The Big Sleep

The Big Sleep quotes

54 total quotes (ID: 75)

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Philip Marlowe
Vivian Sternwood Rutledge


Mars: [about Vivian] She's not very popular around here. When she loses, she doubles, and I wind up with a fistful of paper. If she wins, she takes my money home with her.
Marlowe: You get it back next time, don't you?
Mars: She'll spend it somewhere else by then.
Marlowe: Keep her out of here then.


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.

Mars: Got any good ideas, soldier?
Marlowe: One or two. Somebody gunned Geiger, or somebody got gunned by Geiger who ran away, or he had meat for dinner and likes to do his butchering in the parlor. No, I don't like it either. Maybe you'd better call your friends downtown.
Mars: I don't get it. I don't get your game here.
Marlowe: Don't you, Mr. Mars?
Mars: I wondered why you didn't ask me who I was. You seem to be telling me Geiger was in a racket of some kind. What racket?
Marlowe: I wouldn't know. I'm not his landlord. But I'll tell you something you missed. Somebody cleaned out the back of Geiger's store today.
Mars: You know, you talk too much.

Mrs. Mars: Why did you have to make trouble? Eddie never did you any harm. Besides, I was never in love with Sean. We were just good friends. If I hadn't hidden out here when Sean disappeared, the police would have been certain he killed him.
Marlowe: Maybe he did kill him.
Mrs. Mars: Eddie's not that kind.
Marlowe: You mean Eddie Mars never kills anybody?

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

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.

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: 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.

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.

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.

Vivian: Tell me: What do you usually do when you're not working?
Marlowe: Oh, play the horses, fool around.
Vivian: No women?
Marlowe: I'm generally working on something most of the time.
Vivian: Could that be stretched to include me?
Marlowe: Well I like you. I've told you that before.
Vivian: I like hearing you say it. But you didn't do much about it.
Marlowe: Well, neither did you.
Vivian: Well, speaking of horses, I like to play them myself. But I like to see them work out a little first, see if they're front-runners or come from behind, find out what their hole-card is. What makes them run.
Marlowe: Find out mine?
Vivian: I think so.
Marlowe: Go ahead.
Vivian: I'd say you don't like to be rated. You like to get out in front, open up a lead, take a little breather in the backstretch, and then come home free.
Marlowe: You don't like to be rated yourself.
Vivian: I haven't met anyone yet that can do it. Any suggestions?
Marlowe: Well, I can't tell till I've seen you over a distance of ground. You've got a touch of class, but, uh...I don't know how - how far you can go.
Vivian: A lot depends on who's in the saddle. Go ahead Marlowe, I like the way you work. In case you don't know it, you're doing all right.
Marlowe: There's one thing I can't figure out.
Vivian: What makes me run?
Marlowe: Uh-huh.
Vivian: I'll give you a little hint. Sugar won't work. It's been tried.
Marlowe: What did you try it on me for? Who told you to sugar me off this case? Was it Eddie Mars? All right, don't answer me, but somebody put you up to it and it wasn't your father. He didn't tell you to pay me off, did he?
...
Marlowe: What's Eddie Mars got to do with this case?
Vivian: Nothing. He runs a gambling house. I play horses. I play the wheel.
Marlowe: Playing something else too...Never mind talking. Let me do it. Do you know it was Eddie Mars' blonde wife Sean Regan was supposed to run off with?
Vivian: Who doesn't?
Marlowe: Did you know he owned the house Geiger operated in and he was mixed up in that racket too?
Vivian: No, I don't believe it.
Marlowe: Then why does it bother you so much? What's Eddie Mars got on you? Oh come now, angel, stop shaking. I don't want to hurt you. I'm trying to help ya. Well, you'd better run along, 'cause you made a deal and you're gonna stick to it, right or wrong. We'll take up the question of you and I when the race is over.

Vivian: Well, I'm glad I asked you to take me home.
Marlowe: So am I....What are you trembling for? Don't tell me you were scared because I won't believe that.
Vivian: I'm not used to being hijacked. Give me a little time.
Marlowe: Hijacked? Is that what it was?
Vivian: What else?
Marlowe: Let's begin with what Eddie Mars has on you.
Vivian: If he had anything, would it be any of your business? You've already been paid, haven't you?
Marlowe: Yeah, by you.
Vivian: Are you after more money?
Marlowe: Well, I guess you got a right to ask that. No I'm not after more money. I've already been well paid. I've got another reason.
Vivian: You like my father, don't you?
Marlowe: Mmm hmm.
Vivian: Then why don't you stop?
Marlowe: Remember I told you I was beginning to like another one of the Sternwoods?
Vivian: I wish you'd show it.
Marlowe: I should be awful easy. [He kisses her]
Vivian: I like that. I'd like more. [They kiss again] That's even better.

Vivian: You're the one who's shaking now.
Marlowe: I'm scared, angel. I'm sore too. Mars has been ahead of me all the way, way ahead. But I've got the jump on him this time, or we're cooked.