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The Long Goodbye (1973)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  7 March 1973 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 16,080 users  
Reviews: 138 user | 116 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

In the middle of the night, private eye Philip Marlowe drives his friend Terry Lennox to the Mexican border. When Marlowe returns home police are waiting for him and learns that Terry's wife Sylvia has been killed. He's arrested as an accessory but released after a few days and is told the case is closed since Terry Lennox has seemingly committed suicide in Mexico. Marlowe is visited by mobster Marty Augustine who wants to know what happened to the $350,000 Lennox was supposed to deliver for him. Meanwhile, Marlowe is hired by Eileen Wade to find her husband Roger who has a habit of disappearing when he wants to dry out but she can't find him in any any of his usual haunts. He finds him at Dr. Veringer's clinic and brings him. It soon becomes obvious to Marlowe that Terry's death, the Wades and Augustine are all somehow interconnected. Figuring out just what those connections are however will be anything but easy. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"I have two friends in the world. One is a cat. The other is a murderer." - Elliot Gould as Phillip Marlowe See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Release Date:

7 March 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Tod kennt keine Wiederkehr  »

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Technical Specs

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie's ending, different from the source novel, is usually attributed to director Robert Altman. It actually appeared in Leigh Brackett's original script, written before Altman signed on. Altman liked the new ending so much that he insisted on a clause in his contract that guaranteed the ending wouldn't be changed during production or editing. See more »

Goofs

When the cat won't eat, the position of the cat and food dish change. See more »

Quotes

Det. Dayton: Here he is, Lieutenant, a real cutie pie.
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

 
Quirky, Atmospheric, Unique Altman Spin to Chandler!
23 April 2007 | by (Las Vegas, Nevada) – See all my reviews

I admit, when I first viewed "The Long Goodbye", in 1973, I didn't like the film; the signature Altman touches (rambling storyline, cartoonish characters, dialog that fades in and out) seemed ill-suited to a hard-boiled detective movie, and Elliott Gould as Philip Marlowe? No WAY! Bogie had been perfect, Dick Powell, nearly as good, but "M.A.S.H.'s" 'Trapper John'? Too ethnic, too 'hip', too 'Altman'! Well, seeing it again, nearly 34 years later, I now realize I was totally wrong! The film is brilliant, a carefully-crafted color Noir, with Gould truly remarkable as a man of morals in a period (the 1970s) lacking morality. Perhaps it isn't Raymond Chandler, but I don't think he'd have minded Altman's 'spin', at all! In the first sequence of the film, Marlowe's cat wakes him to be fed; out of cat food, the detective drives to an all-night grocery, only to discover the cat's favorite brand is out of stock, so he attempts to fool the cat, emptying another brand into an empty can of 'her' food. The cat isn't fooled by the deception, however, and runs away, for good...

A simple scene, one I thought was simply Altman quirkiness, in '73...but, in fact, it neatly foreshadows the major theme of the film: betrayal by a friend, and the price. As events unfold, Marlowe would uncover treachery, a multitude of lies, and self-serving, amoral characters attempting to 'fool' him...with his resolution decisive, abrupt, and totally unexpected! The casting is first-rate. Elliott Gould, Altman's only choice as Marlowe, actually works extremely well, BECAUSE he is against 'type'. Mumbling, bemused, a cigarette eternally between his lips, he gives the detective a blue-collar integrity that plays beautifully off the snobbish Malibu 'suspects'. And what an array of characters they are! From a grandiosely 'over-the-top' alcoholic writer (Sterling Hayden, in a role intended for Dan Blocker, who passed away, before filming began), to his sophisticated, long-suffering wife (Nina Van Pallandt), to a thuggish Jewish gangster attempting to be genteel (Mark Rydell), to a smug health guru (Henry Gibson), to Marlowe's cocky childhood buddy (Jim Bouton)...everyone has an agenda, and the detective must plow through all the deception, to uncover the truth.

There are a couple of notable cameos; Arnold Schwarzenegger, in only his second film, displays his massive physique, as a silent, mustached henchman; and David Carradine plays a philosophical cell mate, after Marlowe 'cracks wise' to the cops.

The film was a failure when released; Altman blamed poor marketing, with the studio promoting it as a 'traditional' detective flick, and audiences (including me) expecting a Bogart-like Marlowe. Time has, however, allowed the movie to succeed on it's own merits, and it is, today, considered a classic.

So please give the film a second look...You may discover a new favorite, in an old film!


53 of 59 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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