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The Long Goodbye
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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.Read more ›
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'.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Why did Altman hate Raymond Chandler so? The Long Goodby is arguably Chandler's masterpiece, and Altman turns it into a cartoon. Read morePublished 3 hours ago by Paris6
When I saw that Elliot Gould had the Phillip Marlowe role I thought, "he's not right for that part". I was right.Published 22 days ago by Glenn
This film, based on Raymond Chandler story (Phillip Marlowe) Is a weak adaptation.Published 1 month ago by Richard R. Rutter
It is an entirely different take on noir. This is very good neo noir film from one of the best directors (Robert Altman) of his generation. If you haven't already seen it, do so.Published 2 months ago by Red Spider
I bought this BluRay version because I thought it would be an upgrade to my DVD copy. Boy, was I wrong! Read morePublished 2 months ago by BFang
Elliot Gould is offensive in the way he portrays Philip. Chain smoking was gross. What a slob.Published 2 months ago by George Tarry