cavanaugh discovers that his old friend is leading a group set on a terrorist act that will kill thousands.

David Morrell is the king of thrillers and Naked Edge is another great example of how he earned that title.

 

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Robert B. Parkers Cheap Shot (A Spenser Novel) by Ace Atkins

Robert B. Parkers Cheap Shot (A Spenser Novel) by Ace Atkins

Hardcover: 308 pages
Publisher: Putnam

First sentence…

I had dressed for Chestnut HillL a button-down tattersall shirt that Susan had bought me, a crisp dress khakis, a navy blazer with gold buttons, and a par of well-broken in loafers worn without socks.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Spenser is hired by super star New England Patriots linebacker Kinjo Heywood’s sports agent.  Kinjo has had some shady characters following him and although Kinjo fells he can handle it, Spenser is given the task of looking into it.  Before Spenser can make a determination, Kinjo’s son is kidnapped.

The stakes have been raised and Spenser knows that the boy’s life may rest in Spenser discovering the kidnapper(s) identity.

Another excellent Spenser tale by Ace Atkins.

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Holy Death (A Billy Lafitte novel) by Anthony Neil Smith

Holy Death (A Billy Lafitte novel) by Anthony Neil Smith

Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Down & Out Books

First sentence…

One-thirty in the morning in a truck stop outside of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Holy Death is the fourth yarn in Anthony Neil Smith’s Billy Lafitte series.  If you’re not familiar with it and you like crime stories, then you’re in for a treat.

Billy Lafitte is an ex-cop, an ex-con and is on the run from a prison escape.  Lafitte’s in bad shape from steroid abuse and the wear and tear of escaping from the joint during a prison riot.  Lafitte wants to make it back to his one true love to give her the merciful death she wants and then he hopes to disappear.

As luck [at least Lafitte’s luck] would have it, he crosses paths with DeVaughn Lagrenade, a professional gambler, ex-gang banger and brother of a kid that Lafitte killed.  Now in addition to all the cops looking for him, Lafitte has Lagrenade, his psycho girlfriend and members of Lagrenade’s gang hunting him down.  As they close in on him, Lafitte knows it’s his last chance to make it right [or as right as he can] for the love of his life and his dead child’s mother.

Holy Death is not for the faint of heart of the sqeemish, but if you like a gritty, modern crime story, then this may be for you.  Holy Death is the fourth in the Billy Lafitte series and I’m hoping there’s more.

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