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APRIL 25-MAY 1
Informed that there’s an original version of The Big Sleep that was never shown (except to military personnel), the logical question is, “Does it make any more sense?” It turns out, though, that Howard Hawks didn’t reshoot parts of the original 1945 film noir because of William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, and Jules Furthman’s notoriously befuddling script; studio boss Jack Warner decreed the new footage because he was worried that 19-year-old Lauren Bacall was not shown to her best advantage. This “pre-release cut” restores the 18 minutes that were excised or replaced in order to make Bacall look better. (Out, for example, went the dowdy veil she wore in one scene.) The point of the case being cracked by Bogart’s Philip Marlowe is still pretty vague, but the brief documentary that follows the movie demonstrates clearly how the two versions differ. See Showtimes for schedule; at the Key Theater, 1222 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $7. (202) 333-5100. (Mark Jenkins)