RARA-AVIS: Re: The Long Goodbye

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

> Dave,
> Re your response to my comments below:
> > 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
> > the author. Seems kind of silly to me--but this is an argument
> > never going to meet any meeting of the minds with. Although it
> > 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 ;)
> I don't make a startlingly difficult-to-see logical jump. I look
> the movie, in conjunction with Altman's public comments, and come
> the obvious conclusion. But we're beyond that now.
> You may disagree with the position that, morally, an adapter owes
> fidelity to the originator of the source material. But what Miker
> is that artists have no moral obligations, at least not in the
> of their art.
> Ever.


I agree with you completely about a writers/artists moral obligation
(something which I obviously wasn't disagreeing with you about in my earlier post)--but we'll accept that we disagree on whether an artist owes a responsibility for faithful adapations. A writer's book is a separate entity however a movie director/playright/satirist chooses to interpret it, and those works will remain separate from the book, without weakening or strengthening the book except where they provide deeper insight. Let's look at the Coen Brother's Big Lebowski, which while it has the Marlowe-like character as a pot smoking dude, it still pays respectful tribute to Chandler. I also think Anders quotes from Leigh Brackett about the necessary changes for modernizing The Long Goodbye are right on target. I haven't seen Altman's comments on Chandler, except as paraphrased here, and if you have a link to them, I'd be interested.


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