The Long Goodbye

Nothing says goodbye like a bullet…

Crime Comedy Mystery
112 min     7.438     1973     USA


In 1970s Hollywood, Detective Philip Marlowe tries to help a friend who is accused of murdering his wife.


Wuchak wrote:
_**An honest, outdated private eye stuck in the Bizarro world of modern L.A.**_ A detached chain-smoking private detective in Los Angeles (Elliott Gould) finds himself hounded by the police after driving a friend to Mexico late one night (Jim Bouton). Upon taking a gig by the wife of a writer to find her missing alcoholic husband (Nina van Pallandt & Sterling Hayden) he finds himself staving off gangsters in search of $350,000 (Mark Rydell, David Arkin, etc.) while trying to connect the dots. Henry Gibson is on hand as a Southern Cal quack. “The Long Goodbye” (1973) is a crime drama/mystery with Altman’s art-film style that takes Raymond Chandler’s 1953 novel and transports it to twenty years in the future with muttering Philip Marlowe (Gould) being anachronistic in modern sun-drenched L.A. with its nude sunbathers, all-night supermarkets, swank beach houses, eccentric artists, hedonists, medical quacks, avaricious gangsters and fitness nuts. (Speaking of the latter, watch out for a young Arnold Schwarzenegger in his second film role, although it’s just a glorified cameo). Screenwriter Leigh Brackett naturally changed a few things in the story with the most radical being a slightly different ending, which offends purists, but totally works for me (for reasons I can’t explain because I don't want to spoil anything). These changes plus Altman’s quirky flair turned off critics upon the film’s initial release, although both Siskel & Ebert gave it a ‘Thumbs Up’ with Gene liking it even more than Roger. The movie was rereleased with a more accurate ad campaign, utilizing Mad magazine’s Jack Davis to do the poster (Google it), wherein it was received better, gaining back some money. It has gone on to become a deserved cult movie in the decades since. Nevertheless, this was pretty much the end of Gould’s career as a leading man (although he continued to be a successful working actor). It took me a while to acclimate to the muttering private eye trapped in the Bizarro world of Southern Cal approach, not to mention the improvisational feel, but the flick won me over. Being a cat lover, the opening sequence caught my interest, but there’s a LOT to like here, including the idea of an old-fashioned honest man pushed around and underestimated by everyone, yet ultimately revealing his expertise and strength (which brings to mind Columbo). To appreciate it, you have to be braced for something different, which of course Altman is known for. The film runs 1 hour, 52 minutes, and was shot in Malibu, Los Angeles, Pasadena and Morelos, Mexico. GRADE: B
JPV852 wrote:
Pretty good 1970s-era neo-noir drama almost entirely relies on the performance from Elliot Gould and the mystery element was well done, though the ending was somewhat predictable but satisfying. **3.75/5**
CinemaSerf wrote:
Proof if ever it were needed that no good deed goes unpunished! "Marlowe" (Elliott Gould) is woken up in the middle of the night by his mate ("Lennox") who urgently needs driving to Tijuana. He obliges, only to find that on his return the police are waiting for him. Seems that his pal's wife has been found slain. Initially considered an accomplice, he's release when information arrives suggesting the prime suspect has committed suicide. Things take a turn for the more complex when hood "Augustine" (Mark Rydell) shows up trying to track down his missing cash that "Lennox" was supposed to be couriering and then finally, "Eileen" (Nina van Pallandt) hires him to find her dipso husband (Sterling Hayden) who has gone awol. When "Marlowe" finds the latter man, he soon begins to suspect that all three incidents are connected - and that he is being played! He now has to use all of his Poirot-esque skills to try to piece together just what is going on - whilst staying alive! Gould is on his best form in this quickly paced and well adapted version of the Raymond Chandler novel. The dialogue is often entertainingly quick-witted and he easily assumes the role of this smart-ass and hard-nosed PI. The story has plenty of twists and turns, the supporting characters are interesting rather than just fodder and the manner in which the investigation is carried out leaves us ferreting around for clues just like him! I wasn't ever really a fan of Gould, but he's good here and this is well worth a watch.