The Big Sleep: BFI Southbank, 2.30, 6.10 and 8.30pm NFT3
The Howard Hawks retrospective at BFI Southbank is a treat for film fans and the fact that the screening of Scarface I attended last Sunday afternoon was almost sold out suggests the season is packing the crowds in.
The film the BFI have chosen to showcase is The Big Sleep which is in the middle of an extended run. It is being showered with praise and was given the rare accolade for a re-release of being the film of the week with detailed reviews in both the Independent on Sunday and Time Out at the start of this month. The weekly listings magazine gave Hawks' film noir a five-star rating.
When the BBC's Film 2011 played tribute to Hawks this week The Big Sleep was given due prominence.
But is The Big Sleep now in danger of being overrated? This adaptation of a Raymond Chandler novel contains a myriad of pleasures but is inferior to a number of Hawks' greatest works - Rio Bravo, Only Angels Have Wings, the aforementioned Sacrface - and not as rich as another Humphrey Bogart-Lauren Bacall collaboration of two years earlier, To Have And Have Not.
Catch The Big Sleep by all means - here is one of the most famous scenes - but don't miss out on other gems in the two-month Hawks back catalogue being rolled out on the South Bank.