The Long Goodbye

The Long Goodbye

DVD - 2014
Average Rating:
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For The Long Goodbye, Robert Altman successfully transports Philip Marlowe, incarnated by Elliott Gould, to the over-privileged, full-color 70s. Marlowe is lonely and shabby, yet does not seem an anachronism in the contemporary world. Unlike Bogart's Marlowe, this is a not especially tough Marlowe. He's a bright, conscientiously solemn nut, a guy who hopes for the best but expects the worst. This particular Philip Marlowe, despite evidence to the contrary, persists in believing that not all relationships need be opportunistic or squalid.
Publisher: New York, NY : Kino Lorber Incorporated, [2014]
Copyright Date: ©2014
Branch Call Number: LONG
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (112 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.
video file, DVD video, region 1, rda
NTSC, rda
digital, optical, Dolby digital, rda
Alternative Title: Long goodbye (Motion picture)

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t
TheSandoz
Jun 12, 2017

Robert Altman's labyrinthine take on the Raymond Chandler classic is noir unburdened by a straight narrative - it's a triumph of atmosphere and attitude, a swiftly unfolding whodunit punctuated by subversive absurdities and shattering acts of violence.

n
Nursebob
Jun 12, 2017

Exactly why this send-up of Film Noir conventions—adapted from Raymond Chandler’s novel by sci-fi great Leigh Brackett—wound up on so many “best of” lists is beyond me. As a policier it’s about as engrossing as an old rerun of "Barnaby Jones" and as a tilted salute to the age of Bogart, Mitchum, and Lizabeth Scott it’s anemic at best. Director Robert Altman employs his usual modi operandi of restless cameras, overlapping dialogue, and hundreds of criss-crossing extras while legendary cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond films everything in washed-out pastels giving L.A.’s harsher streets a softened watercolour sheen. The overall result is aesthetically pleasing but does little to compensate for a script devoid of any tension and performances which seem a little too ad-libbed. Gould’s anti-hero shambles his way through with a sardonic smirk and perpetually lit cigarette while a supporting cast provide the usual red herrings, most notably a stoned and drunk Sterling Hayden playing a stoned and drunk writer and director Mark Rydell playing a caricature of a Jewish mob boss. The one-liners aren’t clever enough and the little recurring jokes (Marlowe lives next door to a harem of nubile nudists, a security guard does endless movie star impersonations, the film’s theme song keeps popping up in the damnedest places like a piano lounge and Mexican funeral band) get tired after the first couple of passes. Whether taken as an homage or a skewering or a little of both, "The Long Goodbye’s" forced eccentricities and misfired tropes never quite come together. As a bit of trivia however you can look for a silent and uncredited Arnold Schwarzenegger as a bodyguard and for those who grew up watching 1970’s TV commercials Gould’s finicky orange tabby is none other than Morris the 9Lives cat food mascot. Hooray for Hollywood!

p
pmirecki
Jun 04, 2017

Of note is the excellent cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond (1930-2016; Hungarian) who in 1973 won the "National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cinematography" for his work in this film. He also was cinematographer for "The Deer Hunter" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind".

k
KatherineHere
Mar 15, 2017

Possibly the worst acting ever, except for maybe "The Trial of Billy Jack."

e
eiknarf
Oct 06, 2016

I also didn't like Gould's portrayal of Marlowe, or the way the movie turned out on the whole. Altman has done some great work, of which I wouldn't consider this to be more than a footnote. There were some cool things about the film, and it's possibly worth watching some slow, lonely evening, but, for me, coming at it after reading the Chandler, it just stinks. I realize that's not exactly the point, but Chandler is cool and funny, and this movie is neither. I found it washy, annoying, and cornier than the Great Plains. :/

r
Ron@Ottawa
Apr 25, 2016

I like Altman as a director but didn't like this film much. First off, the film is old and the video quality of this disc is poor. Second, the image of a chain-smoking Gould started to get onto my nerves after a while. The plot was OK, but I think the film was over-rated by the film critics at that time.

j
JackPurcell
Oct 29, 2015

A good, old-time detective story in its own right but also worth watching the bit-part characters. Arnold gov of california wossname is there, Tom Berringer and a number of others.

Marinetti Aug 17, 2015

Great Robert Altman film based on a Philip Marlowe story.

d
Dave99_0
Jul 19, 2015

Director Robert Altman lacks vision. Elliott Gould's re-invention of Philip Marlowe in 1973 is a failure. Elliott Gould's portrayal is not entertaining. His hardboiled private eye patter is nonexistent.

No, I did not expect Elliott Gould to recreate Humphrey Bogart's portrayal of Philip Marlowe in "The Big Sleep." Song and dance man Dick Powell had a completely different portrayal which was successful in "Murder, My Sweet." Why couldn't Robert Altman envision a 1970s Marlowe who is different yet entertaining?

IMHO, for fans of the hardboiled private eye genre, I would rate "The Long Goodbye" at only 1.0 star.

l
lukasevansherman
May 04, 2015

Great shaggy dog p.i. movie from the 70s based on a Raymond Chandler book. Library really needs to get this on DVD. A big influence on P.T. Anderson's "Inherent Vice." Also, the smoking is irrelevant to the quality of the film POLITICSOWNUS (great handle, so true!).

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r
Ron@Ottawa
Apr 25, 2016

Sexual Content: Several scenes of exposed female breasts.

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