Harold, a prosperous English gangster, is about to close a lucrative new deal when bombs start showing up in very inconvenient places. A mysterious syndicate is trying to muscle in on his ... See full summary »
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
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 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
37 of 50 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?