May is waiting for her boyfriend in a run-down American motel, when an old flame turns up and threatens to undermine her efforts and drag her back into the life that she was running away from. The situation soon turns complicated.
Harry Dean Stanton
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. Millie is ... 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 »
During a future ice age, dying humanity occupies its remaining time by playing a board game called "Quintet." For one small group, this obsession is not enough; they play the game with living pieces ... and only the winner survives.
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 »
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
Altman was on a roll by 1973 when he chose to film Leigh Brackett's screenplay of Raymond Chandler's "The Long Goodbye", which is considered his last great novel. But Altman decided to transmogrify the novel's serious hard-nosed private eye, Philip Marlowe into a bumbling "Rip Van Winkle" type character who has figuratively been asleep for the last two decades and has missed all the psychedelia of the Sixties and the dark cloud descended in the Seventies. And who better to play such a role, than the great Elliot Gould? Even though the novel's tone and time period have been changed, the highly-complex plot remains, and due attention must be paid.
One of the film's greatest strengths, is the cinematography by the great Hungarian DP, Vilmos Zsigmond. He has worked with Altman on "McCabe & Mrs Miller" (1971) and "Images" (1972) and on the former, he used a technique known as "flashing", this was an unpredictable method for eliminating contrast from the negative to give a pastel look to the show and to bring out subtle shadows in the nighttime scenes by exposing the already-exposed negative to more light in the lab during processing. But on "McCabe", it was used in moderation, but on "The Long Goodbye", he, Altman and Skip Nicholson at Technicolor all worked together to more or less use varying degrees of flashing for the WHOLE picture! It was a big risk, but it paid off - the movie has a look all of it's own. The camera constantly keeps moving in this film and gives a the viewer a great sense of voyeurism and keeps you studying the frame for details. This film is a visual marvel, in my opinion.
Altman excelled himself here, he took risks and put all he could into the film, and I think that "The Long Goodbye" can now be seen as a pivotal Seventies masterpiece - though those words may be hard to swallow for some people.
Thanks for reading.
76 of 96 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?