Re: RARA-AVIS: A Whiff of Sulphur -- Eureka!

From: William Ahearn (
Date: 06 Dec 2007

--- Patrick King <> wrote:

> But the film, KISS ME DEADLY, is an essential "noir"
> example, employing, in many cases inventing,
> essential
> aspects of the style. Altman's film, THE LONG
> thows all of these essentials out including the
> story
> and leaves us with an empty dective out of his time
> in
> an anti-"noir" atmosphere. Maybe its an interesting
> idea, not to me, but I guess to some. I sure wish
> he'd
> used a different detective and a different title.
Although Kiss Me, Deadly is considered noir by some, it is not by me, nor is it "essential" in any way. It's a damn fine PI film in that it explodes the limits of the usual fare. Once again, The Long Goodbye is being judged by its genre cred instead of its own merits. What we have here is that I agree with a lot of what you're saying. The difference is that I find those aspects valuable instead of disheartening. Marlowe in The Long Goodbye is surely out of his time but I don't find him empty. Where I find the Chandler in Altman's flick is in the spaces between the words of the novel. Read the book. The future is closing in. To me, Chandler's novel reads like a suicide note. Altman -- or whoever wrote the screenplay -- seems to take that sense of the book and pull it into a contemporary setting as if to confirm Chandler's fears. The Long Goodbye isn't Chandler's Marlowe. It's the Marlowe that would have been had he lived now.

It wasn't titled The Long Goodbye for nothing.


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