The Big Sleep

The Big Sleep quotes

54 total quotes (ID: 75)

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Philip Marlowe
Vivian Sternwood Rutledge


Sternwood: How do you like your brandy, sir?
Marlowe: In a glass.
Sternwood: I used to like mine with champagne. Champagne cold as Valley Forge and with about three ponies of brandy under it...I like to see people drink...You may take off your coat, sir...Too hot in here for any man who has any blood in his veins. You may smoke, too. I can still enjoy the smell of it. Nice state of affairs when a man has to indulge his vices by proxy.


Sternwood: You are looking, sir, at a very dull survival of a very gaudy life - crippled, paralyzed in both legs, very little I can eat, and my sleep is so near waking that it's hardly worth the name. I seem to exist largely on heat, like a newborn spider. The orchids are an excuse for the heat. Do you like orchids?
Marlowe: Not particularly.
Sternwood: Nasty things! Their flesh is too much like the flesh of men, and their perfume has the rotten sweetness of corruption.

Sternwood: [about Sean Regan] You knew him too?
Marlowe: Yes, in the old days, when he used to run rum out of Mexico and I was on the other side. We used to swap shots between drinks, or drinks between shots, whichever you like.
Sternwood: My respects to you, sir. Few men ever swapped more than one shot with Sean Regan. He commanded a brigade in the Irish-Republican Army - you knew that.
Marlowe: No I didn't...I know he was a good man at whatever he did. No one was more pleased than I when I heard you had taken him on as your...whatever he was.
Sternwood: My friend, my son almost.

Sternwood: [about talking to Carmen about her debts] If I did, she'd just suck her thumb and look coy.
Marlowe: I met her in the hall and she did that to me. Then she tried to sit in my lap while I was standing up.

Sternwood: [about his daughters] They're alike only in having the same corrupt blood. Vivian is spoilt, exacting, smart and ruthless. Carmen is still a little child who likes to pull the wings off flies. I assume they have all the usual vices, besides those they've invented for themselves. If I seem a bit cynical as a parent, Mr. Marlowe, it's because my hold on life is too slight to include any Victorian hypocrisy. I need hardly add that any man who has lived as I have and who indulges for the first time in parenthood at my age deserves all he gets.
Marlowe: I guess you want me to take this Geiger off your back. Thanks for the drink, General.
Sternwood: I enjoyed your drink as much as you did, sir.

Norris: Are you attempting to tell me my duties, sir?
Marlowe: No, just having fun trying to guess what they are.

Vivian: So you're a private detective. I didn't know they existed, except in books. Or else they were greasy little men snooping around hotel corridors. My, you're a mess, aren't you?
Marlowe: I'm not very tall either. Next time, I'll come on stilts, wear a white tie and carry a tennis racket.
Vivian: I doubt if even that would help. Now this business of Dad's. You think you can handle it for him?
Marlowe: It shouldn't be too tough.
Vivian: Really? I would have thought a case like that took a little effort.
Marlowe: Not too much.
Vivian: What will your first step be?
Marlowe: The usual one.
Vivian: I didn't know there was a usual one.
Marlowe: Oh sure there is. It comes complete with diagrams on page forty-seven of 'How to Be a Detective in Ten Easy Lessons' correspondence school textbook. And, uh, your father offered me a drink.
Vivian: You must have read another one on how to be a comedian.
Marlowe: Did you hear what I said about the drink?
Vivian: I'm quite serious, Mr. Marlowe, my father...
Marlowe: I said your father...
Vivian: Help yourself! Now look, Mr. Marlowe. My father's not well, and I want this case handled with the least possible worry to him.
Marlowe: That's just the way I was going to handle it.
Vivian: I see. No professional secrets?
Marlowe: Nope.
Vivian: I thought you wanted a drink.
Marlowe: I've changed my mind.
Vivian: Then what - ? How did you like Dad?
Marlowe: I liked him.
Vivian: He liked Sean, Sean Regan. I suppose you know who he is.
Marlowe: Uh, huh.
Vivian: You don't have to play poker with me, Mr. Marlowe. Dad wants to find him, doesn't he?
Marlowe: Do you?
Vivian: Of course I do. It wasn't right for him to go off like that. He broke Dad's heart, although he won't say much about it. Or did he?
Marlowe: Why don't you ask him?
Vivian: You know, I don't see what there is to be cagey about, Mr. Marlowe. And I don't like your manners.
Marlowe: I'm not crazy about yours. I didn't ask to see you. I don't mind if you don't like my manners. I don't like them myself. They're pretty bad. I grieve over them long winter evenings. And I don't mind your ritzing me, or drinking your lunch out of a bottle, but don't waste your time trying to cross-examine me.
Vivian: People don't talk to me like that.
Marlowe: Ohhh.
Vivian: Do you always think you can handle people like, uh, trained seals?
Marlowe: Uh, huh. I usually get away with it, too.
Vivian: How nice for you.
Marlowe: Just what is it you're afraid of?
Vivian: Dad didn't want to talk to you about Sean at all, did he?
Marlowe: Didn't he?
Vivian: Would you find him if Dad wanted you to?
Marlowe: Maybe...I'm wasting your time. Goodbye, Mrs. Rutledge.

Librarian: You know, you don't look like a man who'd be interested in first editions.
Marlowe: I collect blondes and bottles too.

Marlowe: Would you happen to have a Ben-Hur, 1860?
Agnes: A what?
Marlowe: I said, 'Would you happen to have a Ben-Hur, 1860'?
Agnes: Oh, a first edition?
Marlowe: No, no, no, no, no. The third. The third. The one with the erratum on page one-sixteen.
Agnes: I'm afraid not.
Marlowe: Uh, how about a Chevalier Audubon 1840 - a full set, of course?
Agnes: Not at the moment.
Marlowe: You do sell books? Hmm?
Agnes: What do those look like, grapefruit?
Marlowe: Well, from here, they look like books. Maybe I'd better see Mr. Geiger?

Marlowe: Well, thanks.
Clerk: If you ever want to buy a book...?
Marlowe: Ben-Hur, 1860?
Clerk: With duplications? So long.
Marlowe: So long, pal.

[Marlowe slaps Carmen]
Carmen: You're cute.
Marlowe: And you're higher than a kite. Come on, wake up.
Carmen: I know you. Doghouse Reilly. You're cute.
Marlowe: What do you know about this?
Carmen: What?
Marlowe: Mr. Geiger here on the floor.
Carmen: He's cute too.
Marlowe: [after grabbing and shaking her] Look, you got a dead man lying at your feet. How did it happen?
Carmen: You talk a lot, Reilly.

Marlowe: She'll be all right in the morning.
Vivian: Did you do this?
Marlowe: That! Oh yes, that's a little special service I always provide all my clients.
Vivian: Including being insolent. Where did you find her?
Marlowe: I didn't find her...
Vivian: Well then, how did you...?
Marlowe: I haven't been here, you haven't seen me, and she hasn't been out of this house all evening.
Vivian: That bad.
Marlowe: Hmm, hmm.
Vivian: Just what did happen, Mr. Marlowe?
Marlowe: You're pretty fond of your sister, aren't you?
Vivian: Yes, I am.
Marlowe: You'd do anything for her, wouldn't you?
Vivian: Anything.
Marlowe: Then drop this whole thing.
Vivian: But I still think I should know what...
Marlowe: Unh, unh. Don't even ask her.
Vivian: She never remembers anyway.
Marlowe: Just what did she forget about Sean Regan?
Vivian: What did she tell you?
Marlowe: Not half as much as you just did. [He grabs her fists that are poised to strike] Take it easy. I don't slap so good around this time of the evening.
Vivian: You go too far, Marlowe.
Marlowe: Those are harsh words to throw at a man, especially when he's walking out of your bedroom.

Vivian: Hello. Police Headquarters, please. Hello, this is Mrs...
Marlowe: [He grabs the phone and stops her call] Hello. What do you want, please?
Police: I don't want a thing.
Marlow: What?
Police: You called me.
Marlowe: I called you? Say, who is this?
Police: This is Sergeant Riley at headquarters.
Marlowe: Sergeant Riley? Well, there isn't any Sergeant Riley here.
Police: I know that! Now look brother...
Marlowe: Wait a minute. You'd better talk to my mother.
Police: I don't want to talk to your mother. Why should I want to talk to your mother...
Vivian: Hello. Who is this?
Police: This is the police.
Vivian: The police! Well, this is no police station.
Police: I know that!
Vivian: Well if you know it, then why don't ya...Look, this is not a police station.
Police: This is silly...
Vivian: What was that you said?...My father should hear this.
Police: I don't want to talk to your father...
Marlowe: Hello. Who is this?
Police: This is the police talking.
Marlowe: Yeah, but she just told you that...
Police: She just rang the police!
Marlowe: Oh, you're the police. Oh, well that's different. What can I do for you?
Police: You can...
Marlowe: I can do what? Where? Oh, no. I wouldn't like that, neither would my daughter. [Hangs up the phone] I hope the sergeant never traces that call.
Vivian: You like to play games, don't you?
Marlowe: Mmm hmm.
Vivian: Why did you stop me phoning?
Marlowe: 'Cause I'm working for your father or because I think I'm beginning to like another one of the Sternwoods.
Vivian: I prefer the second reason.

Marlowe: You want to tell me now...what it is you're trying to find out. You know it's a funny thing. You're trying to find out what your father hired me to find out, and I'm trying to find out why you want to find out.
Vivian: You could go on forever, couldn't you? Anyway, it'll give us something to talk about next time we meet.

Mars: Convenient the door being open when you didn't have a key.
Marlowe: Yeah, wasn't it? By the way, how did you happen to have one?
Mars: Is it any of your business?
Marlowe: I could make it my business.
Mars: I could make your business mine.
Marlowe: But you wouldn't like it. The pay's too small.
Mars: All right, I own this house. Geiger's my tenant. Now what do you think of me?
Marlowe: You know some nice people.
Mars: I take it as they come.