From: jumblejim (
Date: 22 Aug 2003

Jim Doherty wrote:
> >
> Many dramas have comical parts. It's called "comedy
> relief." It doesn't make them comedies, per se. TLG
> wasn't primarily a comedy. It was a drama with some
> parts that the director intended to be funny.
> CAT BALLOU wasn't a drama with some funny parts; it
> was a comedy.
> Do you really not see any difference?

Of course I see the difference. I just don't think we agree on terms. Chekhov described UNCLE VANYA as a comedy, but I think it's at least as dramatic as TLG (Altman's) and that at the same time they're both about equally funny--though one is laugh-out-loud funny more often than the other, which is more smilingly funny.

In any event, I doubt that any of us is interested merely in changing your mind. I think the impetus on my side of this discussion is to make it clearer that some of your statements are still up for debate, and that to the reader/viewer who hasn't experienced TLG, that his mileage on viewing the film may well vary from yours, which you have, at the very least, implied was the final word, that any who disagree are wrong, plain and simple. I quote:

"> It shouldn't be an insult that it exists.

You're right, it shouldn't be an insult. But it is. Moreover, it's a deliberate, calculated insult. Insulting the book, the character, the author, and the genre was Altman's entire purpose.

> As the pros always say, "He didn't ruin the book.
> It's still fine right there on the shelf."

And they always say that when the film DOES, in fact, ruin the book."

"Does, in fact," you say. Well, I respectfully contend that Chandler's Long Goodbye is not ruined as a book and reading experience, even if one has seen and hated Altman's film. I experience them differently. If I wanted to experience them exactly the same, I'd eliminate one from the equation and read/view the other twice.

So please, have your own opinion. It has been energetically and interestingly defended. But with all due respect, I get a little antsy when someone says, "No, it isn't what you say it is, it's what I say it is."

Jim Beaver

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