The Big Sleep (1978) - full transcript

Philip Marlowe is asked by the elderly (and near death) General Sternwood to investigate an attempt at blackmail on one of his daughters. He soon finds that the attempt is halfhearted at best and seems to be more connected with the disappearance of the other daughter's husband, Rusty Regan. Rusty's wife, seems unconcerned with his disappearance, further complicating the mystery. Only General Sternwood seems concerned as mobsters and hired killers continue to appear in the path of the investigation.

It was about 11 o'clock in the morning.
I was wearing my dark blue suit...

... with powder-blue shirt, tie
and display handkerchief...

... black brogues, black wool socks
with dark blue clocks on them.

I was neat, clean-shaven and sober.

I was everything the well-dressed
private detective ought to be.

I was calling on ten million pounds.

I'm Philip Marlowe.
General Sternwood's expecting me.

Do come in please, sir.

Thank you.

If you'd wait here, sir,
I'll let the General know you're here.

- Tall, aren't you?
- I don't mean to be.

Handsome, too.

- What's your name?
- Reilly.

Doghouse Reilly.

- What do you do?
- I'm a detective.


Yeah. I came over here during the war
and couldn't find my way home.

- Are you making fun of me?
- Now why would I do that?

You are tall...!

I like you.

- Hey, wait a minute!
- Ahem!

The General will see you now,
Mr Marlowe.


- Who was that?
- Miss Camilla Sternwood, sir.

You ought to start weaning her.
She looks old enough.

This way, sir.

In here, sir.

- This is Mr Marlowe, General.
- Sir.

You're looking at a rather
dull survival of a gaudy life.

A cripple...

...both legs paralysed.

And just half his lower belly.

- Brandy?
- Thank you.

I... I used to drink this with champagne.

So you know Inspector Carson?

Our paths cross now and then.

He recommended you.
He said you had...

...that American quality of insubordination.

- What do you know of "me"?
- Well, you're very rich.

Your wife died several years ago
and you moved to England.

You have two daughters -
very pretty, but... a trifle wild.

The older one married an Irishman
called Rusty Regan.

I'm very fond of Rusty.


He was the breath of life to me
while he lasted.

- What happened to him?
- He went away.

He went away, a month ago.

Without even saying goodbye to me.

That hurt a little.

I'll be hearing from him one of these days.

Meanwhile, I'm being blackmailed again.

Two or three months before
Rusty came, about a year ago...

...I paid ?5,000 to a man
by the name of Joe Brody... leave my younger daughter
Camilla alone.

I met her in the hall.

Yes. I'm afraid my girls
have all the usual vices.

She tried to sit on my lap.
I was standing up at the time.

Uh, what about the, uh...
what about the note?

"On demand I promise to pay
Arthur Gwynn Geiger ?1,000."

Signed Camilla Sternwood.

- I'd pay.
- Why?

It's a little money against
a lot of annoyance.

I have pride, sir.

This, uh, bookseller - Geiger.
He says this is a gambling debt.

Well, I pay this,
how many more will turn up?

In that case, I'll come down on him.
He'll think a bridge fell on him.

I'm sure you will.

What are your charges, Mr Marlowe?

?50 per day plus expenses -
when I'm lucky.

That seems reasonable for removing
morbid growths from people's backs.

The matter is in your hands.
Don't ask my daughter Camilla about it.

She'll just suck her thumb and look coy.

And now, Mr Marlowe,
I must excuse myself.

I'm tired.

The General instructed me to give you
a cheque for whatever you require, sir.

Instructed you? How?

By the way he rang his bell, sir.

- You write his cheques?
- I have that privilege, sir.

That should keep you from a pauper's
grave. No money just yet, thanks.

There is one other thing, sir.
Mrs Regan wants to see you.

The older daughter?
How did she know I was here?

She must have seen us go into
the greenhouse, sir. She lives up there.

So, you're a genuine private detective?

I didn't know they really existed.

What are you staring at?

What looks like trouble.

- Did you like Dad?
- I liked him.

He liked my husband.


Oh, Rusty was a lot of fun for Dad!

More fun for Dad than he was for me!

- Did he say anything about Rusty?
- He said something.

He wants to find him?

Well, yes and no.

I don't see what there is
to be cagey about.

I don't like your manners.

No, I grieve over them myself
in the long, lonely winter evenings.

What is it you're afraid of, Mrs Regan?

Then he... didn't want to
see you about Rusty?

- Why don't you ask "him"?
- Forget it.

Please... Mr Marlowe?

Please... Could you find Rusty
if Dad asked you to?

When did he go?

Oh, about a month ago.

They found his car
in a hotel garage somewhere.

- They?
- He "didn't" tell you, then.

That is not what your father
wanted to see me about.

Is that what you've been trying
to get me to tell you?

As a matter of fact, yes.

Very well. Then I'll be trotting along.

She had lovely legs.
I will say that for her.

I did a little superficial research, even
though the job her father had given me...

... was a lawyer's job.

If Mr Arthur Gwynn Geiger...

... Rare Books and First Editions...

... turned out to be a blackmailer...

... it was still a lawyer's job.

Unless there was a lot more to it
than met the eye.

At a casual glance I thought
I might have a lot of fun finding out.

Can I help you?

Do you have a "Chevalier Audubon" 1840
- the full set?

Not... at the moment. No.

What about a "Ben Hur" 1860?

- The one with the erratum on page 116.
- I'm afraid not.

You "do" sell books?

What does this look like? A banana?

Do you collect old manuscripts?

- No. Only unpaid bills.
- I see.

- Is Mr Geiger expected back?
- I'm afraid not until later.

Well, I'll just sit and wait
in one of your charming chairs.

- It'll probably be very late.
- Oh, that's all right.

I've nothing else to do except... sit here
and think about my trigonometry lesson.


Of course.

I knew what the book would be, of course.

Handsomely printed, indescribably filthy.

A book to rent from a library
of elaborate smut.

On my way back to the shop I'd asked
about Mr Arthur Gwynn Geiger...

... the librarian.

I'd learned that he was about 50,
tall, with a glass eye.

He drove a beige Alvis car.

All right now, dopey.

That's the girl!

Sorry, honey, you're too late.
They've taken your pictures away.

Come on now. Let's go home. Come on.

Oh! Good evening, sir.

- Good evening. Is Mrs Regan home?
- No, sir.

- I hope the General's asleep.
- Evening is his best time for sleeping, sir.

You'd better get the maid.
This requires a woman's touch.

Oh, dear me, yes. I'll get Mathilda.

- May I call you a taxi, sir?
- No.

As a matter of fact, I'm not here.
You're just seeing things.

- Thank you.
- Thank you.

I'd told a dying old man that
I'd come down on a blackmailer...

... but someone else
had done it for me with a gun.

I was left with the book
from Geiger's bedroom.

It seemed to be names and addresses,
all in code. Probably his customers.

And probably Camilla Sternwood,
who he was blackmailing.


Morning, Marlowe. It's Carson.
Did you see General Sternwood?


Then perhaps you know
why his Bentley... washing about in the sea
near Ramsgate.

The car's a mess,
and so is the man inside it.

I'm driving down to take a look.

What's the story?

He went through down there.
Must have hit pretty hard.

It was high tide at one last night
and no one round here saw anything.

Broken neck seems
to be the cause of death.

What about that bruise?

- Looks like someone hit him.
- I'd say suicide.

He ploughed an awfully straight furrow
down the pier. We don't suspect foul play.

- Do you know the man?
- The Sternwood chauffeur.

I saw him polishing the car yesterday.

Did your job for the General
have anything to do with him?

- Not at all. I don't even know his name.
- Owen Taylor.

Yes, that's his name. About two years ago
the General called me.

Taylor had run off with that crazy
daughter. The young one.

I helped trace them to Scotland,
where you can get married quickly.


Next day the older sister comes and says
Taylor was gaga over her sister Camilla...

...and she put him up to the marriage
thing. Meanwhile we'd checked...

...and found he'd done six months
for robbery a few years earlier.

Screwy family.

I guess now you gotta
go against them, huh?

I'll have to ask them some questions.

Try to leave the old man
out of it if you can.


He's got enough trouble.
And besides he's sick.

You mean he pines for his
dear lost friend Rusty Regan?

Look, I know nothing about Rusty Regan.

Regan hasn't harmed anybody that
I know of. I'm not looking for Regan.

- Oh, it's you.
- Mr Geiger in today?

No, I'm, er... I'm afraid he's not.

What was it that you wanted?

I was just kidding about
those first editions I asked for.

I have to be very careful. I've, uh...
got something that Geiger wants.

Oh, a salesman.
You'd better come back tomorrow, then.

Hey, knock it off. I'm in the business, too.

Look, if he's sick, I can go on up
to the house. I haven't got for ever.

That wouldn't do any good. He's out of
town. Now just come back tomorrow!


Tomorrow, then.

I'd like to give you a card,
but, uh... you know how it is.

Yes. I know how it is.


Can you follow that van?

- It ain't moving.
- Just suppose it does.

- Sure!
- OK, let's go.

We're gonna lose him.
Can't you go faster?

Ohh, be quiet!

We've lost him.

What the hell! Try left.

I said turn left!

Look, if you don't like my driving,
you know what "you" can do.

Stop! Stop here!

- What about the fare?
- I gave you ?5 when I got in.

What about a tip, then!

The name on the bell read J Brody.

A man called Joe Brody had received
?5,000 from General Sternwood...

... to stop playing with Camilla and
find some other little girl to play with.

It could be the same J Brody.

Are those for my friend
Joe Brody in No.3?

Yeah. 100lbs a box, easy.
And I've got a bad back.

Well, you shouldn't join
if you can't take a joke.


Well! You "do" get up!

Well, doesn't everyone - eventually?

I'm sorry about yesterday.

Perhaps I "was" a little rude.

We were both rude.

You don't put on much of a front.

You can't make much money
in this business if you're honest.

- And you're honest?
- Painfully.

How come you end up
in this slimy game, then?

How come you end up
marrying a gunrunner?

Let's not argue again - hm?

I've been trying to get
hold of you all morning.

About Owen Taylor?

You know about that?

Carson at the Yard thought I did.
Seems he knew more about it than "I" did.

He told me that Owen at one time
wanted to marry your sister.

It wouldn't have been too awful if he had.

After all...

...he was in love with her.

We don't find too much
of that in our circle.

Is that what Dad wanted
to see you about? Hm?

- Camilla?
- He still hasn't asked me to discuss it.

You'd better look at those, anyway.

How much do they want?

?10,000 by tonight, or else they
give them to a porno magazine.

And the demand came how?

This woman telephoned
shortly after those arrived.

She said there could be police involved...

...and if I didn't pay I'd be visiting
my sweet little sister in jail.

Can you get the 10,000 cash?

Mm... I could probably get it
from Eddie Mars.

- Who?
- Eddie Mars.

He owns the Cheval Club.
I was there last night, playing roulette.

You "would" like roulette.

All the Sternwoods love losing games.

Like roulette.

Like marrying men that walk out on them.
Like Dad riding in steeplechases at 68...

...and being rolled on
and crippled for life.

Can you do anything?

I think I can.

I like you. You believe in miracles.

I think I can get the 10,000.

After all, I've been a good customer
to Eddie Mars.

And there is another reason
why Eddie should be nice to me.

Eddie's wife, Mona, is the woman
my husband, Rusty, ran away with.

Doesn't that interest you?

I'm not looking for Rusty.

She has a great little body, doesn't she?


You should see mine sometime.

Hold it!

You remember me - Doghouse Reilly?

Come on. Let's go inside, huh?

How much do you remember
about last night?

- I was ill last night. I was at home.
- The hell you were!

Before I took you home, you were
on that chair on that orange scarf.

You remember all right.

What do you want?

I wanna know who killed Geiger.
Did Joe Brody do it?

Joe Brody? Him?!

Oh, come on!

Let's not be clever, for God's sake!

This is the time for a little old-fashioned
simplicity. Did Joe Brody kill him?

- Kill who?
- Oh, Christ!

- Yes. Joe did it.
- Why?

- I don't know.
- Have you seen much of him lately?

I hate him.

Then you'd like to see him
turned in for the killing, huh?

You're not Reilly! You're Philip Marlowe,
a private detective! My sister told me!

So you "do" remember. You came back for
the photos and couldn't get in the house.

Well, the photos are gone, so don't worry.
Just forget you were ever here.

Leave it to Reilly.

I've got to go "now"!

I was hoping to see Mr Geiger.

We don't know where he is.

Oh, really?

- You are friends of his, of course?
- We just dropped by for a book.

- Books, eh?
- Yeah.

- Well, we'll, uh... trot along now.
- The little lady can go.

But I'd like to talk to you, soldier.

Stay awhile.


Quite a lot of blood.

Is that so?

- I'll call the police.
- Yeah, you do that.

Who the hell are you?

Philip Marlowe. I'm a private investigator.

- From America?
- Way back.

- How come you had a key?
- I own this house.

Well, well!

You're Eddie Mars, aren't you?

I knew you owned the Cheval Club, but I
didn't know you went in for pornography.

I'm after Geiger for... personal reasons.

I'm not part of his rackets.

Maybe you killed him to muscle in.

Geiger didn't turn up at the store today.
I hear somebody moved his stock out.

- I like to know what my tenants are up to.
- Funny. "My" landlord never bothers.

Stop believing you're so amusing...

...and stay away from this house.

And stay further away from me, all right?

I'll just drift.

Oh, by the way... how's "Mrs" Mars?

We have a mutual friend, she and me.
An Irishman named Rusty Regan.

- You Joe Brody?
- So what?

You've got the books, Joe.

I've got Geiger's list of customers.
The ones he was trying to blackmail.

I think we ought to
have a little talk about that.

Well, I'm listening. Cigar?

Tut, tut, tut!

So many guns lately.

- So few brains.
- Why did you come here?

Why not ask your friend to come in?
She must be tired of holding her breath.

Come in, Agnes.

I knew he was trouble.

The sucker list I have,
Geiger's list, is in code.

Must be about, uh... 500 names on it.

If those are Geiger's regular customers,
I reckon it to be about...

...half a million pounds a year profit.
That's worth killing a man for.

- He's crazy!
- Shut up, Agnes!

I do think the blackmail's
a mistake, though, Joe.

I'd just stick with the dirty books.

You're a very funny fella.

- Who exactly has this lovely racket?
- You do now.

- I didn't kill Geiger.
- I know someone who'll say you did.

Oh, that little whore!

She would!

Great. I thought it was you who
grabbed those nude photos of her.

How about a little cash? I'm running low,
and Agnes and me want to move on.

No chance.

You win.

Keep him covered. If he gets jumpy,
use your own judgment.

I want my pictures, Joe!

Come and get it, Joe!
Joe, give me my pictures!

Wait a minute, Camilla.

- Christ! Don't let her kill me!
- Just stay put. You'll be all right.

Come on, honey, get up from there.
You look like a Pekinese.

The photos, Joe. Give.

Is this the lot?


- Can I have my photos?
- I'll take care of these. You go on home.

- Home?
- Yeah. You go home and wait for me.

- You take care of Camilla, don't you?
- Check.

- Can I have my gun?
- Later.

Camilla likes you a lot.


Why did you blackmail Mrs Regan
instead of the old man?

I tapped the old man a few months ago.

He paid me off
to leave that idiotic daughter.

I'd have left her, anyway. I reckoned her
elder sister could raise a few thousand.

- Business been bad, then?
- I'm a bookmaker.

The punters have had all the luck lately.

- Where'd you get these?
- Someone gave them to me.

A half-smart guy.
That's all I ever meet!

You've got your photos.
You obviously aren't going to the police.

- Nobody has anything on me.
- Except for a couple of murders.

- Now what does that mean?
- Where were you at 10.30 last night?

I thought maybe I could persuade
Geiger that he needed a partner.

I wondered if he had any protection...

... but only women
seemed to go to his house.

Last night it was Camilla Sternwood.

So I drive round the back
where there's a brown Bentley parked.

I know it belongs to the Sternwoods...

...from my memorable days as
Camilla's friend, so I waited.

Tell me more.

I waited about ten minutes,
then I walked down to the house.

I saw someone going in
through the kitchen door.


I saw the killer run down
the back garden...

... into the Bentley...

... and off.

So you went after him
and took the negatives?

I followed him quite a long way. Then...

... the kid skidded into a phone box
and I caught up with him.

I developed the photos.

When Geiger didn't turn up at his shop,
didn't answer his telephone...

... I reckoned he'd been killed.

So, with Agnes's help,
I borrowed his stock.

Not her again!

If it is, she doesn't have her gun.
That should comfort you.

Not much.

- Is that you, Brody?
- Yeah. Wait a minute.

Me or the cops?

- Who are you?
- A friend of Geiger's.

- Leave me alone!
- This is a small pistol, kid.

Would you like a small hole
through the middle of your gullet?

Now look. We're going to walk
slowly down to my car.

You're going to drive me
to Uncle Geiger's house.

- What's your name?
- Karl Lundgren.

Well, you shot the wrong man, kid.
Joe Brody didn't kill your boyfriend.

All right, you've got a key. Let's go.

- Who says I have a key?
- Your friend Geiger gave you a key.

Why don't you shoot me?

Seems to be three people who have a key
to this house. You, me and Eddie Mars.

That means you or Eddie Mars dragged
Geiger's body out of here and hid it.

I think you.

Now where is it?

You are so helpful!

Here they are, then...

68 of the world's most beautiful girls
for the Miss World contest...

What, Marlowe?

I said, I've been very busy
these past several hours.

I think it's time we all had
a little get-together.

I've called Commander Barker.
All this is in his area.

Always glad to help the department.

- Ah, Jim!
- Hello, Stephen. How are you?

I was at a reunion dinner.
What's all this about?

Mr Marlowe's a private detective.
Caught this man Karl Lundgren...

...who shot a man dead in Randall Way
a couple of hours ago.

You caught him?

All by myself.


What have you got
on the Randall Way killing?

A corpse called Joe Brody,
and a brunette, Agnes Lozelle.

She was there when Brody was shot.
Claimed she didn't see the killer.

- Is that all?
- It only happened an hour ago.

Mr Marlowe here just delivered
the man he says murdered Brody.

Here's his gun.

Tell your story, Marlowe.

You heard about the car
fished out of the sea with a corpse in it?


The dead guy was chauffeur
to a family named Sternwood.

Last night he shot and killed
a guy named Geiger in this area.

I couldn't bear to hear all this twice.

You may as well make a statement
of it at the same time.

I told my story.

I left out two things,
not knowing why at the time.

I left out Camilla's visit
to Brody's apartment...

... and Eddie Mars's visit
to Geiger's house in the afternoon.

I told the rest of it just as it happened.

Sign it.

So it seems the chauffeur, Taylor,
committed suicide?

- That's my guess.
- Who hid Geiger's body, then?

Lundgren must have. I suppose he came
back while I was taking Camilla home...

...dragged Geiger's body to the garage...

...then decided he hadn't
done right by his friend... he came back and
laid him out on the bed.

We'll keep the books. These blackmail
notes from General Sternwood are yours.

Thank you.

And let me tell you something.

I'm a close friend of old man Sternwood.

In my time I've done all I can
to save him grief, but in the long run...

...those girls are bound to do
something no one can hush up.

This didn't start with Geiger.

It started with Rusty Regan disappearing.

What started?

I think that's what the old man
really wanted you to find out.

It was close to eleven
when I got back to my apartment.

I'd concealed a murder
and suppressed evidence for 24 hours...

... but I was still at large
and nobody seemed unduly worried.

As I got to the door
I heard my television was on.

I wasn't in, so I guessed
somebody else must be.

My, we "are" tough tonight!

And how we do keep
our friends waiting, don't we!

I smell of policemen.

I'm too tired to talk. I'm too tired to eat.
And I'm too tired to think.

Don't worry, there's no damage.

You see, we didn't feel
that it was necessary.

And besides that, the lobby
was becoming so... fearfully boring.

It's fascinating on the way out.
Why don't you try it?

May I tell you something, soldier?

I'm nice to be nice to.

But I'm not nice not to be nice to.

Listen hard.
You'll hear my teeth chattering.

There were police at Geiger's.
Did you keep me out of it?

Why should I?

Did you?

Yeah, I kept you out of it.

I don't know why.

I guess it was just
complicated enough without you.

Thank you, soldier.

- Who killed Geiger?
- The chauffeur.

I hear you're looking for Rusty Regan.

A lot of people seem to think I am,
but, uh... I'm not.

Well, just in case you are...

...I might have an idea for you.

Why don't you pop round
and see me at the club? Any time.


You see, Marlowe, I have a funny feeling...
that it would be very amusing... meet you again.

General Sternwood's residence.

- This is Marlowe. Remember me?
- "Mr Marlowe! Of course!"

Is Mrs Regan in?

I believe so, sir. Shall I just go and see?

No, just give her a message, will you?

Tell her that I have the pictures, and
that everything is all right. You got that?

Oh, yes. You have the pictures,
and everything is all right.

May I say thank you, sir?

Of course.

Carson asked me to help you,
Mr Marlowe.

That's as much as I can.

There are 17,000 or so people
reported missing at this moment.

We don't find many of them. If murder's
suspected, there's a big search...


Here's the file on Rusty Regan. Look at it.
Take notes. It mustn't leave my office.

The General took a great fancy to him.
He's crippled and lonely...

...and Regan used to sit around
and keep him company.

Do you know Eddie Mars
who owns the Cheval Club?

I know of him, yes.

Some say Regan went off
with his wife, Mona.

Well, if this is a picture of
wife Mona, I don't blame him.

You think Regan was killed?

He sold arms to the Irish.

Took risks.

But normally, if they're murdered,
we find them.

The General should offer
a reward for Regan.

The government doesn't
give us the money it takes.

Do you think Eddie Mars
killed them both?

I think the same as you think: He ran off
with a woman who meant more to him...

...than a rich wife
he couldn't get along with.

- You met Mrs Regan?
- She'd, uh... make a jazzy weekend...

...but she'd be a bit wearing
for a steady diet.

My wife wouldn't even
make a jazzy weekend.

I never married.

Philip Marlowe here.

Norris here, sir.

General Sternwood is unwell,
but I have read the papers to him...

...and he assumes your investigations
are now complete.

And he has instructed me
to send you a cheque for ?500.

That's very generous of him. I'll return the
notes he gave me and destroy the photos.

Then we may consider
the matter concluded, sir?

Why not?

Very well, sir.

- Good evening, sir.
- Good evening.

Benny! The gentleman's car!

Your boss invited me.


Mr Marlowe.

Good evening, my lord.

Mr Mars, there's a Mr Marlowe to see you.

Let him have up to ?2,000. No more.

Ah, soldier! How good to see you again!

Do sit down.

Ah. Well, maybe a drink?

You hinted that you had
something for me.

What is it?

- Have you been here before?
- No, I don't get any kick out of gambling.

There's a friend of yours in there
gaming on the wheels.

I hear she's doing rather well.

Charlotte Regan.

How much do I owe you?

Owe me? For what?

For keeping me out of the newspapers.

You said you had some information.



About what?

You have a short memory. Rusty Regan.

Oh, that! I heard you got all that from...

...Gregory at Scotland Yard.

- You heard?
- Yes, well, we are...

...we are good friends, he and I.

Look, soldier, you've been good to me.
I pay people who are good to me.

I didn't come here to make a touch.

I get paid for what I do. Not very much
by your standards, but I make out.

You didn't knock Regan off yourself,
did you?


- Did you think I had?
- I wouldn't put it past you.

I thought you weren't looking
for Rusty Regan.

I know someone who would
like to know where he is.

General Sternwood.

Geiger was trying to blackmail him.

The General didn't say so, but I figure he
was scared Rusty Regan was behind it.

Geiger worked that on everybody. He'd
get notes that weren't legal and try it on.

If it didn't work, he'd just drop it.

Well, he certainly dropped it this time.
Dropped it and fell on it.

Look, Marlowe,
you were looking for Geiger.

Geiger's dead, isn't he? You're finished.

That's right. Finished and paid off.
Think I'll take a walk around the club.

The door over there
leads out behind the tables.

Thanks, but I'll go in
the same way the suckers enter.

- We are still friends, aren't we, soldier?
- Sure we are.

Then maybe one day
I'll be able to do you a "real" favour.

You wouldn't have somebody tailing me
around in a grey Humber, would you?


Why the hell should I?

I can't imagine.

Place your bets, please.

21, red. Red win.

Scotch and water, please.

Dom P?rignon, George,
for the lady in pink.

- Doing all right for a change, is she?
- Eight straight wins in a row.

She can't lose, can she?

You wanna bet?

You rake it up fast enough!
If somebody wins you get nervous!

I'm afraid the rules are a maximum
of ?5,000 on the even bets... if you take off... about 6,000.

Just spin the wheel. Hmm?

I'm sorry, madam.
I just work for the house.

Just spin it!

Is anything the matter, Mrs Regan?

If you've finished playing...

...perhaps our chauffeur
can drive you home.

One more play, Eddie. Hm?

Everything I have on red.

You're already over the limit.

If nobody else objects.


Seven, red.

Red win.

I think I've got the system!

- Shall I call for your car, sir?
- No, I think I'll get some air.

The car park's just down the alley, sir.
The attendant does have your keys.

Thank you.

Quitting while you're ahead?

Why not?

Makes a change!

It's a gun, lady. Yell and it's all over.

Hello, Lanny.
I told you - never do that.

You're covered.


Good guess.

Now set the bag down between
your feet. Slow and easy.

Tell me I can't get away with it.
People just keep giving me guns!

Town's falling to pieces!

On your way, Lanny.

No hard feelings, uh, Lanny?
You keep it quiet, I'll keep it quiet.


Nice work, Marlowe.

- Are you my bodyguard now?
- Yeah, looks like it.

What are you doing here?

Eddie Mars wanted to see me.

What about?

He thought I was looking for a man who
people say had run away with his wife.

- Were you?
- No, I was not.

Then... what "did" you come for?

To find out "why" he thought
I was looking for a man...

...who people say had
run away with his wife.

- And did you find out?
- I did not.

- What's Eddie Mars got on you?
- He just doesn't like me winning.

I suppose he's the one
that sent that loogan after you.

- Loogan?
- The guy with the gun.

Are you a loogan?

A loogan is on the wrong side
of the fence.

Is there a wrong side?

What's Eddie Mars got on you?

- You mean a hold of some sort?
- Yeah.

Wittier, Marlowe.

I don't pretend to be witty.

How's the General?

Not good.

I do not want him to die hating us.

You shoot people, don't you,
Mr Marlowe?

You're a killer.


You're one of those quiet, deadly men.

No feelings.

You've enough shady friends
to know different.

They're all soft, Marlowe,
compared to you.


Where do you live?


By the cathedral.

Do you care to show me?

- You want to see it?
- Yes...

What's Eddie Mars got on you?

- So that's the way it is.
- That's the way it is.

You bastard!

You rotten bastard!


Kissing you is nice, but your father
did not hire me to sleep with you.

What's Eddie Mars got on you?

Say that again and I'll... scream!

Go ahead - scream.

Why do you think he has anything on me?

Oh, come on!
He let you win a lot of money...

...and then he has some comedian
come at you with a gun.

You're not even surprised!

I think it's all an act.

You know something?

You have a wonderful way with women.

So you won't be a sister to me?

If I had a knife, I'd slit your throat...

...just to see what would run out.

I told you the first time I met you,
I'm a detective.

I work at it, lady.

I don't play at it.


I'm all undressed!

You know, I had almost worked that out.

In another second I'd have said:
I bet you're all undressed.

You're cute.

It's nice, but I've already seen it all.


The porter let me in.

I told him that you wanted me
to meet you here.

Well, now that we know how you got in...

...suppose you tell me
how you're going to get out.

Not going. I like it here.

We have to keep on being friends.
It's a matter of professional pride.

I'm working for your father.
He trusts me not to pull any stunts.

I'm going to make a drink. You want one?

Yes, please.

If you're all dressed when I get back,
you get the drink, OK?

- Gimme!
- No, no! Not till you get dressed.

You jerk!

I will give you three minutes to get
yourself dressed and get out of here.

If you're not out by then
I will throw you out...

...and you can get dressed in the hall.
Now get started.

The next morning
the grey Humber was outside.

A small man sat in it, alone.

He might be a cop with time to waste...

... or a smoothie in the detective business
trying to chisel his way into my case.

Or maybe he was the Bishop of Bermuda,
disapproving of my night life.

In my office an envelope contained a
brief formal note and a cheque for ?500...

... signed for General Sternwood
by Vincent Norris.

That made it a nice day.

I was wondering whether to get
the car put right, buy a suit...

... or pay off some of my creditors, when
the man from the grey car showed up.

Come in.

Maybe you know me.


You've been following me around
for the past couple of days... a fella trying to pick up a girl,
lacking just that last inch of nerve.

- Look, I am Harry Jones.
- And you knew a guy called Joe Brody.

How do you know that?

Well, you're too short to be a cop.
You don't belong to Eddie Mars.

Nobody except Joe Brody's friends
would have that much interest in me.

Yeah, well...

Agnes sent me. You... you've met Agnes?

Only bookseller with enough sex appeal
to stampede a businessman's lunch.

Er... you made a crack up there...

The day Brody got himself killed.

You said Brody must know something
special about the Sternwoods...

...or he would never have risked
blackmailing them with that photo.

- What did he know?
- I'm selling that. ?200.

We've got to get out, Agnes and me.

She's too big for you. One of these days
she'll roll over and smother you.

- That's not nice.
- No, you're right.

- What have you got for the money?
- Will you pay it?

- If it does what?
- Helps you to find Rusty Regan.

I'm not looking for Rusty Regan.

Oh, yeah?

- Go ahead.
- Oh, I knew Rusty.

I mean, not that we were that close,
but, er... well enough to say...

What's going on then, Rusty, eh?

And he'd answer or not,
according to how he felt.

They were all there that night.
Eddie Mars with Charlotte Sternwood...

... and the reason for them
being there - Mona Grant.

She was a singer.
Mars was mad about her.

And so was Rusty.

Charlotte Sternwood hung around
the joints like she couldn't sleep nights.

## Won't somebody dance with me? #

# Start up a... ##

Eddie Mars got Mona Grant,
the singer. They married.

And Rusty got sore and married
Charlotte Sternwood.

The marriage was a bit, er...
and Rusty started to see Mona the singer.

And then... they both vanished.

Together, people said.

Most of that's on the record, Harry.
It's not worth ?200.

Yeah, but then... a new fella
enters the scene. Lash Canino.


Lash Canino. The brown man.

I was in this pub collecting bets for
Joe Brody and, suddenly, there he is.

The brown man. Brown suit, brown shirt,
brown car. Brown girl he had, too.

And a foot!

Well, he'd been shot, hadn't he?
Left leg all in plaster.

Canino is tough
like some guys "think" they're tough.

He'd bump a guy off between drinks.

Eddie Mars calls him in
when he has something special.

At the office I tell Joe I seen Canino.

He puts that together with
Rusty and Mona disappearing.

Joe collected 5,000 from
the Sternwood family once before.

Now he reckons he can get a line
on the lovebirds and collect twice...

... from Eddie Mars and the General.

So he tails Canino.
He follows him to the park.

And there's Charlotte Sternwood
waving banknotes about...

... as if she's gonna feed the pigeons.
But Canino picks them up!

Joe figures Canino knows
something about Regan...

...and is trying a little squeeze
on the side for himself.

I still don't see ?200 in it.

If Charlotte thought anything
had happened to Regan...

...Mars is just the type she'd go to.

But what if Eddie's wife, Mona the singer,
never really ran away with Regan at all?

What if she's being kept
just outside London, in a hideaway... the law think she and Regan
went off safely together...

...when all the time she's being held
on her own, out there?

That's an address I'll pay for.

- Agnes found her. She'll tell you where.
- "You" tell me. I've already met Agnes.

No, no. I promised her. She'll tell you,
when she... when she's holding the cash.

- Do you know Burlington House?
- Small, sick businesses go there to die.

Brody's office is on the ground floor.

Eight o'clock? Right.

Bring the cash.

Harry...! Eddie doesn't like you seeing
private detectives. That's naughty!

You don't know that I...

Marlowe told Eddie Mars that someone
followed him in a grey Humber.

"Your" car, Harry.

I, er... A-Agnes wants to sell
some information to him.

Sell what?

Er... er... photos. Photos of the
Sternwood girl that Geiger took.

Our information is that
Marlowe already has them.

Agnes kept some, you see. She's like that.


And where is Agnes?

I don't know. I don't want to get her
into this. I... Mr Can...

Well, she's, er...

She's at 68 Redlynch Court, Kensington.

You and I...

...will go and visit her.

And don't you be fooling me!

No, that is the truth. I...

Here's to the truth!



To Agnes and the truth, Harry!


Is Harry there?

Not at the moment, Agnes.


Where is he?

Look, I've got the ?200. If you give me
the address, I'll bring it to you.

Do you know the Italian gardens
in Hyde Park?

Give me the money.

Hmm. This should get me away.

What happened to Harry?

Canino got wise to him. Now forget
about Harry. What about my information?

Joe was tailing Canino whenever
he could. He saw something in it...

Yeah, Harry already told me that.

About two weeks ago he followed him...

...up the A1 to a turn-off near Klimpton.
Then he lost him.

It became a thing with him. Saturday and
Sunday he'd drag me around the area...

... hoping to pick up Canino
in that brown car.

A couple of weekends ago we saw them.

We passed them by a pesticide plant.

The girl driving was Eddie Mars' wife,
Mona. She was wearing a blonde wig.

Canino the watchdog
was taking her out for air.

Joe tailed them from in front, and just
beyond a place called Hunt's Garage...

... the car swung off left up a track.

Joe sneaked up there that evening
and took a look.

There was a radio going,
and Canino's car was outside.

Nothing else happened, so... I came back.

- And that's it, huh?
- Hmm.

Wish me luck.

I got a raw deal.

Like hell you did!

Agnes was wiping herself
off the slate for good.

Three men dead: Geiger, Brody, and
Harry Jones, and she went walking off...

... with my 200 in her bag
and not a mark on her.

The case had been about
a little blackmail.

But all along it had been
about Rusty Regan.

Everyone I had met was more interested
in him than in anything else:

Rusty Regan, who'd run off with
Eddie Mars's wife, Mona.

But he hadn't.

I was thinking over...

... the scattered pieces of information that
swirled like light snow in a heavy wind...

... when fate stage-managed
the whole thing.

We're closed!

Open up, Lou.


Come in.

Three men beat and robbed a couple up
the road last week, so we lock up at night.

I've got two flat tyres and only
one spare back there. I need help.

Klimpton's two mile up the road.
Try there.

The road's full of tacks!
Somebody ought to sweep them up.


You "do" operate a garage.

Now give the man a hand.

I thought they swept those tacks up.

I skidded on the curve.


...take two jacks.

- Where are you headed for?
- London.

Well, he'll be a while.


This is not the road to London!

I must have taken a wrong turn.


Decent old car you got there.
You could get money for that today.

- Do you want to sell it?
- Lou, just fix the flats!

I "am" fixing them - ain't I?

You slept well, Mr Marlowe.

What time is it?

12.30. You have a date?


Where are your boys?
Out digging a grave?

They had to go somewhere.

Leaving you alone?

You don't look too dangerous.

I thought they were
keeping you prisoner.

Then why did you stick your neck out?
Eddie wasn't doing you any harm.

If I didn't hide out, the police would
be certain Eddie murdered Rusty Regan.

Eddie "did" murder Rusty Regan.

- Eddie didn't do anything. He's no killer.
- Not personally, no. He has Canino.

Canino killed a man "tonight". A harmless
little man trying to help someone.

- I saw him do it.
- I don't believe Eddie was in on that.

I thought platinum hair went out of style.

It's a wig, silly...

...till mine grows out.

- Who did "that" to you?
- I did. Why?

Yeah, why?

To show Eddie I'd do what
he wanted me to do. Hide out.

That he didn't need to have me guarded.

I wouldn't let him down. I love him.

Good grief!

- Excuse me.
- Going? So soon?

I've been stuck here for two hours,
drinking lager.

- Nature calls.
- I'll wait for you.

I got lonely. I needed to talk to someone.

In about ten minutes I'd say this place
is going to look like a police convention.

It'll be a lot better for you
if I'm not tied to this chair.

Lady, you "need" me.
You're involved in a murder.

- Maybe two.
- I didn't know about those!

That's not the way "I'll" tell it.

I can't do anything about the handcuffs.
Canino's got the key to those.

Better come with me
if you want to keep on living.

I'm not afraid of Canino!
I'm still the boss's wife!

Eddie and I didn't do anything!

Eddie's a handful of mush.
Canino can take him with a teaspoon.

What do you mean, you can't find him?

No! No message!

I want to tell Eddie, personally...

...just how "stupid" you really are!

Now get your things together!
We're leaving!

You're playing too rough, Marlowe.

There have been a lot of killings around
here. I haven't been getting my fair share.

You're lucky the girl's story backs you.
I guess it comes under self-defence.

- And what does Eddie Mars come under?
- He's here.

We're very big on statements today.

He admits he hid his wife.
He even agrees it was rather silly.

He says he knew Canino, but only as
a customer. He didn't know Harry Jones.

Geiger was his tenant.

So Mars just walks away
free and happy, huh?

Unless you've got real evidence.

- Do you still think you can find Regan?
- I do not. I'm not even going to try.

In real life the good guy
never gets the girl.

Yeah, that's the way it is.


Mr Marlowe?

The General would like to see you,
if it's convenient, sir.

Well, it's, uh... two o'clock now.

I can be there in an hour.

Thank you.

This way, sir.

In here, sir.

Mr Marlowe is here to see you, General.

Sit down, Mr Marlowe.

I didn't ask you to hunt for
my son-in-law Rusty Regan.

- You wanted me to, though.
- Well, you assume a great deal.

I usually ask for what I want.

I think you put those Geiger notes
up to me as a test.

Your man Norris thought,
with Geiger dead, the case was over.

And you didn't?

Why would a man like Geiger
give you evidence of debt...

...and expect you to pay up
like a gentleman?

He wanted to find out
if anything was pressuring you.

If there was, you'd pay.

There "was" something pressuring you.

You were afraid Regan was not
what he appeared to be.

That he stayed around to try to find ways
to play games with your bank account.

I don't care about the money.
I have no illusions about my daughters...

...but Rusty...?

Are you still trying to find him?

No, sir. I've been warned off.
The cops think I play too rough.

I'll give you ?10,000 to find Rusty.

I don't even have to know where he is.
A man has a right to live his own life.

I just want to know that he's all right.

Do I make myself clear?

Yes, General.

Oh, he...

He spent hours with me.

Sweating like a pig.

Telling me about the Irish revolution.

Just a big curly-headed Irishman
from Clonmel...

...with sad eyes...

A smile so... wide...

I may be vain in my judgment of a man...

...but... he seemed pretty clean to me.

Find him for me, Marlowe.

Just find him.

I'll try, sir.

You'd better get some rest.

I guess I'm just a sentimental old goat.

And no...

No soldier at all.

He was used up. He looked more like
a dead man than most dead men look.

But he'd asked for what he'd wanted
all along: Rusty Regan.

Regan who hadn't gone off
with Mona the singer.

I felt the answer was very close.
Maybe right here...

... in the General's back yard.


You're not angry with me?

I must say, for people with money
you and your sister don't have much fun.

Here. I brought your artillery back.

I've cleaned it and loaded it up for you.

Take my advice.
Don't shoot at any people with it...

...until you learn to be a better shot.

Teach me.

- Huh?
- Teach me to shoot. I'd like that.

- Here? It's against the law!
- I know where. Down by the old ruins.

Teach me?

All right.

- Like it?
- What is it?

2,000-year-old Roman ruins.

Hey, watch that thing!

It's loaded!

I'll set this can up over there on the wall.

Don't shoot till I'm back beside you, OK?


My, but you're cute!

It's a good thing I loaded this thing with
blanks. I had a hunch what you might do.

You don't care about us, Marlowe.

You kill a man last night, and now you
come and frighten my sister into a fit.

- Well?
- How is she?

She's all right, I suppose.

She's fast asleep.

- What did you do to her?
- Absolutely nothing.

I came back to the house after seeing
your father. I gave her back something...

...which belonged to her.

She wanted me to teach her to shoot.

She wanted me to see
an old ruined castle.

She wanted to kill me.

She fired all six shots straight at me.

Sweet little thing, isn't she?

Hard to prove.

Prove what?

That she fired at you. You were alone,
the two of you. You can't prove a thing.

I was thinking of another day...

...when there were real bullets in that gun.

I was thinking of the day
that Rusty Regan disappeared.

I came home the other night and found
her naked in my bed. I threw her out.

I guess Regan must have done
the same thing at some time.

You can't do that to Camilla.

- I suppose you want money, too?
- How much money?


Is that what Canino got
for getting rid of the body...

...after you'd gone to Eddie Mars for help?

But that's small change...

...compared to what Eddie expects
to collect one of these days, isn't it?

Eddie Mars used Geiger to blackmail your
father. It was, as they say, a test case.

Your father sent for me,
which showed he didn't scare easily.

Eddie had to know that.
He had something on you and Camilla...

...and he wanted to know
if he also had it on your father.

If he had, he could collect
a lot of money in a hurry.

If he hadn't, he'd have to wait until you
inherited your share of the ten million.

So he, uh... stage-managed his wife's
disappearance with Rusty Regan... fend off any inquiries.

He didn't want that body found.

It's in the lake by the ruin.

If my father finds out
about all this, he'll...

It's not his dying, you understand...

But what will he be thinking about
"while" he's dying?

I'll give you three days.
Put her in private care.

You don't want money?

Oh, sure.

All I itch for is money.

I'm so greedy that for ?50 a day,
plus expenses on the days I work...

...I risk my future, the hatred of the cops,
of Eddie Mars and his pals.

I dodge bullets, put up with saps,
and say thank you very much...

...if you have any further trouble, please
call me. I'll just put my card on the table.

I do all that for a few pounds.
And maybe just a bit to...

...protect what little pride a sick
and broken old man has in his family... that he can believe
that his blood is not poison...

...that his little girls, though they may be
a trifle wild, are not perverts and killers.

Take her someplace where they'll keep
her away from guns and knives and junk.

Hell, she might even get herself cured.

It's been done.

What did it matter where you lay
once you were dead?

In a stagnant lake or in a marble tower
on top of a hill? You were dead...

... you were sleeping the big sleep, you
were not bothered by things like that.

Oil and water...

... were the same as wind and air to you.
You just slept the big sleep...

... not caring about the nastiness
of how you died or where you fell.

Me, I was part of the nastiness now. Far
more a part of it than Rusty Regan was.

But the old man didn't have to be.

He could lie quiet in his canopied bed,
with his bloodless hands...

... folded on the sheet, waiting.

His heart was a brief, uncertain murmur.

His thoughts were as grey as ashes.

And in a little while he too,
like Rusty Regan...

... would be sleeping the big sleep.