USA • 1973 • COLOUR • ANAMORPHIC • 35MM • 112 MIN

During the golden age of new wave American cinema in the 1970s, director Robert Altman made a terrific series of films that were fairly radical re-workings of Hollywood genres. Perhaps the finest was his controversial adaptation of Chandler’s last Philip Marlowe novel. Aided and abetted by legendary scriptwriter Leigh Brackett, who had co-written The Big Sleep nearly thirty years earlier, Altman saw Chandler’s detective as ‘Rip van Marlowe’, a 1940s gumshoe hopelessly adrift in the ‘Me Generation’ Los Angeles of 1973, with its new permissiveness and New Age nonsense. Played with scruffy charm by Elliott Gould, this Marlowe is a laid-back slob whose attempts to protect a friend lead him into a world of blackmail, suicide, betrayal and murder. Altman’s Marlowe actually embodies some of the same ideals as Chandler’s original, but the director views such values as being comically at odds with the freakish, uncaring world of modern L.A. Brilliantly constructed, with highly sophisticated visuals and sound mixing as well as superb performances, The Long Goodbye is one of Altman’s masterpieces, but it leaves most Chandler fans waiting for a more faithful rendering of the novel.

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