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The Long Goodbye

183 customer reviews

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(Sep 17, 2002)
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Editorial Reviews

Elliott Gould gives one of his best performances (Esquire) as a quirky, mischievous PhilipMarlowe in Robert Altman's fascinating and original (Newsweek) send-up of Raymond Chandler's classic detective story. Co-starring Nina Van Pallandt and Sterling Hayden and written by Leigh Brackett (The Big Sleep) The Long Goodbye is a gloriously inspired tribute to Hollywood (The Hollywood Reporter) with an ending that's as controversial as it is provocative (Los Angeles Times)! Los Angeles private eye Philip Marlowe (Gould) faces the most bizarre case of his life, when a friend's apparent suicide turns into a double murder involving a sexy blonde, a disturbed gangster and a suitcase full of drug money. But as Marlowe stumbles toward the truth, hesoon finds himself lost in a maze of sex and deceitonly to discover that in L.A., if love is dangerous friendship is murder.

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Product Details

  • Actors: Elliott Gould, Nina van Pallandt, Sterling Hayden, Mark Rydell, Henry Gibson
  • Directors: Greg Carson, Robert Altman
  • Writers: Leigh Brackett, Raymond Chandler
  • Producers: Greg Carson, Elliott Kastner, Jerry Bick, Robert Eggenweiler
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: September 17, 2002
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000069HZU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,730 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Long Goodbye" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 98 people found the following review helpful By M. Dog on December 2, 2003
Format: DVD
There are so many good ideas and concepts at work in this film. Here are a few:
1: In the DVD Special Features, Director Robert Altman talks about his overall concept for this film. His problem was how does a filmaker take a character that is so much from a different era and place him in modern times? Altman came up with a conceptual framework: look at the film as though Philip Marlowe, Chandler's ace detective from the 1940's, has been sleeping for thirty years and wakes up in the 1970's. Altman called it his "Rip Van Marlowe" concept. He thought of the film this way because he wanted to place the classic 1940 Marlowe sense of integrity and ethical code in the free-wheeling Seventies. This idea is ingenious and fits Eliott Gould's hip but outsider acting style to a tee.
2: Altman keeps the camera moving at all times. The lens does not jerk around in a mise en scene way, but more with long, smooth tracking and pan shots. This gives the movie a great feeling of constant action and forward movement, even when folks are just talking. The camera movement is done in such a smooth way, it seems very natural - as if you, the viewer, were really watching the action and simply turning your head to follow the flow of life.
3: The movie theme song is beautiful and was written by Johnny Mercer. It has a classic feel, and it dominates the sound of the film. Altman has put this haunting melody everywhere; in the sound of a doorbell, in the tune played in a Mexican funeral, in songs that come over half-heard radios - everywhere. It is the song the small time lounge piano player is trying to learn in the background of one scene, and it is the song that you will find yourself humming once the film is over. All this is almost done on a subliminal level, and it is brilliant.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin J Burgraff VINE VOICE on April 23, 2007
Format: DVD
I admit, when I first viewed "The Long Goodbye", in 1973, I didn't like the film; the signature Altman touches (rambling storyline, cartoonish characters, dialog that fades in and out) seemed ill-suited to a hard-boiled detective movie, and Elliott Gould as Philip Marlowe? No WAY! Bogie had been perfect, Dick Powell, nearly as good, but "M.A.S.H.'s" 'Trapper John'? Too ethnic, too 'hip', too 'Altman'!

Well, seeing it again, nearly 34 years later, I now realize I was totally wrong! The film is brilliant, a carefully-crafted color Noir, with Gould truly remarkable as a man of morals in a period (the 1970s) lacking morality. Perhaps it isn't Raymond Chandler, but I don't think he'd have minded Altman's 'spin', at all!

In the first sequence of the film, Marlowe's cat wakes him to be fed; out of cat food, the detective drives to an all-night grocery, only to discover the cat's favorite brand is out of stock, so he attempts to fool the cat, emptying another brand into an empty can of 'her' food. The cat isn't fooled by the deception, however, and runs away, for good...

A simple scene, one I thought was simply Altman quirkiness, in '73...but, in fact, it neatly foreshadows the major theme of the film: betrayal by a friend, and the price. As events unfold, Marlowe would uncover treachery, a multitude of lies, and self-serving, amoral characters attempting to 'fool' him...with his resolution decisive, abrupt, and totally unexpected!

The casting is first-rate. Elliott Gould, Altman's only choice as Marlowe, actually works extremely well, BECAUSE he is against 'type'. Mumbling, bemused, a cigarette eternally between his lips, he gives the detective a blue-collar integrity that plays beautifully off the snobbish Malibu 'suspects'.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth M. Gelwasser VINE VOICE on September 14, 2002
Format: DVD
What director, Robert Altman did with "The Long Goodbye" is what he does best. He takes either a subject or genre and turns it inside out, until it becomes something completely different. He has done this to everything from the myths of the old West ("McCabe & Mrs. Miller") to most recently, the old standbye of the English drawing room murder("Gosford Park").In "The Long Goodbye" Altman works his movie magic on Raymond Chandler's private eye, Phillipe Marlowe.In this film Altman plops the iconic 40's & 50's detective (masterfully played by Elliot Gould) right into the middle of 1970s, Southern California.The plot is the usual labyrinth, that you would expect a Chandler character to be in. Marlowe's good friend, Terry Lennox mysteriously drops by and asks the detective for a ride to Mexico. Days later he winds up dead from an apparent suicide.Meanwhile, Marlowe is hired by the wife of an alcholic writer, in a missing persons case.Is there some how a connection between all these events?Along the way the movie viewer gets the fun of following Marlowe, as he meets tough guy cops, psychotic gangsters,a quack doctor, even a cult of naked yoga enthusiasts.Gould reinvents the character and plays him as a figure who is an anachronism, a man lost in time. He wanders the landscape in a haze, mumbling smart remarks and nonsequiturs.He is a man who is preplexed by the antics and lifestyles of the modern world.Everytime he is confronted by 1970s California weirdness, he responds with the mantra "its O.K. by me".Not only is his cheap suit and car decades old, but so are his values and that famous moral code that he lives by.But in the twisted surprise ending of the film, it is those values and moral codes that he sticks by.This is a really great film, that humourously turns the Marlowe legend upside down.Read more ›
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