Re: RARA-AVIS: Chandler vs. Altman

From: Terrill Lankford (
Date: 09 Nov 2007

-----Original Message-----
>From: Channing <>
>Sent: Nov 9, 2007 1:18 PM
>Subject: RARA-AVIS: Chandler vs. Altman
>I can't believe I've been sucked into
>this argument again, because it WILL ONLY
>end in a stalemate, again.

So true. I feel your pain.

>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.

Don't know what you're talking about here. This bears no resemblance to anything in The Long Goodbye. No disco music, no VW bug in that movie.

Maybe you're thinking of The Big Fix or one of the Naked Gun movies.

It would be more productive to this unproductive discussion if you focused your hate on the movie that exists, not the one you are imagining.

>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.

So he should have messed with Philo Vance or some other second string detective who was prretty much forgotten by the 70s? If Altman's intentions were what you say they were, it makes sense that he went after the big one.

>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.

So an unnofficial (and uncredited) parody/homage (or rip-off as some may consider it) is terrific, but to speak Marlowe's name is the great sin? Okay then.

This brings an interesting question to light: would the haters of The Long Goodbye not hated it if the detective was named something else and the story line just unnoficially ripped off Chandler? The Coens have been "borrowing" from Hammett and Chandler their entire careers and there have been few complaints about that from the members of this list. Is it the very "officialness" of The Long Goodbye that is the most offensive aspect of the picture. (Seems like a punishment for the filmmakers for actually paying for the rights to the work instead of just saving the dough and stealing ideas.)

>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?

Yes. But a noble one. What's wrong with that?

>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.

Thank god Altman never got his hands on Elliot Ness.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 09 Nov 2007 EST