Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: The Chandler followers and...

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 08 Dec 2007

Hi Dick-

Thanks for this, and for giving those of us who are sick to death of the Never-Ending Goodbye debate (which has approached a "No it isn't!" "Yes it is!" level of discourse) a voice in this "discussion."

Now could we PLEASE drop it?

All the Best-


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Dick Lochte
  Sent: Saturday, December 08, 2007 4:19 PM
  Subject: RARA-AVIS: Re: The Chandler followers and...

  This really much too Long Goodbye has moved me to dig out the cassettes
  resulting from a sit-down with Altman back when the film had just been
  released in Los Angeles to less than kind reviews. His replies to two of my
  questions may be of some interest. At what stage did he get involved in the
  project? Altman: It was set up for Peter Bogdanovich to direct. He wanted
  Bob Mitchum or Lee Marvin, somebody like that. But the producer wanted
  Elliot. So Bogdonavich walked and they came to me, probably because of
  Elliot's involvement. I had no interest in doing it. No interest in
  directing a thriller. I don't care whodoneit. So I started to explain why I
  wouldn't direct the film, and the discussion went on for hours. And while
  that was going on, I realized how I could do it without it being just
  another thriller.

  Do you feel the film demeans Chandler? God, I hope not. That was not my
  intent at all. On the set our bible was 'Raymond Chandler Speaking.' Not
  'The Long Goodbye.' That was just the story. Leigh gave me exactly what I
  asked for: an outline that would take us from scene to scene, so we'd know
  the bases were all covered regarding story and budget and who would be
  where. But I don't think there's one line of Leigh's dialogue in the film.
  The actors and I roughed that out as we went along. We were all reading
  'Raymond Chandler Speaking.' The letters. Getting the feel of the man's
  words. His attitude. What I actually was trying to do was to speak for
  Chandler, not demean him. I'd be proud to show the film to Chandler.

  I asked him specifically about the ending, if he thought Chandler would
  approve of that. He shrugged and said it was the only way he felt it could
  end in the Seventies. In discussing Brewster McCloud, he pointed out that
  nearly all of his films were about loner eccentrics who are considered
  insane by a social order of people who behave with real insanity and that
  nearly all of the films end with death. That may explain Gould's
  interpretation of Marlowe as well as the ending.

  I personally would have liked to have seen the Bogdanovich version. I don't
  feel that Altman's has much to do with either Chandler or Marlowe, but I
  like it. I'm just tired of it being beaten to death by by three or four
  people who apparently would be happy to argue its worth until this list
  drifts off into the DorothyL zone.

  Dick Lochte


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