farewell to dorothy malone

(I wasn’t intending to write another farewell post, but I couldn’t resist this one.)

Dorothy Malone had a long and distinguished career as an actress, but I’ve seen obituaries which devoted several paragraphs to this one scene, her only scene in The Big Sleep. A scene which does nothing for the plot, but you can see why Howard Hawks couldn’t bring himself to remove it.

(The Big Sleep was a big step in Hawks realizing that “A good movie is three good scenes and no bad scenes” — and that audiences cared a lot more about those three good scenes than they did about a tidy plot. For example, nowhere in the movie, or in the book which it was based on, is there any explanation of who killed the chauffeur. Readers and audiences have always seemed to be fine with that.)

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