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Other/Miscellaneous => Off-Topic Discussion => Topic started by: cigar joe on April 24, 2012, 04:46:15 PM



Title: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: cigar joe on April 24, 2012, 04:46:15 PM
Director: Robert Altman, Writers: Leigh Brackett (screenplay), Raymond Chandler (novel). Starring Elliott Gould as Philip Marlowe, Nina Van Pallandt, Mark Rydell, Henry Gibson, David Arkin, Jim Bouton, Sterling Hayden and Arnold Schwarzenegger in a small part.

(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/TLG01.jpg)

Found that this was on Netflix streaming so I watched it the other night. I've seen this film at its first release in theaters and maybe once or twice on TV years ago so I gave it a whirl since all I remember is Gould's laid back take on Marlowe and the fact that he drives a 40's Lincoln in 70's LA .

I'd devoured all of Raymond Chandlers novels way back when, and I've been revisiting them recently, but I haven't gotten to The Long Goodbye yet so I can't really compare novel to film.

That said I enjoyed watching Altman's updated take on Chandler, though its more an anti-Marlowe anti PI film than anything else. Altman deconstructs the PI film pretty much like Altman deconstructed the Western. Gould doesn't have the requisite office which most PI films usually feature, instead we meet him in a nice 30's era hillside apartment, and Gould seems to be a mumbling, sleepwalking PI more reactive than proactive, quirky, he can't fool his cat and he all but ignores the bevy of topless beauties that live across the way. He drives a late 40's Lincoln convertible for an incongruous effect, what sane PI would drive that, it sticks out like a sore thumb and it wouldn't be able to keep up with a 70's vehicle. Its anachronistic, symbolic of the equally anachronistic image of the iconic PI, all probably part of Altman's shtick, his M.O., at that period in his creative life.

Gould & Van Pallandt

(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/TLG02.jpg)

Story is Marlowe's buddy Terry shows up at Marlowes hillside digs early in the AM with fingernail gouges in his cheek and a leather satchel. He asks Marlowe to drive him to the Mexican border no questions asked. Marlowe does and then later is questioned by LAPD because Lenox's convertible is found in his parking space and Lenox's wife is found dead with her face smashed in. After being released from custody because of Lenox's apparent suicide South of the border, Marlowe is visited by gangster Marty Augustine his girlfriend and his crew of dunces they are looking for Lenox also it seems that he absconded with payoff money. Marlowe then receives a cryptic note in the mail from Mexico containing an apology and a 5.000 dollar bill.

This sets Marlowe off on "the case" and if you forget the Chandler root, its an entertaining sort of PI film spoof.

The only real set that's interesting is Marlowe's sort of Art Deco digs, but this film does have a great score that remains with you once the film is over. Seeing Sterling Hayden is a hoot, Nina Van Pallandt looks as if she is always wearing a maternity dress and takes the anti Femme Fatale role, Henry Gibson is good as the quack MD as is Jim Bouton as Lenox, and Mark Rydell is a hoot as nutbag Marty Augustine. As a stand alone film its an 8/10. Streaming on Netfilx



Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 19, 2012, 06:10:22 AM
Okay, I just saw this movie. I give it an 8/10 as well. I've never read any of these books and the only other Marlowe movie I've seen is THE BIG SLEEP. I am basically judging it as a stand-alone movie; my only frame of reference/context is Bogie's Marlowe and Film Noir in general.

Ebert does a very good job here dissecting the movie; I recommend both of his reviews on this movie:

Here is his original 1973 review (he gives the movie 3 out of 4 stars http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19730307/REVIEWS/301010320/1023

I guess the movie grew on him over time cuz in 2006 he added it to his Great Movies list. Here is that review http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060423/REVIEWS08/604230301/1023 (though I wouldn't consider it a Great Movie. But it is damn good).


The anachronisms are very deliberate. On the set, the character was nicknamed Rip Van Marlowe, cuz it's like he fell asleep in 1953 and awoke in 1973. He is an anachronism, a 1953 character sleepwalking his way through 1973. He drives the old Lincoln. He dresses conservatively with dark suit, white shirt, and skinny tie; while all around him people (including the gangsters!) are dressing like you'd expect flower children of the 70's to dress. He is the only person in the movie that smokes. And he uses cigarettes perhaps more memorably than any other film PI. Hard to believe in a world inhabited by Bogie, Mitchum, et al. but true.

I got a great kick out of Gould's Marlowe. Wonderfully written and wonderfully performed. A Marlowe who is hilarious, but without Bogie's brains, street smarts, coolness or anything else. A loser who you love. And btw, when he seems oblivious to the topless chicks doing gymnastics right outside his window, you may start wondering if there's something else "different" about this Marlowe. But eventually it becomes clear that they basically spend their whole lives doing yoga, are probably stoned out of their mind, and definitely insane, and any guy who gets distracted by them is wasting his time. He is definitely not queer. But he seems to have little interest in women. If a smoking hot babe with a non-functioning marriage put out in the way the woman who hires him does -- and it was after the Production Code Era -- you can be sure that Bogie or Mitchum would have nailed it. And maybe regretted it? You'll have to decide for yourself whether that's because Rip Van Marlowe is too smart  to be distracted with women; is too much of a loser; or too much of a straight-arrow  ;)

I thought that Mark Rydell was absolutely amazing as the gangster. (I kept saying to myself "I know this guy from somewhere. But where?" I finally realized, it's from the bonus features of The Cowboys!) He certainly doesn't look like the dapper gangsters in classic noirs; as mentioned, he dresses just like you'd expect a Californian in 1970's to. He has this great way of speaking. Ebert says Rydell "seems to be channeling Martin Scorcese's verbal style." And that famous scene with the Coke bottle, it seems to me like he is trying to convince himself of his power, not just Marlowe. I don't think he really needed to convince Marlowe that he is capable of violence; I think he's the kind of guy who needs to prove it to himself. And he is an overtly Jewish character, which again plays against type of the gangsters in noirs. Rydell in real life has the accent that tells you he is a Jew from The Bronx; I don't know if they cast him because the character was like that, or if they wrote the character like that because they wanted to cast Rydell. Let's just say, he wouldn't be confused with a (Insert your nasty word for Irishman or Italian here  ;) ). It's definitely against type for film noir, which is exactly the point. As cj said above, Altman here is demythologizing Philip Marlowe and the PI of film noir, the same way that he demythologized the Western (with McCabe & Mrs. Miller). I laughed like hell through every one of Rydell's scenes; what a terrific character he was. He was as unconventional and awesome as the gangster as Gould was as Marlowe!

And while I never, ever, ever wanna see a scene with guys undressing, there is one here that is so damn funny, I couldn't stop laughing. The only time in my life I actually enjoyed a scene that involved guys getting undressed. (Actually, I recall one other time -- in The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, when the gang is bathing in the springs and Robert Duvall stands up to reveal an opening in the back of his long johns [for easy crapping?] that was so damn funny.... But enough about that shit )

I did not like the character played by Hayden. But I am sure it influenced the character named William Mayhew from Barton Fink.

Though I didn't realize this until after I watched the movie, I was delighted to find out that Terry Lennox is played by Jim Bouton, a baseball player famous for all the wrong reasons. (He wrote a book called Ball Four in 1970 which was the first modern "tell-all" book violating the "sanctity of the clubhouse," which got him pretty much ostracized from baseball).


As much as you may love the classic Westerns of John Wayne, you have to forget about their conventions when watching McCaBe and Mrs. Miller. Actually, don't forget about them but be prepared to have everything you believed in destroyed. When watching The Long Goodbye, you'll have to do the same for Bogie and the classic PI films.

Gould sure has a way with sharp dialogue, but unlike any other PI, most of the lines are delivered to himself! The catchy refrain that the main character constantly says?  "It's alright with me." To himself.

I'll close by quoting the final paragraph of Ebert's 2006 review:

" The Long Goodbye should not be anybody's first film noir, nor their first Altman movie. Most of its effect comes from the way it pushes against the genre, and the way Altman undermines the premise of all private eye movies, which is that the hero can walk down mean streets, see clearly, and tell right from wrong. The man of honor from 1953 is lost in the hazy narcissism of 1973, and it's not all right with him."


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: PowerRR on June 19, 2012, 07:25:33 AM
Probably my favorite lead performance in a noir by Gould here. I love his sarcastic asshole work with Altman in this, MASH, and especially California Split.


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: dave jenkins on June 19, 2012, 01:55:47 PM
Of course, Gould's Marlowe is very unChandleresque, but the film itself is not unChandleresque. Lem Dobbs, in his commentary to Double Indemnity, makes the point that of all the films with a Chandler pedigree, the most successful are Double Indemnity and The Long Goodbye (although DI is based on the Cain novella, the script was thoroughly Chandlerized). The structure of Chander's novel was largely adhered to for the film of The Long Goodbye, and in many ways the story was improved upon (and note that the screenplay is credited to Leigh Brackett, who was one of the writers on The Big Sleep). The most notable improvement is to the ending: Chandler's original idea was pretty weak, but Brackett's ending really works. And it is not merely satisfying narratively (the schmuck who has been taken for a ride the whole time finally gets his own back), it pays off in terms of one of Chandler's great themes: friendship and betrayal. In DI, Walter Neff's greatest offense is not against the company he works for, or the man he kills, or the society whose laws he transgresses, but against the friend he betrays--Keyes, the adjuster who has mentored him. That's why the film ends as it does, with the two of them together. Similarly, The Long Goodbye, in spite of the convoluted double-plot (a Chandler specialty), basically comes down to the relationship between Marlowe and Terry Lennox. Again, the crucial moment is the final confrontation between the friends. And where there has been betrayal, there must be la resa dei conti.

With TLG, Altman thought he was exploding the conventions of the PI film, which is why he sarcastically has "Hooray For Hollywood" play at the beginning and end of his film. In fact, he found a way--perhaps unwittingly--to recast those conventions in an idiom that would be accepted by a hip 70s audience. It turns out that first-person narration done in voice-over is not an essential element of Chandler's vision. You can even present Marlowe as a schlemiel and stay true to Chandler.


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: stanton on June 20, 2012, 02:09:52 AM
The Long Good bye is an excellent film which grows on me with every viewing. 9/10 or even more


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: dave jenkins on June 20, 2012, 08:42:10 AM
Famously, Vilmos Zsigmond flashed the film negative before shooting. This was supposed to give the film a So Cal lighting scheme, but it really just washed all the colors out. Kind of a problem for home video, one that I don't think even Blu-ray can improve.
(http://img370.imageshack.us/img370/8443/long1du0.png)
The Malibu Colony.
(http://img524.imageshack.us/img524/6415/long7rx0.png)
"Sign the check, Roger!"
(http://img526.imageshack.us/img526/6338/long6du9.png)
"You're a bit of a knucklehead, Marlboro. Things you say don't quite add up."
(http://img503.imageshack.us/img503/5944/long9ih5.png)
"You clawed me, you sonofabitch!"
(http://img54.imageshack.us/img54/1059/long11va1.png)
"It's a long goodbye, and it happens every day....."


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 20, 2012, 08:56:54 AM
-- The reason he flashed the negative was to achieve a pastel look. Altman was afraid of the bright light of SoCal; he said wanted the LA of the movie to look like it did on old postcards. (There's a very good 24-minute documentary on the dvd's  bonus features called "Rip Van Marlowe." )

-- Hayden's beard looks real.

 -- that security guard who does the impersonations of actors is funny! the Barbara Stawyck, Jimmy Stewart, and Walter Breannan stuff was real good!


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: dave jenkins on June 20, 2012, 10:15:07 AM
-- The reason he flashed the negative was to achieve a pastel look. Altman was afraid of the bright light of SoCal; he said wanted the LA of the movie to look like it did on old postcards.
They flashed the negative for McCabe and Mrs. Miller also: why was Altman afraid of the SoCal bright light in British Columbia? These film guys are knuckleheads, what they say doesn't quite add up.


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 20, 2012, 11:09:37 PM
They flashed the negative for McCabe and Mrs. Miller also: why was Altman afraid of the SoCal bright light in British Columbia? These film guys are knuckleheads, what they say doesn't quite add up.

I don't know jack about this stuff; I'm just repeating what they said. He definitely spoke about wanting to achieve a pastel look like old postcards.

In addition to that piece called "Rip Van Marlowe," the dvd's bonus features also has a piece entirely about the cinematographer and the techniques he used here (was the same guy who filmed and flashed McCabe & Mrs. Miller); and also a reprint of an article in a 1973 edition of American Cinematographer magazine about the flashing used here. Check those features out if you want to know more about this matter


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: PowerRR on January 19, 2013, 09:19:07 PM
This is among the three or four Altman movies which I could consider to be his greatest work. One of my favorite neo-noirs. It's a shame the current US DVD transfer is so poor, though. Looks like there's a Region 2 Blu-Ray out there. Any of you non-Americans check it out?

I'd like to pick up the US DVD but I guess I can wait it out until someone (maybe Criterion?) releases a Blu.

Here's the R2:

http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Long-Goodbye-Blu-ray/52119/



Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: dave jenkins on January 02, 2014, 01:57:38 PM
http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Long-Goodbye-Blu-ray/80397/#Review


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: titoli on January 02, 2014, 04:15:23 PM
(http://www.ondacinema.it/images/locandine/thumbs/locandina_lungoaddio.jpg)


I'd devoured all of Raymond Chandlers novels way back when, and I've been revisiting them recently, but I haven't gotten to The Long Goodbye yet so I can't really compare novel to film.

A waste of time. The movie is better than the book, people here say.


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: stanton on January 02, 2014, 04:20:01 PM
Now you got it.

This was Chandler's most ambitious book, and his longest also. A great novel.


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: titoli on January 02, 2014, 04:21:42 PM
Now you got it.

Had I but known it before I read the novel 5-6 times!


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: stanton on January 02, 2014, 04:36:57 PM
Hey, you are here in this forum to learn and to develop yourself.



Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: Dust Devil on January 03, 2014, 04:07:05 AM
Hey, you are here in this forum to learn and to develop yourself.



Hahahaha! ;D O0


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: dave jenkins on January 03, 2014, 03:10:55 PM
The new UK blu includes a booklet with several things of interest. One is an interview with Leigh Brackett from July, 1975. In this excerpt she explains how the script came together. Warning: MASSIVE SPOILERS.
Quote
Well, I was working with Jerry Bick in the beginning. Elliot Kastner of course was the executive producer, and Jerry was the producer, and with Brian Hutton, who was to be the director.
. . .

And Brian was having problems himself at that time. And Brian got a brilliant idea how to solve the plot problem. I kept telling him, I donít think itíll work because I think . . . well, I didnít think, but Brian didnít understand the discipline and the structure of the mystery story. . . .
. . .

And this brilliant idea was very clever, the only trouble was it killed you right at the top of page one. You were dead right there. Well, I thought maybe Iím wrong so Iíll go ahead and do it, and so I wrote a script. And it didnít work.
. . .

Well, we threw out quite a lot of characters and we started off with Terry and the death of Sylvia. And his idea was that Terry had pre-planned the whole thing. Heíd murdered his wife himself knowing that Roger Wade would be blamed for it. In other words, you had people coming out of boxes and saying words because they had to, otherwise the plot didnít work. And a plot thatís built that way never works: youíve just got puppets and nothing builds. So I sent it in and I didnít like it very much, and I had done something with the ending Iíve forgotten, because the ending in the book is inconclusive, everybody felt, and I did something . . . and Brian said no, hell, Iíd rather have Marlowe shoot him himself. So I said  well, fine, that at least I do like, so letís have Marlowe shoot him. So thatís where that came from. And then there was a hiatus, some problem that had nothing to do with me, I donít know, way up at the production top, and Brian had another commitment and had to leave the film. So we sat for quite a while on the shelf, and so then they got Bob Altman. And Bob Altman was cutting Images at that point and he was in London so I scooted over to London again . . .
And we had jam sessions, he and Jerry Bick and I met for a week and got it all thrashed out, and Iíd go to a hotel at night and pound on a borrowed typewriter until I got the notes all down and would go back the next day and do the next segment. And we got everything all thrashed out and then I came home and did the script, and that was that. And some of the touches like the cat, the opening with the cat, were Bobís, and the ending, where he dances away to . . . that was Altmanís, and the first time I saw that in the projection room I looked at it and ďWhat in the . . . is going on here?Ē And he said, ďYou know, the whole thing is a farce, you canít play it straight, everybody knows, so you play it off as a joke.Ē
pp. 15, 16.


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: titoli on January 03, 2014, 03:37:28 PM
"because the ending in the book is inconclusive"

Surely it isn't as conclusive as in the movie. ::)



Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: stanton on January 04, 2014, 02:32:07 AM
Altman's TLG is very different from Chandler's TLG. The film is based on the book, but it is far from being a faithful adaptation. I don't remember how much the story differs, but in tone and style Altman's film is completely on his own.


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on January 04, 2014, 04:08:47 PM
I recall seeing an interview with Altman (probably on the DVD's bonus features) where said something like, "People were telling me, 'this is not Philip Marlowe,' but what they really meant was, 'this is not Humphrey Bogart' "


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on January 04, 2014, 04:10:44 PM
(note: the above is a VERY indirect quote, written purely from memory of an interview I watched a couple of years ago... If you have the dvd, check out the bonus features and you can see what Altman said, how accurate my 'transcription' is :-)


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: dave jenkins on January 06, 2014, 11:19:56 AM
Elliot Gould is neither Humphrey Bogart nor Chandler's hero. It's best to view Gould as a guy who just happens to have the name of a fictional character. Altman's TLG is not Chandler's. This is a good thing--Chandler's novel is terrible.


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: stanton on January 06, 2014, 02:06:32 PM
First thing I hear. All Chandler novels or only this one?


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: PowerRR on July 10, 2014, 04:27:43 PM
I generally stopped buying movies unless I really love them, and in this case, it's worth a buy:

http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=14443

Finally! Been holding off on the standard DVD for a while. Altman is one of my favorite filmmakers (better than Leone) and this may be his best work, besides maybe 3 Women.


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: cigar joe on July 12, 2014, 05:29:31 AM
(http://www.ondacinema.it/images/locandine/thumbs/locandina_lungoaddio.jpg)


A waste of time. The movie is better than the book, people here say.

I finally got around to the novel, the book is a bit long and a bit tedious, its about blonds, a handful of blonds, its about Terry Lenox, a bit too much about Lenox, its about a high society LA that isn't very hard boiled, its about a soft boiled Marlowe written by a Chandler who lost his edge. He keeps attempting classic Marlowe-izims (i.e. the classic, ... he stood out "like a tarantula on a piece of angel food") that misfire badly. Its a book to far, Chandler does the blonds better than Altman, in the film they are sort of all condensed into the bevy of spaced out beauties living next door to Marlowe, and Nina van Pallandt is terrible as the only blond Altman features but like mentioned before Altman does the end better and with style.


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: T.H. on July 16, 2014, 10:50:53 AM
It's about time this will be released on R1.


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: dave jenkins on August 28, 2014, 05:35:53 PM
It's about time this will be released on R1.
How about in Region A? http://www.amazon.com/Long-Goodbye-Blu-ray-Elliot-Gould/dp/B00MYMTANU/ref=pd_rhf_gw_s_cp_36_28KA?ie=UTF8&refRID=13YDQZMEV7RDXWJNFNW7


Title: Re: The Long Goodbye (1973)
Post by: titoli on March 28, 2016, 04:27:38 PM
Gould about it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5mfNmbs7IA