the big sleep (1946)

It's impossible to overestimate the effectiveness of Howard Hawks in the 40's. The director's ability to play maestro to a bevy of Hollywood talent, from screenwriters to performers to cinematographers, and play their strengths to a large crowd is rarely matched. The Big Sleep represents one of his highest achievements, alongside Bringing Up Baby and His Girl Friday, in theatrical filmmaking that can gain a response from a packed house on parallel with live theater productions.