Summary and Analysis
The Big Sleep begins with the credits rolling over a background of a couple smoking in silhouette. We then see a door with a plate on it that reads "Sternwood," and a man rings the doorbell. The butler admits Phillip Marlowe to see the General. As Marlowe waits, a beautiful woman, Carmen Rutledge, comes down and begins to flirt with him. He tells her that he is a private detective, and then she falls into his arms before the butler invites him in to see the General.
The General is paralyzed in both legs and is very ill. He invites Marlowe to take off his coat, drink, and smoke since he can no longer enjoy those things. Marlowe is 38 and had formerly worked for the District Attorney's office before being fired for insubordination.
The General asks what Marlowe knows about his family, and Marlowe...