Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Movie Marlowe

Date: 03 Feb 2007

Patrick wrote:

"[Long Goodbye was supposed to change Elliot Gould's image] From a character actor to a leading man a la Bogart and Mitchum. The fact is that Gould has a good face, but it's not a romantic face. While they certainly are not even similar looking, both Bogart and Mitchum worked easily into the romantic male lead over and over again. Gould is more like an Edward G. Robinson. He makes a good dad, uncle, grandad, but the love interest of a temptress, only if the character has no clue what he's getting into. Gould could do a Cain anti-hero effectively, but not a Chandler hard boiled character."

If so, who was his romantic partner in Long Goodbye? The cat? This seems like a terrible vehicle to accomplish that goal.

And he had been a leading man in MASH, and a romantic lead in Getting Straight and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.

Judith M Kass's Robert Altman: American Innovator (1978) confirms Terrill's story that Gould was uninsurable at the time, so he was hardly in a position to dictate movies being made to change his image. And Altman only talked himself into the project he had initially rejected while lobbying on Gould's behalf, backing up producer David Picker's choice of Gould.

Interestingly, Altman's next film was Thieves Like Us, an adaptation of the noir classic. It got great reviews. No one seems to have a problem with this adaptation. Of course, Altman did it as a period piece, not
"updating" it as he had Long Goodbye. I haven't seen the movie, or read the book, keep meaning to do both (have seen Nicolas Ray's earlier adaptation, They Live By Nght) -- how faithful is Altman's take?


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