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 »
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 »
A syndicate wants to buy a whole district to rebuild it. They've bought every house except the small gym "Olympic", where Mr. Austria Joe Santo prepares for the Mr. Universum championships ... See full summary »
Handsome Stranger has agreed to escort Charming Jones to collect her inheritance from her father. But Avery Jones wants the money, and hires notorious outlaw Cactus Jack to ambush Charming.... 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
The first time I saw this movie was back in the seventies and this was the film that won me over to Robert Altman's great works in the American cinema.
Granted, at the time of the movie's release Raymond Chandler purists naturally didn't appreciate the transformation his knight errant private eye underwent. But nowadays, the viewer must see the film for its great direction, terrific performances, Leigh Brackett's excellent screenplay and the fine cinematography. Not to mention simply the challenge of understanding a truly baffling plot. As in all of Altman's works, this one is peppered with offbeat characters and subtle (and some not-so subtle) situations that positively take you by surprise. As a maverick figure in Hollywood, Altman made sure "iconoclast" was stamped all over this film, it's a true nose-thumbing at every institution that Hollywood reveres; idealistic movie heroes, neat happy-ever-after endings, big budget spectacles, dependable money-making conventions and all around ass-kissing.
But the real treat here is, of course, Elliott Gould, and I don't believe that it's the best thing he's ever done on screen, as many think. He's certainly turned out even better performances than this one throughout the past 3 decades. But yet, in The Long Goodbye, Gould is just so much fun to watch, especially when he's being interrogated by the police or just muttering lines like, "He's got a girl, I got a cat" or "a melon convention" when he gives up trying to get his topless next-door neighbors' attention.
An interesting thing to note at the end of the film - we see the back shot of Marlowe walking away and that to me, was the private eye's closing shot, but then we have a front shot of Elliott Gould who begins playing his harmonica and then continues on up the road doing his little number, dancing a jig, etc. And to me that shows where Marlowe left off and where Gould takes over. So they weren't one and the same after all. Once again, a statement to those who would be too quick to take the Marlowe myth seriously.
The Long Goodbye is vintage Altman, a masterwork to be savoured forever.
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