THE LONG GOODBYE — CLASSIC FILM PICK
Robert Altman made a bold statement in his casting of Elliott Gould as a Jewish version of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe character in this modestly budgeted film. Giving the chain-smoking Marlowe an orange tabby as a beloved pet adds quirky counterpoint to his not-so hardboiled character.
Elliot Gould's version of Marlowe is a postmodern '70s era invention who jives with the times as much as he clashes with them. If a bunch of partially nude model-types want to hang out on the balcony of his chic L.A. apartment (complete with its own elevator), that's fine with Gould's Marlowe; he can take it or leave it.
Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond elevates this film’s 1.7 million budget with his signature attention to capturing light and darkness. Here is a neo-noir that uses color to emphasize Los Angeles’s speedy influence on the characters and the action.
Altman’s knack for making every supporting character count is just one more element that makes “The Long Goodbye” so memorable. Arnold Schwarzenegger's portrayal of a musclebound boy toy is perversely hilarious. There are more than a few things in this movie that you can't unsee. Whether or not you'd want to, is another story altogether.
Rated R. 112 mins. (A+) (Five stars — out of five / no halves)