From: Martha Fischer (
Date: 13 Jan 2000

i think altman's take on marlowe is fascinating-- an anachronistic loser. while marlowe is my favorite character in fiction and i was initially offended by this reading, imho there is validity to it. though i've not done it with all the novels, i once read farewell, my lovely with altman's POV, and found it completely defendable: marlowe's refusal to engage the world and the fact that he's frequently seduced by those he ought to suspect
(either by them--brunnett--or by his own perception of them--amthor) don't really say much about him as a detective....

hope that makes some sense, martha <mailto:>

-----Original Message----- From: [mailto:]On Behalf Of Mark Sullivan Sent: Wednesday, January 12, 2000 11:47 PM To: Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: THE LONG GOODBYE and...cats?

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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