Re: RARA-AVIS: Re:The Long Goodbye

From: Terrill Lankford (
Date: 30 Jan 2007

-----Original Message-----
>From: Patrick King <>
>Sent: Jan 26, 2007 1:50 PM
>Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Re:The Long Goodbye

 I find Altman's The
>Long Goodbye a dull, half hearted attempt made
>primarily to help Elliott Gould change his image.

What a bizarre suggestion. For all the reasons that that movie may have been made, I'm certain that changing Elliot Gould's image was not a prime motivation for anyone concerned. Certainly not the people spending millions of dollars to make a motion picture.

>in this, the film is a failure.

Of course it is. Because that was no one's intention. If anything, Gould's casting was an attempt to bring another dimension to Marlowe. A third dimension. In this I believe they succeeded.

The only film that
>really captures the essense of Chandler's LA is
>Bogart's The Big Sleep, and even this was ruined by
>the Hayze Office and their censorship policies.

If you think Chandler's LA is a Hollywood soundstage, I guess this would make sense. And I'm not sure that the Hays' office can be blamed for much with The Big Sleep. Hawks got away with some pretty racy stuff there. And for someone complaining about Evil Hollywood's manipulation of Chandler's untouchable storylines, I'm surprised that the fact that large chunks of the movie were reshot to capitalize on Bogart/Bacall's marriage doesn't send you through the roof. The decision to shoot new scenes pushed the release date from 1944 to 1946. Those scenes don't appear in Chandler's text and seem to have little to do with the movie and more to do with satisfying an audience that reads movie tabloids. Where's the fidelity to the story that you are looking for in that?

I agree with others that MURDER MY SWEET is a superior film and would add FAREWELL, MY LOVELY in there as well. Between the two of them they cover that one novel pretty well and I think they are both more faithful to the spirit of Chandler than TBS. (For the record, I also believe that a close examination of THE LONG GOODBYE will also reveal more fidelity to the spirit of Chandler's work than does THE BIG SLEEP.) But TBS DOES have Bogie and Bacall. And it is a very fun movie. I don't get a big feel for LA out of it though.

>stories can all be remade with fidelity to the plot
>and the era to great advantage. Anything less will be
>the usual Hollywood 'rush with the flush,' and others
>will be having this same discussion 20 years from now
>about how good the originals are and how stupid
>producers are to screw with their basic elements.
>Patrick King

There is very little rush in Hollywood. If anything, producers these days are overly cautious. And often too many cooks spoil the stew. But the thing people who love books should remember is that a movie has to draw in a crowd much larger than the number of people who read the book in question. This is why most decisions to alter material - for better or worse - are made. To draw the largest audience possible (or in Altman's case, to simply make the best movie he could - based on his own artistic instincts). It would be nice if movies could be custom fit to the individual audience members out there, but the only way that will happen (at this time, at least) is if those people go out and make their own movies.

Try it sometime.

It ain't as easy as it looks.


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