RARA-AVIS: Re: The Long Goodbye

From: jimdohertyjr ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 11 Feb 2007


Re your comments below:

> "If you don't go in expecting Chandler or a straight detective
> you may well fall madly in love with this oddball Long Goodbye. Not
> Altman's "best" or most ambitiously original work, but definitely
> favorite."
> A corollary to this statement I guess would be if you go in
> Chandler you may well madly hate this film...

And I do. Not only because I was expecting Chandler, but because I thought, and think, that I had every right to expect Chandler, and that Altman had NO right to shit all over this perfectly just expectation.

> Like Terrill, I don't necessary take Altman thinking of Marlowe as
> a loser as a negative or an indication that Altman was trying to
> disparage Chandler's work. Hell, Rockford Files, which I always saw
> as the heir apparent to Marlowe, had Jimbo pretty much as a loser
> also, but in a sympathetic way, somewhat endearing way.

Altman disparaged Chandler treatment of the character, and, whether or not Altman finds losers sympathetic isn't the point. The point is Marlowe is NOT a loser.

And, while you're right about Jim being an heir apparent to Marlowe, it's not Gould's Marlowe he's heir to, but Garner's own turn as the character in the film version of THE LITTLE SISTER, and infinitely better movie than TLG, for all that it's much less ambitious.

And you misread Rockford if you see him as a loser. He triumphs much more often than he loses. He's handy with dukes. He's handy with his gun. He's fast-talking and fast-thinking. And he's really damned good at basic detective work. Sure he takes his lumps, but he bounces back. He lives life on his own terms and is basically happy. Finally, speaking as one who was blessed with a great dad, no one who has a father like Rocky is a loser. And no one who can go through the experience of being convicted of a crime he didn't commit and emerge with as positive an attitude as Rockford does is a loser.

Gould's Marlowe, by way of sharp contrast, is none of these things. He's just an ineffectual nebbish who spends most of the movie getting pushed around while muttering that, "It's OK with me."


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