I was lucky enough to see The Big Sleep at The Brattle last week. I've seen it many times but it never fails to entertain. I love Bogart's Marlowe; he moves with such coolness and wit ("She tried to sit in my lap while I was standing up") throughout the corruption of the plot, and I love that he's willing to show fear and vulnerability at the end of the film. Lauren Bacall is equally cool as his love interest but she's not the only female who makes an impression in the film. Martha Vickers is frighteningly good as Bacall's drug-addict nymphomaniac sister, and I've always enjoyed Dorothy Malone's single scene as the free-thinking proprietress of the Acme Bookshop, willing to close early and enjoy some mid-afternoon rye with Mr. Marlowe.
I looked Ms. Malone up on the IMDB when I got home, and was surprised to discover that she had roles in two other films I love, and that I'd never made the connection. She plays Marylee Hadley, the out-of-control daughter of an oil tycoon in Sirk's Written on the Wind (for which she won an oscar). It's an unbelievable performance, even without the mambo dancing.
Less celebrated is her role as aging murderess Hazel Dobkins in Basic Instinct. It was her final role, however. She hasn't acted since but is still alive. Here's to you, Ms. Malone.