RARA-AVIS: Chandler vs. Altman

From: Channing ( filmtroll@sbcglobal.net)
Date: 09 Nov 2007

I can't believe I've been sucked into this argument again, because it WILL ONLY end in a stalemate, again.

The reasons why I hate this movie are A) It IS an update of Chandler to the 1970's, a place where he doesn't belong and it's incompatible with his stories. B) It is a typical Altman inversion/perversion of the genre.

Philip Marlowe is a product of the 30's and 40's. Chandler captures that period so beautifully, why would you want to ruin it and put it in the disco
'70's, with Marlowe driving a flipping Volkswagon beetle.

If Altman wants to invert the detective genre why does he have to base it on the greatest of hard-boiled detectives? That is my objection. He inverted teen comedy, Agatha Christie mysteries, Popeye comics
 and War movies, but none of those bother me nearly as much as inverting Chandler. Although the Popeye movie still stings a little.

The Big Lebowski, a movie I truly love is basically The Big Sleep, but with a stoned ex-hippie as detective. His name is The Dude, and he is NOT Philip Marlowe and it's a brilliant parody/homage of the hard-boiled genre.

I think Chandler's point when writing the novels is that yes there is corruption and vice everywhere, and it's nearly impossible for one man to make a difference, but yet Marlowe is still in there fighting. Does that make him a loser?

In a real life example, Elliott Ness was willing to risk his life trying to take down Al Capone. 1930's Chicago was full of vice and police corruption. Is Elliott Ness a loser because he was the only cop not on the take? And yes, one man DID make a difference.


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