Other Cowboy Stars — Bob Steele in “The Big Sleep”

June 14, 2011

Bob Steele plays a small but pivotal role in Howard Hawk’s 1946 noir classic, “The Big Sleep.”  And check it out, Bob gets his own silhouette!

His cowboy career was winding down, and Bob scored a good supporting role in a great film. He’s working with Howard Hawks from a script by William Faulkner based on a novel by Raymond Chandler.  He’s billed above go-to noir character actor Elisha Cook, Jr..

He plays Lash Canino (Italian ya think?), a gunman who works for gangster Eddie Mars.  He gets to lay a great line on Bogie, “You want me to count to three like in a movie?”

He’s tough in this.  Staring down Bogart, roughing up Lauren Bacall.

There’s a famous story about the making of this film.  During production, Howard Hawks sent Chandler a telegram asking who killed the chauffeur.  Chandler replied, “beats me.’  Hey!  Bob Steele is so tough, maybe it was him!

In the 1978 Robert Mitchum remake, Bob’s role was played by another seasoned cowboy character actor, Richard Boone.  Who do you think looks tougher?

Alright.  It’s sort of a toss-up.

Love me some Bob Steele.

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