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  Long Goodbye, The Nothing Says Goodbye Like a Bullet
Year: 1973
Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Elliott Gould, Nina Van Pallandt, Sterling Hayden, Mark Rydell, Henry Gibson, Arnold Schwarzenegger
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: When private eye Philip Marlowe's friend is accused of murdering his wife, Marlowe (Elliott Gould) helps him escape to Mexico. But what connection does this have to the alcoholic writer he has been hired to track down?

Altman and screenwriter Leigh Brackett update the 1940's Raymond Chandler book to 1970's LA in this cynical adaptation. Laid-back Gould is ideally cast as this Marlowe, a man of principle in a city where everyone is hopelessly self-centred. By the end of the film, after being used, cheated, lied to and beaten up, he has realised that there is nobody left who cares but him.

The plot might be a little hard to follow first time around, but it's a film that improves on second viewing. The Long Goodbye is not much liked by Chandler fans, but it provides an interesting comment on the seventies, even if the controversial ending seems out of character for this rumpled incarnation of the detective. Watch for - the nasty but improbable Coke bottle scene, and the weird touches of humour, like the tiny harmonica. Music by John Williams. That song certainly gets about, doesn't it? Hey - isn't that Arnold Schwarzenegger as one of gangster Mark Rydell's henchmen?
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Robert Altman  (1925 - 2006)

Maverick director responsible for some of the most distinctive American films of the last 35 years. After serving in the military during the 1940s, Altman learnt his filmmaking craft by making advertisements and training films before breaking into TV, where he worked throughout the sixties. Altman's breakthrough feature was MASH in 1970, an acerbic Oscar-winning Korean war comedy that introduced his chaotic, overlapping narrative style. Throughout the seventies, Altman turned in a series of acclaimed films including Images, Brewster McCloud, California Split, The Long Goodbye, the western McCabe & Mrs Miller and the brilliant musical drama Nashville. The 1980s proved to be less successful, as Altman struggled in a decade of slick blockbusters to raise funds for his idiosyncratic movies; nevertheless, the likes of Popeye, Fool for Love and Vincent & Theo were all flawed but interesting work.

Altman returned to the A-list of directors with 1992's cameo-laden Hollywood satire The Player, which was followed by the superb ensemble drama Short Cuts, based on the stories of Raymond Carver. Since then until his death Altman turned in almost a film a year, which ranged from the great (Gosford Park, The Company) to the less impressive (Dr T & The Women, The Gingerbread Man), but always intelligent and unusual. At over 80, Altman remained an outspoken anti-Hollywood figure who showed no sign of slowing down right until the end, with his last film A Prairie Home Companion released in 2006.

 
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