The Big Sleep

I was watching The Big Sleep last night. There is a scene in a DA’s office with a stenographer. I thought that was very cool. Then the movie cuts to the actual page of shorthand. Anyone want to translate?

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  1. I agree. The bottom portion is where the on screen actor/stenographer was writing. he obviously knew something about shorthand but opted not to use the columns. The top 3/4s was probably pre written. Some of the words repeat so maybe each take he wrote a certain phrase.

  2. I saw the movie on PBS recently and was impressed that the words being written matched the words being spoken. It was certainly Gregg and it would have been my beloved Anniversary.

    The was another movie–I can't remember the name–where the camera zooms in on the stenographer and he/she is writing Gregg there, too. Does anyone else remember another film where that happened? It was a courtroom scene as I recall.

    1. One such movie is "The Thin Blue Line"–not the comedy, but the movie about the Texas murder case. The stenographer (well, really an actor) is writing Gregg shorthand. The shorthand actually makes sense, and if I remember right, it's a transcription of the spoken lines.

  3. I was going to post about this scene but see it's already on here. I discovered this scene on the second side of the DVD I bought some years ago, unfortunately this shorthand scene got cut from the theatrical release version but was on the first version of The Big Sleep which they had on the DVD release as an alternative version.
    I rewatched it again and again and was surprised how accurate the writing was as he recorded Bogart's story. They showed a close up of the page and as Bogart says 'the girl Agnes didn't back down' you see the gregg shorthand of those words being written about a couple seconds after he speaks.
    Interestingly the stenographer used a real small pencil and held the pencil in a peculiar way with the tip of his middle finger held against the pencil instead of the pencil being only supported by the lower joint of the middle finger.
    BTW,in most if not all shows involving the courtroom stenotype, it's comical at how pathetic the actress portraying the stenotypist is keying, like a typewriter one key at a time instead of chording keys they way it really is.

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