not as good as the big sleep for one reason: mary astor, or lauren bacall if you prefer. mary astor isn’t foxy and she’s not all that convincing as a femme fatale here so bogey is left to carry the film with the help of greenstreet, cook jr., and lorre. in the big sleep, bacall matches bogey’s greatness and they elevate the film together. here, bogey plays the ultimate realist/pessimist (depending upon your perspective). to me he reflects the character he is opposite. he’s raging when he meets greenstreet (who is outwardly calm, but raging inside), he has a sly, devilish smile when he’s with astor (which reflects her inner deceptive nature), and he gets rough with elisha cook jr. (who wants to be calm and cool like bogey, but is inwardly raging like greenstreet).
loved huston’s economical direction and the male performances. the script is great as well. it’s a great film all-around.