Re: RARA-AVIS: Re:The Long Goodbye

From: Patrick King (
Date: 12 Feb 2007

Do you think the opinion of Chandler fans in 1973 moved the box office at all? Of course not.

With all due respect, Richard, I WAS a Chandler fan in 1973 and, yes, I do think my opinion was the very one they were playing to when they decided to make the film. Why make a movie based on a book at all if you think there are no people out there who care about the original work? If you're just going to do some obscure story, why not save the money and not buy the film rights? It is more expensive to make a film based on a book, even an old one than it is to do an original work. But, of course, the original work requires more effort and is a bigger gamble. Of course they knew Chandler fans would go to a movie based on Chandler's book. I guess they also thought that Altman was so hot that we'd forgive his completely screwing up the story. They were wrong about that! Both Chandler's work and Bogart's old films were very big items in the culture of the late 60s and early 70s. They've never gone out of style. Take a look at Polanski's much more successful Chinatown. Polanski openly stated he was trying for the Chandler mystique. Unlike Altman, though, Polanski didn't have to pay for the rights!

Patrick King
--- Richard Moore <> wrote:

> --- In, Patrick King
> <abrasax93@...>
> wrote:
> >
> > I get your points, Steve, but this is exactly the
> > essense of the problem. Why does Altman or any
> film
> > maker make a derivative film and then choose to
> depart
> > entirely from the original idea? Why not take the
> idea
> > that was inspired by the original work, call the
> new
> > detective Milton Pharlow or something and move
> forward
> > with an original story? The answer is, the
> producer
> > and/or the director want to glam on to the success
> of
> > the popular book. So I come to this film having
> read
> > the book at least four or five times, and I'm not
> > treated to a visual rendition of this story I
> enjoyed,
> > but to some different story set in a different
> time
> > frame, with characters I can't even recognize. And
> I'm
> > expected to be philosophical about this and
> "enjoy"
> > the film as pure cinema and because Robert Altman
> > directed it. Personally, I think that's
> rediculous.
> > Hollywood can be as creative as it wants with
> original
> > screenplays. I wish they'd make a lot more of
> them.
> > But if they want to leach off the hard work of a
> > writer who's created a huge readership through
> trial
> > and error, the least that readership can demand is
> a
> > faithful rendition. Altman's Long Goodbye is
> > tantamount to taking a Harry Potter novel, making
> > Harry 30-years-old, setting the story in modern
> Texas,
> > and changing Hogwart School of Witchcraft and
> > Wizardry, into a Piggly-Wiggly cashregister
> training
> > school. Rowling fans would not put up with this
> and
> > neither should we Chandler fans!
> >
> > Patrick
> I have to ask: are you serious or is this a
> send-up?
> Do you think the opinion of Chandler fans in 1973
> moved the box
> office at all? Of course not. So why should the
> producers care?
> The going against the Chandler grain would have
> helped the buzz--
> given the reviewers something to write and been a
> net positive.
> AChandler fan, I saw the movie when it was released
> and quickly
> realized I was in for a far-flung trip. I was not a
> fan of Elliot
> Gould (who, along with most movie-goers in 1973, I
> considered
> a 'leading man' not a character actor) but after a
> bit of
> adjustment, I enjoyed the movie. It helped that I
> was a Leigh
> Brackett and Sterling Hayden fan and was curious
> about the
> performance of Jim Bouton. I bought the DVD over
> the holidays and
> hope to view it again soon and form a current
> opinion.
> Does the existence of "Satan Met a Lady", the 1936
> film, detract
> from my opinion of the Dashiell Hammett novel THE
> the John Houston film adaptation of 1941? Of course
> not. So let us
> celebrate or criticize the Altman film without
> getting too
> hysterical about it.
> Richard Moore

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 12 Feb 2007 EST