The police and the press seem to believe it is an obvious case, but Marlowe does not accept the official facts. Marlowe is hired by Eileen Wade, the platinum-blonde trophy wife of Roger Wade, an alcoholic novelist with writer's block, whose macho, Hemingway -like persona is proving self-destructive.
She asks that Marlowe find her missing husband. He has had regular alcoholic binges and days-long disappearances from their Malibu home in the past.
In the course of investigating Mrs. Wade's missing husband, Marlowe visits the subculture of private detoxification clinics for rich alcoholics and drug addicts. He locates and recovers Roger Wade and learns that the Wades knew the Lennoxes socially. He suspects that there is more to Lennox's suicide and the murder of Sylvia. Marlowe incurs the wrath of gangster Marty Augustine, who wants money returned that Lennox owed him.
Augustine maims his mistress to demonstrate what could happen to Marlowe, saying, "That's someone I love. You, I don't even like. After a side-trip to Mexico, where officials corroborate the details of Lennox's death, Marlowe returns to the Wades' house. A party breaks up after an argument over Roger's unpaid bill from the detoxification clinic. Later that night, Eileen and Marlowe are interrupted when she sees a drunken Roger wandering into the sea; before they can stop him, he drowns. Eileen confesses that Roger had been having an affair with Sylvia, and might have killed her.
Marlowe tells this to the police, who remain satisfied that Roger's time at the clinic provides an alibi. Marlowe visits Augustine, whose missing money has been returned. Marlowe sees Eileen driving away. He returns to Mexico, where he bribes local officials into revealing the truth.
They confess to having set up Terry's apparent suicide and admit he is alive and well in a Mexican villa. Marlowe finds Terry, who admits to killing Sylvia. He reveals he is having an affair with Eileen and gloats that Marlowe fell for his manipulations, saying the PI was "a born loser. Marlowe pulls out his harmonica and plays it while strolling jauntily down the road. It took a number of years for a film of The Long Goodbye to be made, although there had been a television production in with Dick Powell.
In October it was announced the rights to Goodbye were held by producers Elliott Kastner and Jerry Gershwin who would make it the following year in Los Angeles and Mexico. In producer Gregory Katkzka had the rights. However the film was not made and MGM let their option lapse. Producers Jerry Bick and Elliott Kastner bought the rights back and made a production deal with the United Artists distribution company. They commissioned the screenplay from Leigh Brackett, who had been Kastner's client when he was an agent and had written the script for the Humphrey Bogart version of The Big Sleep.
Elliott Gould was not exactly my idea of Philip Marlowe, but anyway there we were. It had become funny. You had to watch out what you were doing. If you had Humphrey Bogart at the same age that he was when he did The Big Sleep, he wouldn't do it the same way. Also, we were faced with a technical problem of this enormous book, which was the longest one Chandler ever wrote. It's tremendously involuted and convoluted. If you did it the way he wrote it, you would have a five-hour film. Brackett says that Brian G.
Hutton was originally attached as director and wanted the script structured so that "the heavy had planned the whole thing from the start" but when writing it she found the idea contrived. The producers offered the script to both Howard Hawks and Peter Bogdanovich to direct it.
Both refused the offer, but Bogdanovich recommended Robert Altman.
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At the time, Gould was in professional disfavor because of his rumored troubles on the set of A Glimpse of Tiger , in which he bickered with costar Kim Darby , fought with director Anthony Harvey , and acted erratically. Consequently, he had not worked in nearly two years; nevertheless, Altman convinced Bick that Gould suited the role. In January it was announced Altman and Gould would make the film.
In adapting Chandler's book, Leigh Brackett had problems with its plot, which she felt was "riddled with cliches", and faced the choice of making it a period piece or updating it. He liked the ending because it was so out of character for Marlowe. He agreed to direct but only if the ending was not changed.
Brackett recalled meeting Altman while doing Images. In a week we had it all worked out. He was a joy to work with. He had a very keen story mind.
- The Long Goodbye Characters.
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Altman and Brackett spent a lot of time talking over the plot. Altman wanted Marlowe to be a loser. He even nicknamed Gould's character Rip Van Marlowe, as if he had been asleep for 20 years, had woken up, and was wandering around Los Angeles in the early s but "trying to invoke the morals of a previous era". Jim Bouton , cast as Marlowe's friend Terry Lennox, was not an actor. Dan Blocker was originally cast in the role of Roger Wade but died before filming started. The film is dedicated to his memory in the closing credits.
Near the midpoint of the film, during a scene in which Marlowe meets with the villainous gangster Marty Augustine at Augustine's home, Augustine orders everyone to strip and we see Arnold Schwarzenegger in briefs portraying a massive thug working for Augustine. Arnold received neither screen credit nor lines in this appearance. Altman did not read all of Chandler's book and instead utilized Raymond Chandler Speaking , a collection of letters and essays.
He gave copies of this book to the cast and crew, advising them to study the author's literary essays. The opening scene with Philip Marlowe and his cat came from a story a friend of Altman's told him about his cat only eating one type of cat food. Altman saw it as a comment on friendship. To compensate for the harsh light of Southern California, Altman gave the film a soft pastel look reminiscent of old postcards from the s. When it came to the scenes between Philip Marlowe and Roger Wade, Altman had Elliott Gould and Sterling Hayden ad lib most of their dialogue because, according to the director, Hayden was drunk and stoned on marijuana most of the time.
Altman had originally wanted Dan Blocker for the role of Wade but he died just before principal photography began. Altman's home in Malibu Colony was used as the location for the scenes that took place in Wade's house. It was Altman's idea to have every occurrence of the latter song arranged differently, from hippie chant to supermarket muzak to radio music, setting the mood for the hero's encounters with eccentric Californians, while pursuing his case.
The gala was hosted by Judith Crist , then the film critic for New York magazine. Altman attended a question-and-answer session afterwards, where the mood was "vaguely hostile", reportedly leaving the director "depressed". Altman, however, wishes to make a film in and about ; the film is shot through with the psychic reverberations of the end of hippiedom and the remoteness of the 'Me Generation'. Another Altman touch is his openly expressed contempt for Hollywood and its conventions.
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As if to acknowledge the artificiality of a private detective story in the midst of s Los Angeles, the film is suffused with jokey references to cinema. Even Marlowe himself refers to the artifice when talking to the cops: 'Is this where I'm supposed to say 'What's all this about? There is more than a touch of Hemingway in Hayden's bluff, blustering, vulnerable old hack. Special note must be made of Vilmos Zsigmond's tremendous photography, employing his early 'flashing' style of exposure to lend Los Angeles a suitably sultry, bleached-out aura.
Also deserving attention is John Williams' ingeniously minimalist score.
Movie Review – The Long Goodbye (1973)
Comprised solely of pseudo-source music, the score is a myriad of variations on a single song, appearing here as supermarket muzak, there as a party singalong, elsewhere as a late night radio tune. The film's controversial ending is utterly antithetical to Chandler's vision. Was this review helpful?
Sign in to vote. I admit, when I first viewed "The Long Goodbye", in , I didn't like the film; the signature Altman touches rambling storyline, cartoonish characters, dialog that fades in and out seemed ill-suited to a hard-boiled detective movie, and Elliott Gould as Philip Marlowe?
No WAY! Bogie had been perfect, Dick Powell, nearly as good, but "M.