A down on his luck gambler links up with free spirit Elliot Gould at first to have some fun on, but then gets into debt when Gould takes an unscheduled trip to Tijuana. As a final act of ... See full summary »
Two convicts break out of Mississippi State Penitentiary in 1936 to join a third on a long spree of bank robbing, their special talent and claim to fame. The youngest of the three falls in ... See full summary »
Pinky is an awkward adolescent who starts work at a spa in the California desert. She becomes overly attached to fellow spa attendant, Millie when she becomes Millie's room-mate. Mille is a... 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
When the police are responding to the suicide of Roger Wade, Phillip Marlowe (Elliott Gould) becomes irate that they don't believe that Roger Wade could have murdered Terry Lennox' wife. He yells that he's going to call Ronald Reagan (then the governor) to protest their inaction. In the very next scene, Marlowe is brought to Marty Augustine's office for a shakedown. One of Augustine's bodyguards is an uncredited Arnold Schwarzenegger, later elected Governor of California. Thus Marlowe, in a way, gets to meet the governor. See more »
Marlowe's initial line following Dr. Verringer's demand of $4400 from Roger Wade (in the hospital) appears to be dubbed. Marlowe lights a cigarette and does not move his mouth as the line is heard. See more »
I can say, without feeling too stupid, that is my favourite film of all time.
It has it all, firstly an incredibly brave screenplay that brought Raymond Chandler forward a generation after Bogart's best attempts to turn the great author into an insomnia remedy.
The casting of Elliot Gould as Marlowe is a stroke of genius - this Marlowe is undoubtedly very cool, but his 'coolness' comes from his idiosyncrasies, nerdy quirks and inability to fit into defined social circles. Sterling Hayden's performance, for me out-does his work on Dr Strangelove and can be added to Jack Nicholson in The Shining, Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy and Brando in The Godfather as one of the finest examples of character acting you will ever come across. His 'Hemingwayesque' alcoholic rages are violent, visceral and disturbing and yet he contains a brittle fragility that draws you to his performance.
The shining light though is Altman. Not only did he get the best career performances out of his finely assembled ensemble (did Gould, Hayden or Van Pallant ever do better?), but also produced one of the best shot films of all time. Only bettered in this era by Coppola's The Conversation (not a bad film to come second to).
On top of all this is an overwhelming sense of the auteur, the soundtrack, camera work and acting performances all combine to create a synthesis of near perfect cinema.
Turn your computer off, run out of the house and rent/steal or buy this film. Watch it, you won't be disappointed.
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