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The Big Sleep Film Summary & Analysis

This Study Guide consists of approximately 22 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Big Sleep.
This section contains 584 words
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Motifs

The "MacGuffin"

The "MacGuffin" is a type of plot device that Alfred Hitchcock made famous by his extensive use of it. The term refers to a small detail or character that the director and writer use to form the plot. For instance, in the famous film Vertigo, the "MacGuffin" is a woman who dies, and her death starts off a series of events. Although the original detail becomes less important than the subsequent events in the plot, the action is instigated and pushed by this "MacGuffin."

In The Big Sleep, Howard Hawks uses a similar technique when he creates the character of Shawn Regan. Regan has suddenly disappeared after spending a long time working for General Sternwood. Although the General is concerned about Regan, he is more concerned about stopping the renewed blackmail threats. Thus, he contacts Marlowe to investigate the threats and put an end...

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This section contains 584 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Big Sleep Film Summary
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