From: Mark Sullivan ( AnonymeInc@WEBTV.NET)
Date: 13 Jan 2000

Giving Marlowe a cat was actually one of the lesser liberties taken by Altman and/or Brackett in the film adaptation of The Long Goodbye. I've mentioned elsewhere that Goodbye was my introduction to HB and remains one of, if not my very favorite in the genre. So it has a touch of sacred text in my mind. As such, the first time I saw Altman's movie I was appalled. In my eyes, it was sacrilege (unlike the protesters of Last Temptation or Dogma, though, I saw the film before becoming upset). I was royally pissed when I left the theater.

Some time later, I decided to see it again, but to meet it on its own terms, not as the embodiment of a favored text. This time I loved it and now believe it is one of Altman's masterpieces. Like many of his films, it is an examination of genre and it is fascinating to see how out of time Marlowe is in the 1970s. It is all the more interesting given Brackett's involvement, considering her work on The Big Sleep did so much to set the film conventions for the genre in the first place.

Just don't go to it looking for a direct translation of Chandler's masterpiece.


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