The Big Sleep
173 Pages
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The Big Sleep


Downloading requires you to have access to the YouScribe library
Learn all about the services we offer
173 Pages


by William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, Jules Furthman (from the novel by Raymond Chandler)



Published by
Reads 5
Language English


 "THE BIG SLEEP"  Screenplay  by  William Faulkner  Leigh Brackett  Jules Furthman
 From the novel  by  Raymond Chandler
 FADE IN: 1. EXT. STERNWOOD PLACE  ESTABLISHING SCENE  It is a millionaire's house, big, sprawling, California  style, with clipped lawns and gardens, on a hill above the  now abandoned oil field which was the family's wealth. A  small coupe drives up to the door and stops, and Philip  Marlowe gets out. We just have time to establish him as he  approaches the door  a husky, selfconfident man, well  dressed but not flashy. 2. INSERT: A BRASS DOORPLATE KNOCKER WITH A BELL BENEATH  lettered  STERNWOOD
3. EXT. FRONT DOOR  CLOSE SHOT  MARLOWE  as NORRIS opens the door. Norris is thin, silverhaired  with a gentle intelligent face.  NORRIS  (holding the door)  Good morning, sir.  MARLOWE  I'm Philip Marlowe. General  Sternwood sent for me.  NORRIS  (opens door,  steps aside)  Yes, Mr. Marlowe. Will you  come in?  MARLOWE  (entering)  Thanks. 4. INT. FORMAL MALL  SAME OPULENT BIGSCALE STYLE  MARLOWE  as Norris shuts the door, takes Marlowe's hat.  NORRIS  Will you sit here? I'll tell  the General you have come.  MARLOWE  Okay.
 Norris exits. Marlowe looks about, interested and curious,  sees something, moves toward it.
5. CLOSE SHOT  MARLOWE  as he stands before a portrait, examining it with curious  interest. It is a portrait of General Sternwood, in  regimentals, beneath crossed battletorn cavalry pennons  and a sabre. He is still staring at the portrait when at a  SOUND OFF, he turns and sees CARMEN STERNWOOD approaching.  She is about 20, in slacks, something sullen and hot about  her. She stops about 10 feet from him and stares at him,  biting the thumb of her left hand.  MARLOWE  Good morning.  CARMEN  (after a moment)  You're not very tall are you?  MARLOWE  I tried to be.
 CARMEN  Not bad looking, though  you  probably know it.  MARLOWE  Thanks.  He goes to a chair and sits down. When he looks up, he  sees Carmen approaching, still staring at him.  CARMEN  (approaching)  What's your name?  MARLOWE  Reilly  Doghouse Reilly.  CARMEN  (beside the chair now)  That's a funny name. Are you a prize  fighter?  MARLOWE  No. I'm a shamus.  CARMEN  A what?  MARLOWE  A private detective.
 CARMEN  You're cute.
 As she speaks, she sits suddenly on the arm of his chair.  As she does so, Marlowe rises, shifts the chair in doing  so, so that to her surprise, Carmen finds herself sitting  in the chair itself. She stares up, surprised and then  angrily, is about to speak again when they both see Norris.  He has just entered noiselessly, stands beside the chair.  On Norris' face there is now a curious expression of grief,  sadness. Carmen glances up at him, rises quickly as if he  had reprimanded her with words, and exits. Marlowe looks  after her, thoughtful, a little grim.
 NORRIS  The General will see you now.
 MARLOWE  (looking after Carmen)  Who was that?
 NORRIS  Miss Carmen Sternwood, sir.
 MARLOWE  You ought to wean her. She looks  old enough.
 NORRIS  Yes, sir. This way, if you please.
 They exit through French doors.
 Garage at one side, beyond it a tremendous greenhouse.  Norris is leading Marlowe along the path toward the green  house. A chauffeur is washing a car before the garage. We  establish him in passing  a handsome, boyishlooking man,  OWEN TAYLOR.
 Marlowe follows Norris on to the greenhouse, looking at the  tremendous size of it as Norris opens the door and stands  aside for Marlowe to enter.
 Marlowe, following Norris between the crowding tendrils and  branches. The place is ovenhot, damp with sweat, green  with gloom. Marlowe is already reacting to it, is already  mopping his face with his handkerchief.
 MARLOWE  (mopping neck,  following Norris)  Couldn't we have gone around this?
 NORRIS  (over shoulder;  walking on)  The General sits in here, sir.
 in a wheelchair in center of the greenhouse, in a cleared  space about which the plants crowd and hover. The GENERAL  is the man we saw in the portrait, though older, and  obviously dying, so that only his fierce eyes seem to have  any life. Even in the terrific heat his body is wrapped in  a traveling rug and a heavy bathrobe, his gnarled hands  lying like dead gnarled twigs on the rug, his fierce eyes  following as Norris leads Marlowe in.
 NORRIS  (stopping)  This is Mr. Marlowe, General.
 The General does not speak, only the fierce eyes stare at  Marlowe as Norris pushes a wicker chair up behind Marlowe's  legs.
 STERNWOOD  Brandy, Norris.  (to Marlowe)  How do you like your brandy, sir?
 MARLOWE  (sitting down)  Just with brandy.
 Norris takes Marlowe's hat, exits.
 STERNWOOD  I used to like mine with champagne.  The champagne cold as Valley Forge  and about three ponies of brandy  under it. You may take your coat  off, sir.
 MARLOWE  Thanks.
 He rises, removes his coat, takes out his handkerchief,  hangs his coat on chair.
 STERNWOOD  (watching him)  It's too hot in here for any man  who still has blood in his veins.
 Marlowe sits again, mops his face and neck.
 STERNWOOD  (still watching him)  You may smoke too. I can still  enjoy the smell of it, anyway.
 MARLOWE  Thanks.
 He produces a cigarette, lights it, blows smoke, Sternwood's  nostrils moving as he sniffs the smoke. Norris enters,  pushing a teawagon bearing decanter, siphon, initialed  icebucket.
 STERNWOOD  That man is already dead who must  indulge his own vices by proxy.
 Norris wheels the wagon up, starts to prepare a drink.
 STERNWOOD  (watching pettishly)  Come, man. Pour a decent one.
 NORRIS  (adding brandy)  Yes, General.
 MARLOWE  (watching)  But not too decent, Norris. I don't  want to exchange places with it.
 Norris adds soda, hands glass to Marlowe.
 MARLOWE  (taking glass)  Thanks.
 He sits back. Norris covers the icebucket with a napkin,  exits. SOUND of DOOR CLOSING as Norris leaves the  greenhouse. Marlowe raises the glass, sips. Sternwood  watches him, licks his lips with longing pleasure and  enjoyment. Marlowe lowers the glass.
 STERNWOOD  Tell me about yourself, Mr. Marlowe.  I suppose I have the right to ask.
 MARLOWE  There's not much to tell. I'm  thirtyeight years old, went to  college once. I can still speak  English when there's any demand for  it in my business. I worked for the  District Attorney's office once. It  was Bernie Ohls, his chief  investigator, who sent me word you  wanted to see me. I'm not married.
 STERNWOOD  You didn't like working for Mr.  Wilde?
 MARLOWE  I was fired for insubordination  I seem to rate pretty high on that.
 STERNWOOD  I always did, myself. Sir   (he slides one  hand under the  rug on his knees)  What do you know about my family,  Mr. Marlowe?
 MARLOWE  (mopping)  You're a widower, a millionaire, two  young daughters. One unmarried, the  other married once but it didn't  didn't take. Both now living with  you and both   (he breaks off;  the General's  fierce eyes  watch him)
 MARLOWE  Am I to swap you gossip for  hospitality?
 STERNWOOD  (sternly)  You are to swap me your confidence  for my own.
 MARLOWE  (shrugs)  All right. Both pretty, and both  pretty  wild. What did you want  to see me about?
 STERNWOOD  I'm being blackmailed again.
 MARLOWE  (mopping)  Again?
 STERNWOOD  (draws his hand  out from under  the rug, holding  a brown envelope)  About a year ago I paid a man named  Joe Brody five thousand dollars  to let my younger daughter alone.
 STERNWOOD  What does that mean?
 MARLOWE  It means 'ah.' It never went  through the D.A.'s office, or I'd  have known it. Who handled that for  you?
 STERNWOOD  Shawn Regan did.
 MARLOWE  (alternating between  the drink, the  cigarette and  the now sodden  handkerchief with  which he mops his  face and neck)  There must be some reason why Regan's  not handling this one too. Am I to  know it?
 STERNWOOD  Shawn has left me.
 MARLOWE  I thought I hadn't seen him around  lately.
 STERNWOOD  Yes, he left about a month ago,  without a word. That was what hurt.  I had no claim on him, since I was  only his employer. But I hoped we  were more than that and that he  would have said goodbye to me. You  knew him too?
 MARLOWE  Yes. From the old days, when he  was running rum from Mexico and  I was on the other side, and now  and then we swapped shots between  drinks  or drinks between shots,  if you like that better.
 STERNWOOD  My respects to you. Few men ever  exchange more than one shot with  Shawn Regan. He commanded a brigade  in the Irish Republican Army, you  know.
 MARLOWE  (mopping)  No, I didn't. But I knew he was  a good man at whatever he did.  Nobody was pleased better than me  when I heard you had taken him on  as your  whatever he was here.
 STERNWOOD  As my friend, my son almost.  Many's the hour he would sit here  with me, sweating like a pig,  drinking the brandy I could no  longer drink, telling me stories  of the Irish revolution  But  enough of this.  (he holds out  the envelope)  Here. And help yourself to the  brandy.
 Marlowe takes the envelope, sits again, wipes his hands on  his wet handkerchief, removes from the envelope a card and  three clips of stiff paper.
  in Marlowe's hand
 Mr. Arthur Gwynne Geiger  Rare Books and Deluxe Editions
 Marlowe's hand turns the card over. On the back, in  handprinting.
 Dear Sir:
 In spite of the legal uncollectibility  of the enclosed, which frankly are gambling  debts, I assume you might wish them  honored.
 Respectfully,  A.G. Geiger.
 Filled out in ink, dated: September 3  September 8  September 11
 On demand I promise to pay to Arthur  Gwynne Geiger on order the sum of  One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00)  without interest. Value Received.
 Carmen Sternwood
 Sternwood watching from wheelchair as Marlowe mixes himself  a drink at the wagon, then turns toward chair.
 STERNWOOD  (watching Marlowe)  Well?
 MARLOWE  (standing)  Who's Arthur Gwynne Geiger?  STERNWOOD  I haven't the faintest idea.
 MARLOWE  Have you asked your daughter?
 STERNWOOD  I don't intend to. If I did she  would suck her thumb and look coy.
 MARLOWE  Yeah. I met her in the hall. She  did that at me. Then she tried to  sit in my lap.
 Sternwood stares at him. After a moment Marlowe raises the  glass, drinks, lowers it.
 STERNWOOD  (harshly)  Well?
 MARLOWE  (stares at him a moment)  Am I being polite, or can I say  what I want?
 MARLOWE  Do the two girls run around together?
 STERNWOOD  I think not. They are alike only in  their one corrupt blood. Vivian is  spoiled, exacting, smart, ruthless.  Carmen is still the child who likes  to pull the wings off flies. I  assume they have always had all the  usual vices; whatever new ones of  their own invention   (again he makes  the repressed  convulsive  movement, glares  at Marlowe)  Well?
 MARLOWE  Pay him.