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The Long Goodbye (1973)

 -  Crime | Drama | Thriller  -  7 March 1973 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 14,480 users  
Reviews: 134 user | 105 critic

Detective Philip Marlowe tries to help a friend who is accused of murdering his wife.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Title: The Long Goodbye (1973)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Nina van Pallandt ...
...
...
...
...
Harry
Jim Bouton ...
Warren Berlinger ...
Morgan
Jo Ann Brody ...
Jo Ann Eggenweiler
Stephen Coit ...
Detective Farmer (as Steve Coit)
Jack Knight ...
Mabel
Pepe Callahan ...
Pepe
Vincent Palmieri ...
Vince (as Vince Palmieri)
Pancho Córdova ...
Doctor (as Pancho Cordoba)
Enrique Lucero ...
Jefe
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Storyline

Chain-smoking, wisecracking private eye Philip Marlowe drives a buddy from LA to the Tijuana border and returns home to an apartment full of cops who arrest him for abetting the murder of his friend's wife. After Marlowe's release, following the reported suicide in Mexico of his friend, a beautiful woman hires him to locate her alcoholic and mercurial husband. Then, a hoodlum and his muscle visit to tell Marlowe that he owes $350,000, mob money the dead friend took to Mexico. Marlowe tails the hood, who goes to the house of the woman with the temperamental husband. As Marlowe pulls these threads together, his values emerge from beneath the cavalier wisecracking. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

mexico | suicide | murder | arrest | alcoholic | See more »

Taglines:

Nothing says goodbye like a bullet. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 March 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Tod kennt keine Wiederkehr  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the very early screen roles of Arnold Schwarzenegger. See more »

Goofs

The ink handprints include the palm of Marlowe's hand, but it did not appear that the palm of his hand was on the ink pad. See more »

Quotes

Detective: Listen - what are you here for, Marlowe?
Philip Marlowe: [smearing fingerprint ink under his eyes] Well I'm here 'cause I'm gettin' ready for the big game Saturday. You know, we're playing Notre Dame and I hope I catch a touchdown pass.
See more »

Connections

Version of Climax!: The Long Goodbye (1954) See more »

Soundtracks

The Long Goodbye
by John Williams and Johnny Mercer
Performed by The Dave Grusin Trio, Jack Sheldon, Clydie King, Jack Riley, Morgan Ames' Aluminum Band, The Tepoztlan Municipal Band
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User Reviews

 
A neo-noir haiku for a crumbling 70's Los Angeles.
26 July 2008 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

Much like the 30's hard-bop jazz music that opens the movie, The Long Goodbye appears on the surface to take its cue from classic film-noir. No surprise here, it IS based after all on the Raymond Chandler novel by the same name, Chandler as iconic a figure in the noir realm as you're likely to get and responsible for some of the most distinctly classic moments of the genre (Double Indemnity, The Big Sleep, also Strangers on a Train for Hitchcock). But instead of rehashing styles and themes from a bygone era of film-making, slaving them in the service of a hip or serviceable crime flick that passes the time, Altman instead takes Chandler's film-noir exoskeleton, strips it of all fat and hangs on it his own unique take.

Elliot Gould is Phillip Marlowe. Scruffy, sardonic and alienated private dick with a smart mouth and a cigarette eternally glued to his lips. He's cool alright but not the suave kind of cool that would impress dames in the 40's. He seems constantly out of place, doomed to observe and comment in his witty repartee on what's going on around him or just let the chips fall where they may. And they do.

Chandler's story is as good as one would expect from such a patriarch of hardboiled hijinks and the screenplay matches it every step of the way. All the staples of a noir film are present, simultaneously fulfilling the genre promise of a Phillip Marlowe film and in the same time preparing the ground for Altman's take on it; murder, missing money, unhappy marriages, a private eye hired to investigate, twists and turns. The works. Sprawling and convoluted like the best of noirs usually are. The dialogue crackling with inventiveness, shedding toughguy lingo for a sense of playfulness, rolling in and out of the picture in a stream-of-consciousness way.

Some of the twists and characters seem to carry a sense of seething malice, a fleeting glimpse on the seemy underbelly of the Great American Beast, the scars and ugliness of Hollywood showing behind a faded facade of glamour, an escalating creepiness factor that recalls the later works of David Lynch, predating him by a good number of years as it does. The mousey Dr. Verringe and the whole clinic subplot reminded me of Lost Highway for example.

What really elevates The Long Goodbye in another level is Altman's direction and Vilmos Zsigmond's cinematography. This is only my second Altman picture (after the very good McCabe and Mrs. Miller) but 2 hours in his presence were enough to leave an indelible sense that I'm watching the work of a director on top of his craft. Altman's camera is always on the move, slowly panning and zooming in and out of the frame, picking up details, guiding the eye but never getting in the middle of the story or screaming for attention. The whole thing has a naturalistic, subdued feel to it, what with the unobtrusive lighting and bleached-out, hazy look; no glitz or glamour here. Only the faded, long-gone impression of it.

The Long Goodbye is both a fantastic and somewhat hidden gem of 70's crime cinema and also one of the missing links in the evolution of noir, all the way from Sunset Blvd. to Mullholland Drive. Strongly recommended.


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