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The Long Goodbye (1973)

Cast: Elliott Gould, Nina Van Pallandt, Sterling Hayden, more...
Director: Robert Altman
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: MGM
Genre: Drama, Suspense/Thriller, Film Noir, Neo Noir, Crime, Neo Noir
Running Time: 112 min.
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
    see additional details...

"It's OK with me...." Applying his deconstructive eye to the "film noir" tradition, Robert Altman updated Raymond Chandler in his 1973 version of Chandler's novel, The Long Goodbye. Smart-aleck, cat-loving private eye Philip Marlowe (Elliott Gould) is certain that his friend Terry Lennox (Jim Bouton) isn't a wife-killer, even after the cops throw Marlowe in jail for not cooperating with their investigation into Lennox's subsequent disappearance. Once he gets out of jail, Marlowe starts to conduct his own search when he discovers that mysterious blonde Eileen Wade (Nina Van Pallandt), who hired him to find her alcoholic novelist husband Roger (Sterling Hayden), lives on the same Malibu street as the absent Lennox and his deceased spouse. As numerous variations on the title song play in unexpected places, Marlowe encounters a shady doctor (Henry Gibson), a bottle-wielding gangster (director Mark Rydell), and a guard aping Barbara Stanwyck (among other stars), before heading to Mexico to stumble onto the truth once and for all. ~ Lucia Bozzola, All Movie Guide

Two weeks since he left us, many us realize that we're only just beginning to appreciate the legacy of Robert Altman. At the Daily, we've barely been able to keep up with the tributes (here and here). In 2003, David D'Arcy spoke with him about a career that spanned half a century. Full article >>

You might also enjoy:
The Big Sleep
Another 1970's case of Chandler revisited

For LA noir, it's hard to top this Polanski/Towne classic

GreenCine Member Reviews

Rip van marlowe by pstaylor75 February 3, 2006 - 8:55 AM PST
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Marlowe in this film is portrayed as if he just woke up from twenty-year nap, and found himself in 1973. He stumbles through the world not quite understanding anything, muttering "it's ok with me". The result is a film which is both a nostalgic look and deconstruction of the golden age of hollywood, as well as a devastating critique of the modern age. Marlowe's morals are outdated, making him "a born loser", and driving him to violence.
The linear plot ropes in Altman's sometimes too-lose filmmaking style, and allowing room for his quirky humor and "captured sound" technique without being too rambling.

Unlike the previous reviewer, I liked the ending of the film. However, I was disappointed at some of the liberties the film takes with Raymond Chandler's original story. In the original story, marlowe was swept into this web of corruption and murder because of his strong sense of morality. The book was much more a comment on the immorality of the rich. The movie, instead, focuses more on marlowe being betrayed by his friend. I liked Terry Lennox in the movie, I just wish they had kept the characters of Sylvia and Eileen the same, left in Sylvia's sister, and left in the part where marlowe gets involved with Roger wade precisely because he didn't betray Terry Lennox, so he is taken advantage of by the wade's in the same way he is taken advantage of by Terry.

The bottom line is this is a great film, but there is definitely room for a more literal remake of the novel.

Degrading the negative by exjosh February 23, 2005 - 3:05 PM PST
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Like most adaptations I'd say if you liked the book the film won't be any good. The ingredients for success were all there but Leigh Brackett who wrote Rio Bravo and the Big Sleep adapted this Chandler novel late in her career and seemed to miss some big plot points and changed the ending. And in fact it has been said that Altman read the script and made it very clear that he would only do the movie if the ending stayed the way that Brackett had written it.

Never read the book -then otherwise the film is great. Sterling Hayden is perfect in his role as the drunk writer living in Malibu. And to say that Elliot Gould's performance was understated would be an understatement. The man was born to play that part. Then you have Vilmos Zsigmond, one of the greatest cinematographers ever. He used a technique called "flash processing" on this film where they exposed the negatives to light at the lab, after shooting to give the film a hazy look.

The DVD explains all of it and more about Zsigmonds cinematography in great detail -you might want to check it out just for that.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.24)
143 Votes
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