Los Angeles private investigator Harry Moseby is hired by a client to find her runaway teenage daughter. Moseby tracks the daughter down, only to stumble upon something much more intriguing and sinister .
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
The film's DVD sleeve notes described this movie as being a "send-up of Raymond Chandler's classic detective story". See more »
When Marty Augustine and his henchmen threaten to castrate Marlowe, Augustine says, "Harry, your father was a mohel", but the DVD subtitles read "Harry, your father was immoral". A mohel (pronounced "moil")is a person who performs circumcisions on Jewish males. See more »
It stinks -- not because it betrays Chandler, but simply because it stinks.
Gimmick upon gimmick upon gimmick.
The topless neighbors, the cacophony of mumbled dialog, Sterling Hayden's embarrassing performance, the idiotic choice of a '48 Lincoln for Marlowe's wheels (just what a P.I. would drive on the job!), the chain smoking.
And, like all of Altman's oeuvre, only the most threadbare of plots.
A year or so ago I traveled to New York to see the Met's production of Berlioz's "Benvenuto Cellini," a great swashbuckling opera. I had to close my eyes (not my ears!) to the mess they made of it. It was clear to me that the director and producer had no faith in the work. Similarly, Altman here shows no faith (or even interest) in the detctive genre. That's well and good: there are plenty of genres (sci-fi, westerns) that I can't force myself to watch. But why put all the effort into spoofing an artform he dislikes?
All in all, a group of unsympathetic characters thrust together in a melange of apathy and deceit. Bargain basement nihilism. Perfect for U.S.C. film students, 'movee' critics and "best of" list composers. For all others a waste of time.
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