7 months ago
“‘I have two friends in the world. One is a cat. The other is a murderer.’" - Phillip Marlowe
We leave the filmography of Stanley Kubrick for a moment and enter the mind of director Robert Altman with this review of his 1973 neo-noir thriller The Long Goodbye. Easily an Altman masterwork, this film is not your typical thriller, and is certainly unlike the 1953 Raymond Chandler novel of the same name that the film is based on. Rather than setting the film in the book’s original 1949-1950 setting, Altman brings the story of Phillip Marlow (wonderfully portrayed, in the film, by Elliot Gould) to present-day (1970s) Hollywood, California. That great decision makes this film one that those growing up and/or living in the area can relate to. Then and even now. On the production side of the spectrum, cinematography (done by the talented Vilmos Zsigmond) is on point, marvelous acting (especially, once again, by Elliott Gould), scriptwriting, editing, and score (featuring only two songs, “Hooray for Hollywood” from the 1937 film Hollywood Hotel and John Williams/Johnny Mercer’s “The Long Goodbye” (which is arranged differently in every occurrence of the song in order to set the mood for Marlow’s encounters with fellow Californians while pursuing his case)), and more. Love it or hate it (which some people tend to (to a certain degree) upon first viewing), this is an outstanding film remarkably done, in this reviewer’s opinion, and one that deserves not to be missed.