A down at heel private detective gets drawn into a murder case involving his friend’s wife. A homage to crime writer Raymond Chandler set in the 70’s. Other than that it is pretty routine. 3.5 stars
Elliot Gould does a modern Marlowe that's still modern.
Very enjoyable self-aware neo-noir film, juxtaposing the archetypal film noir detective of the classic eras with the very different context of the 1970's. Gould does a pretty good Marlowe, but nowhere as sharp as Bogarts, this Marlowe is a mumbling, good natured character that is fascinating to watch throughout. Typical Altman direction, with the camera never stopping, and plenty of great touches and recurring gags, but perhaps the biggest achievement is how enjoyable the film is all round.
Philip Marlow, a private investigator, has been out shopping for cat food. When he returns home he finds his friend, Terry, waiting, with a scratch or two on his face. He wants Marlow to drive him over the border to Tijuana before Marty, a known gangster, catches up with him. When Marlow returns there are two burly police officers waiting to talk to him. They want to know where he's been and does he know anything about the murder of Terry's wife. His evasive answers lands him in jail on a technicality. He's released when the Mexican police report Terry's suicide and finding a note admitting to the murder of his wife. Marlow can't believe that his friend is a murderer and decides to investigate.There is a sub-plot in which he is hired to look for a missing husband who turns out to be an alcoholic and a complete bore. An updated adaptation of a Raymond Chandler novel, the only crime discernible in the first 10 minutes of this movie is Marlow's failure to buy his cat the right cat-food. Elliott Gould, as Marlow, shambles from one scene to the next, and is just about as far away from the Chandler character as you can get. Robert Altman must have run out of good ideas when he made this mediocre movie.
This is Robert Altmans take on the private eye Philip Marlowe, the character featured in Raymond Chandler's crime novels. Marlowe is the ultimate film-noir private eye and has been played by a list of top drawer actors including Humphrey Bogart, James Caan, James Gardner, Robert Mitchum, Robert Montgommery and Dick Powel. Here it is Elliot Goulds job and he does it very well. A softer, slightly bumbling Marlowe, who stands out in trippy 1973 Los Angeles as a very square man in a suit and narrow neck tie. Marlowes values, which include loyalty and generosity, are impeccably established in the opening scenes, where in the middle of the LA night he drives to a store to buy his cat food, famously goes through an elaborate routine into tricking the cat into believing its eating its favourite brand and then unquestioningly drives a friend to Mexico. Its a cracking yarn, very funny in parts and with all the twists and turns you would expect. Mark Rydell is excellent as the evil and clearly unbalanced hood, Marty Augustine. One of my favourite parts is that the only song that you hear in the movie is The Long Goodbye, endlessly reprised in various forms.
Great movie. Quite risque I would have thought for it's time. One of those classic 70's films - has that 70's look and feel. Elliott Gould is great and the screenplay kept us entertained all the way to the end. Look out for a very young Arnold Schwartznegger.
Total departure from Raymond Chandler's book, which was totally refreshing.
Elliot Gould is excellent and Altman's camera never stops moving, which adds to the jazzy atmosphere. Friggen cool '70s flick.
Classic Robert Altman film, Elliot Gould stars in his best ever role.
An interesting take on the original novel. What I find difficult is the way so many movies spend so much time in darkness or semi-darkness. This is probably the problem of an elderly viewer with dodgy eyesight, but is it to save electricity or to enhance the atmosphere? It irritates me.
Elliottt Gould as Philip Marlowe, detective. An old film with chain smoking, old cars and no mobiles. Must have been a spoof, but it was so old I wasn't sure what it was spoofing.....
I really enjoyed this film. Robert Altman's reworking of the Phillip Marlowe character as a New York Jew in sunny California is a lot of fun. Elliott Gould is wonderful as a man completely out of his natural habitat. His nutty neighbours who are always doing yoga in the nude, his fussy cat, the mobsters and the LAPD always on his case, his rich and influential clients in their Malibu beach house, the brightly lit LA nightscape. Gould's Marlowe seems out of his depth, his standard response to all situations is "It's OK with me". However the penultimate scene when Marlowe confronts his friend Terry and the shock when we find out that it was only ever OK with him up to a certain point and that he was never out of his depth with the gangsters, police and rich sophisticates. As the closing credits roll, Marlowe dances up the street to the tune of "Hooray for Hollywood". Brilliant!