The Long Goodbye 1973 (1973) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: Detective Philip Marlowe tries to help a friend who is accused of murdering his wife. Runtime: 112 mins Release Date: 12 Oct 1973
The Best adapted screenplay of all time? (by hellomynameishenry)
I can say, without feeling too stupid, that is my favourite film of all time.It has it all, firstly an incredibly brave screenplay that brought Raymond Chandler forward a generation after Bogart's best attempts to turn the great author into an insomnia remedy.The casting of Elliot Gould as Marlowe is a stroke of genius - this Marlowe is undoubtedly very cool, but his 'coolness' comes from his idiosyncrasies, nerdy quirks and inability to fit into defined social circles. Sterling Hayden's performance, for me out-does his work on Dr Strangelove and can be added to Jack Nicholson <more>
in The Shining, Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy and Brando in The Godfather as one of the finest examples of character acting you will ever come across. His 'Hemingwayesque' alcoholic rages are violent, visceral and disturbing and yet he contains a brittle fragility that draws you to his performance.The shining light though is Altman. Not only did he get the best career performances out of his finely assembled ensemble did Gould, Hayden or Van Pallant ever do better? , but also produced one of the best shot films of all time. Only bettered in this era by Coppola's The Conversation not a bad film to come second to .On top of all this is an overwhelming sense of the auteur, the soundtrack, camera work and acting performances all combine to create a synthesis of near perfect cinema.Turn your computer off, run out of the house and rent/steal or buy this film. Watch it, you won't be disappointed.
No mixed feelings about this one....worked for me (by faraaj-1)
It's true. You can't have mixed feelings about The Long Good-bye; you'll either love it or hate it. I started the movie with what I pretended was an open mind, but a secret hope that I'd be fully justified in hating it. In my defense, The Maltese Falcon is my favorite movie and Bogie is my favorite actor. Noir is my favorite film genre and I love Howard Hawk's The Big Sleep wihich had Bogart as the definitive Marlowe.Altman's take on Chandler's other book with private eye Marlowe, The Long Good-bye, updates the action to the 1970's. He introduces a very <more>
70's theme song and finds as different an actor as he can from Bogart for the role of Marlowe. From the opening frame, Elliot Gould plays Marlowe like a push-over. He's a man who constantly mutters to himself, suffers nervous tics, can't even fool his cat, is afraid of dog's and seems to be the only man not attracted to his sexy hippie neighbors despite their friendliness towards him and obvious promiscuousness.However, Gould really creates a unique persona with the way he walks, talks, wise-cracks and operates. He becomes a believable person - which is why the uncharacteristic ending is so impacting. The photography, especially the night scenes, are beautifully filmed. The theme music plays everywhere - a Mexican funeral, a doorbell, a car radio etc and with different singers. There are other layers of flesh added to the telling that really work - like the compound security guards impressions of James Stewart, Barbara Stanwyck, Cary Grant and best of all Walter Brennan aka Stumpy from Rio Bravo.This movie worked great for me and the plot, intricate though it was, was understandable. I will not compare this Marlowe to Bogart's, but do find it admirable that Altman just stuck to the goal of making a good movie without trying to ape or make obvious references to the noir genre.
Altman tells a story in a rhythm (by TheTwistedLiver)
Easily one of Altman's best films and an early precursor to other films later in the decade by the director. The Long Goodbye is a fine transition in style to Altmans later films like "Nashville" and "A Wedding" Elliot Gould does an outstanding job portraying the outre detective Phillip Marlowe, using his mumbling, bumbling, smart ass speaking style, as a technique to keep the film under the illusion that everything is in motion, like the ocean waves in the film, Marlowe speaks in a sort of beatnik type "Daddy-O" style combined with a smooth talking private <more>
eye, and the result works perfectly. The film works like it is timed by a metronome, it rolls along, seamlessly in a way that only Altman can achieve, and like the rhythm of the waves and Marlowe's speech, the camera is constantly in motion as well. The roving camera does an excellent job of allowing the viewer to feel as though they are witnessing more action than actually exists on screen.Wade Sterling Hayden is a fantastic Hemingway-esque writer in the film. Hayden's size and booming voice, in conjunction with his alcoholism and potential brutality, lend an aroma of unpredictableness to his character. Wade's beautiful wife, who has a mysterious bruise on her face, is like a timid, loyal animal, subjected to the whims of her over bearing master. Henry Gibson, who plays Wade's doctor, is excellent as a sort of despotic mouse, who frightens an elephant into conforming to his will, this irony is one of the films intriguing, bizarre twists.This film works well as a character study, and is one of the best films of the seventies. A must see for every student of film. 9/10
Quirky, Atmospheric, Unique Altman Spin to Chandler! (by cariart)
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 <more>
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'. And what an array of characters they are! From a grandiosely 'over-the-top' alcoholic writer Sterling Hayden, in a role intended for Dan Blocker, who passed away, before filming began , to his sophisticated, long-suffering wife Nina Van Pallandt , to a thuggish Jewish gangster attempting to be genteel Mark Rydell , to a smug health guru Henry Gibson , to Marlowe's cocky childhood buddy Jim Bouton ...everyone has an agenda, and the detective must plow through all the deception, to uncover the truth.There are a couple of notable cameos; Arnold Schwarzenegger, in only his second film, displays his massive physique, as a silent, mustached henchman; and David Carradine plays a philosophical cell mate, after Marlowe 'cracks wise' to the cops.The film was a failure when released; Altman blamed poor marketing, with the studio promoting it as a 'traditional' detective flick, and audiences including me expecting a Bogart-like Marlowe. Time has, however, allowed the movie to succeed on it's own merits, and it is, today, considered a classic.So please give the film a second look...You may discover a new favorite, in an old film!
As private dick Philip Marlowe, Elliott Gould gives one of his most charismatic performances. The film is really intersting; it's a mystery, but it doesn't want to be one. There really isn't a case to be solved -- more of a score to be settled. Each scene brought a new direction to the film -- and by the end of the film I couldn't believe where it went. Great ending by the way.Classic Altman film that stands as one of his strongest pieces of work.
a clown Marlow laughs at the heart of darkness (by rhinocerosfive-1)
Altman drags Leigh Brackett from the Warner attic, ties her to a wheelchair and flings her downstairs to write a delightful present for movie lovers, instead of the creaker it might have been see Philip Marlowe attempts by Michael Winner and Dick Richards . This movie is completely uninterested in Raymond Chandler and is only barely coaxed into coherent storytelling. Instead we get a delirious funhouse mirror, a riff on Studio Era anachronisms that would have been impossible under Studio Era constraints. Altman is at his most dangerous here, with lots of silly sight gags, much obviously <more>
improvised dialog, and actors sometimes visibly intoxicated. The highwire act should fall, but keeps its feet because, as much as any film of that bizarro time and place early seventies Hollywood , it captures the free spirit of "why not?" go-for-broke artistry. Many of this period's experimental films, though, like EASY RIDER and all those revisionist Westerns, and even a lot of Altman's own seventies work CALIFORNIA SPLIT, NASHVILLE , have a cheap, rushed look; yet in the midst of what might have seemed chaos, Vilmos Zsigmond quietly pulls off visual tricks nobody would attempt today without CG effects. He invests bright sunlight with the gravity of murky night. He uses windows as mirrors and walls and prisms, and windows, simultaneously. The photography of this movie is probably its biggest homage to the technical excellence of Warner's golden age.You won't forget Dick Powell or Humphrey Bogart, but only because Elliot Gould isn't attempting any of the same stuff. This movie is a joke, a very good joke difficult to tell and told well. Gould somehow makes this buffoonish version of an archetype work, though subverting his swagger at every turn - like a lonely fat girl, he's a slave to his cat; he orders CC and ginger, the faggiest drink a tough guy ever threw a lip over; he evinces no physical bravado; he smokes so incessantly the joke should get old in the first reel - but he and Altman are comedians of the first stripe, and everything plays because they want it to. The usual Altman ensemble elements are in place, plus the inspired casting of Sterling Hayden as Hemingway and Mark Rydell as the scariest Jew since Jesus Christ. A couple of years later, as if in indignant rebuke to Altman's irreverence, Robert Mitchum was disconnected from his bong to star in the two worst Marlowe movies ever made, by-the-numbers yawners reinforcing the fact that every genre is mostly garbage. Let us not forget that Mitchum starred in OUT OF THE PAST, at least as good a detective movie as any '40s Chandler effort with the possible exception of DOUBLE INDEMNITY. So these two late-seventies entries do a double service by reminding us not to try and repeat ourselves, a mistake THE LONG GOODBYE did not make.
Typical pretentious Altman pseudo hip popcorn (by inframan)
Like most, or maybe all, of Robert Altman's films this one tries hard for casual hipness that with time really defines Hollywood Square. This movie seems so hermetically sealed up in coy attitudes & kool moods & stylish settings while flaunting Altman's usual nasty misogyny this time a coke bottle smashed in a woman's face - nice touch , it's an embarrassment especially for a Coca Cola & Raymond Chandler fan .
A good Altman movie: one of his best shot, and with a great soundtrack. (by Ben_Cheshire)
Beautiful early John Williams score, really well shot. I wish more Altman films were this slick visually: many interesting visual things happening, reflections upon reflections, beautiful compositions. Plus, the film stock this was shot on looks more expensive than the one Altman usually uses. Makes this look more like a movie, and his other movies aside from Gosford Park perhaps, which is also self-referential look more like we're spying on actual happenings, from the graininess of the footage resembling home video almost. I must say The Long Goodbye has an admirably smart look about <more>
it due to this better film stock. Elliot Gould's performance of Marlowe as a man sort of drifing through this movie, like the naked hippies next door to him, fits well with Altman's depiction and send-up of contemporary 1973 LA. Funny motifs run throughout: the security guard who does impressions of Hollywood celebrities Jimmy Stewart is probably his best is lots of fun, and also Marlowe's temporamental cat provides amusement. Like with Dr T and the Women and MASH, however, the "jokes" in Altman comedies are not really intended just for empty amusment - so you don't necessarily laugh out loud. More often than not, though there is humour for humour's sake, the jokes are vicious, slap in the face-style, attacks at certain social constructs or often just presentations of certain social biases, like treatment of blacks and women in MASH . Curios: Arnold Schwarzenegger before he was famous, playing the next step up from an extra, owing to his muscle man frame exposed in the scene where Augustine has his thugs and Marlowe strip so they'll be honest. He looks ridiculous with those breasts of his. Screenplay by THE Leigh Brackett, screenwriter of classic Bogart flick The Big Sleep 1946 , based on another of Raymond Chandler's Marlowe novels. Obviously a lot of Chandler's overly complex plot had to be summarised, but i think Brackett in an Altman movie most of the dialogue has been reworked by improvisation and rehearsal by the time it gets to the screen, but it was certainly Brackett who gave the overall structure of how it would be adapted and how much of the book could be told in the movie did a good job with the hard task she was given - the plot of Chandler's novel is more convoluted than The Big Sleep, if that's any indication! Bottom line: what a great soundtrack! One of Altman's best movies, and one of his best shot. If you're not a fan of his ensemble movies how could you not be, but still here's one of his narrower, smaller cast movies that works really well.
Philip Marlowe, the iconic private detective of the 1940s, wakes up to find himself in the 1970s. His first case is to feed his cat, and so he spends the first ten minutes of Robert Altman's "The Long Goodbye" scheming to placate his feline. In the apartment next-door several naked women cavort sexually, but Marlowe isn't interested. This is neither the permanently horny Humphrey Bogart of "The Big Sleep" nor a sexless modern update rendered impotent by female empowerment and women's liberation. No, this is a noir hero who suffers modern consciousness. He's <more>
long withdrawn from a world he no longer cares about. Already we see Altman deconstructing both Marlowe and noir, peeling back the layers and undermining the familiar. Altman teases Marlowe, egging his movie with inside jokes, and doing his best to show the adolescent idyll in "Philip Marlowe" pictures. Altman's Marlowe has a cat instead of girlfriends, gives tips to the thugs tailing him and is always being caught up in real-life games, like the gatekeeper at the Malibu Colony who does Hollywood impersonations, or the film's soundtrack, which contains countless variations of the "The Long Goodbye", a mocking tune which plays in clubs, on the radio, in a Mexican band and even on a home doorbell. If, as Camus says, "irony is the force that overwhelms mythical value", then it is the aim of Altman's playful film to destabilise noir tradition. But it is not only "noir myths" that are being undermined, it is Marlowe's very world view that is being challenged.Two events kick the story into motion. The first is Marlowe losing his cat. The great joke of "The Long Goodbye" is the way Altman populates his streets, landscapes and dialogue with references to cats and dogs. Marlowe sees the world in terms of absolutes and binaries, docile cats and hostile dogs, and so when his feline goes missing, he understandably fears for its safety. Meanwhile, as Marlowe tends to his cat, his best friend Terry Lennox talks to a Malibu security guard with a penchant for mimicking movie stars. "Just remember that you don't understand!" Terry effectively tells the guard. This is Altman's direct instruction to both Marlowe and his audience. Later, when Terry later goes missing and is implicated in a crime, Marlowe is the only person in the film who fights for his innocence. He still cares. To other characters, his lack of apathy seems quaint.Significantly, Jim Bouton, the baseball player who plays Terry Lennox, was famously nicknamed "Bulldog". Meanwhile Marlowe's other buddy, his cat, disappears when Bulldog appears. One has not scared the other off. They are one and the same.The film proceeds along playful lines until a single Coca-Cola bottle, rammed hard into the face of a beautiful young girl, turns parody into the real thing. Recalling Altman's use of Coca Cola bottles in "Thieves Like Us", the mundane swiftly turns sinister. And so Marlowe leaves his self-imposed bubble and enters the world one last time, his mission to redeem his friend. When he eventually learns that Terry is really guilty of crimes reversing Marlowe's cat's refusal to be duped by fake-brand cat food , Marlowe ruthlessly shoots his buddy in the head. Now long past disillusionment, Marlowe skips off down the road, "Hooray for Hollywood" blasting on the soundtrack. There's no victory here, only a sort of further disregard and total disenchantment. And so Altman has inverted classic noir alienation. Faced with the greed, insanity, lust, vanity, self-delusion, lies, drunkenness, ineffectuality, ambition, murder, larceny and social climbing of others, Marlowe's mantra throughout the film was a casual: "It's okay with me." He knows the world is scum, but experiences no self-loathing as he isn't a part of it. But when Terry Lennox is revealed to be a criminal, it's suddenly "not okay" with Marlowe. And so the noir hero now suffers the double helix of modern consciousness. Like the Malibu security guard who does countless impersonations, Marlowe knows everyone disguises their real thoughts and intentions by the roles they take on. Marlowe's flaw is that he, in his idealism, refuses to abide by this, and so appears inept to everyone else. Thus, whilst most noirs use the voice-over to let the hero explain his thoughts, Altman's Marlowe never actually speaks to the audience. Instead, as a solitary modern man does, he mumbles to himself constantly. He has his own outdated moral code, his own sealed off world, wearing 40s suits and driving an antique car. Any man adhering to such a code, Altman contends, will experience dysfunction living and working in modern Los Angeles, a place of lies, false facades and cinema itself. Yes, Marlowe's anachronistic personality operates as his moral salvation, but it is also the root cause of his lack of success. Aesthetically, the film differs from most other noirs. Altman's restless camera becomes a metaphor for both Marlowe's quest and the audience's confusion, always looking for a solution. There is no safe place to stand, no clear perspective from which to view the mystery.The film's big flaw is its final act. Marlowe wakes up in a hospital next to a goofy patient, chases comically after a car and then finds himself in Mexico where, in a brilliantly brutal scene, he guns down Terry Lennox. The contrasts, the pacing, are a bit grating. One wishes for a more drawn out showdown, some kind of meatier ending, but of course Altman's immediacy is the film's very point. Marlowe learns the truth and promptly makes a decision. The message is clear: "That ain't fine my me." 8.5/10 – Once subversive, Altman's revolution has now become canonical. Marlowe may think he's cut himself off from the world, but he's no match for, say, Jeffrey Lebowski. Lebowski's so obsolete he has a mythical cowboy narrating for him.