Kick-Back Friday: #112
The Long Goodbye (1973): Robert Altman’s take on film noir and Raymond Chandler, with all the signature amorphousness of a Robert Altman movie. Chandler’s story from the 1950s, however, takes place in the 70s—with Elliott Gould, perpetually suited and chain-smoking, as the throwback PI Philip Marlowe in sunny, EST-loving Los Angeles.
Altman’s love of overlapping dialogue, extraneous audio, and distracting visuals is in full bloom, as Marlowe investigates the apparent suicide of a buddy whose wife was just murdered. Renowned DP Vilmos Zsigmond (Close Encounters of the Third Kind) effectively contrasts dark, cool interiors with blinding beachscapes in numerous single shots, and underachiever John Williams takes partial credit for the title song, which is heard repeatedly in various incarnations—like torch cabaret, uptempo jazz, and Mexican funeral march.
Featuring Sterling Hayden, Henry Gibson, and a mute Governator in an uncredited bit role.