RARA-AVIS: Re: The Long Goodbye

From: Dave Zeltserman ( dz@hardluckstories.com)
Date: 11 Feb 2007

I think what this circular neverending discussion boils down to is that some devoted fans of Chandler's feel so strongly attached to his work that any movie that's not a faithful adaption is disrespectful. Others of us who might be also be Chandler fans (I'm mildly one but feel more attached to the works of Hammett, Jim Thompson, Willeford and Rex Stout than I do Chandler), could appreciate the movie for what it was (a great movie!)--and I for one didn't find it at all disrespectful to Chandler, but in its own ways quite Chandleresque. But I can understand the disappointment--when you're that emotionally attached to a book you want the movie to play out as you envisioned it. I've been there--and was grossly disappointed with the first Nero Wolfe show (William Conrad as Wolfe, please!), and thrilled with A&E's version a few years back. What I don't get is how someone can make the logical jump from someone not faithfully adapting a work, or taking liberties with it, to the director/screenwriters disrespecting the author. Seems kind of silly to me--but this is an argument we're never going to meet any meeting of the minds with. Although it does seem from the responses that far more people here liked Altman's version of Long Goodbye than despised it, so I think we do have a RARA AVIS consensus that the Long Goodbye was a damn good movie ;)

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, JIM DOHERTY <jimdohertyjr@...> wrote:
> Miker,
> Re your comment below:
> "Art has no moral obligation."
> That's about the silliest thing I've ever heard.
> All people have an obligation to be moral, to do
> right, to be honest, honorable, and charitable, and
> this applies to one's profession as it does to all
> other aspects of one's life.
> Would you say that a cop has no obligation to conduct
> himself morally? Or a physician? Or a lawyer? We
> may not be particularly surprised if anyone in those
> professions acts immorally, but we feel we have a
> right to expect moral, or at the absolute minimum,
> ethical behavior from them nonetheless, and we, as a
> society, exact a price if they don't measure up.
> Why should an artist be exempt from a standard we
> expect of all other members of society.
> To say that art has no moral obligation is to excuse a
> child pornographer as long as his photography is
> artistic. It's to excuse a plagiarist as long as he
> improves on what he stole. It's to say that novel
> that's little more than a racist screed needs no
> justification as long as it's well-written and tells a
> compelling story.
> You may say that an artist doesn't have to conform to
> MY personal standards of morality or YOUR perosnal
> standards of morality in order to justify himself, but
> to say that an artist need not conform to ANY standard
> of morality when he's producing art simply because
> he's an artist producing art is just silly.
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