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The Long Goodbye and Phillip Marlowe


ElCid
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After avoiding it for years, finally watched Elliott Gould in The Long Goodbye.  Not a good movie at all.  Gould did not really portray Marlowe very well either.

I recall in the late 50's, I got a Phillip Marlowe Detective Game one Christmas, although at the time I didn't have a clue as to who Marlowe was.

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There have been a number of exceptional Philip Marlowes on screen (Bogart, Dick Powell, James Garner). Elliott Gould, why this flakey '60s-style "cool" guy was cast by Robert Altman is up for Altman to say (assuming he had the final call).

 

I'll stick with the more traditional castings that Chandler's knight of the streeets has had.

 

Having said that, I still found The Long Goodbye an interesting curiosity piece, with an ending that one would never have seen in the production code days of Bogart and Powell.

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Elliott Gould, why this flakey '60s-style "cool" guy was cast by Robert Altman 

 

I think that was the point

 

While Garner was a better Marlowe, TLG is at least better than Garner's film

 

Interesting trivia: Sterling Hayden's role was originally to have been played by Bonanza's Dan Blocker. But Blocker died during surgery

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I think that was the point

 

While Garner was a better Marlowe, TLG is at least better than Garner's film

 

Interesting trivia: Sterling Hayden's role was originally to have been played by Bonanza's Dan Blocker. But Blocker died during surgery

Well, if it's a case of Altman revisionism simply for its own sake, then that makes me a traditionalist.

 

Viva Bogie, Powell and Garner.

 

I'd rather watch the Garner film (even though it was an update too) as a repeat experience than the Altman.

 

Didn't know that about Dan Blocker and The Long Goodbye.

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I'd rather watch the Garner film (even though it was an update too) as a repeat experience than the Altman.

 

If you want to see Garner as Marlowe watch the first season of The Rockford Files. It's heavy on the Chandleresque ambiance.

 

Starting with the second season's opener ("The Aaron Ironwood School of Success") Rockford became more like Maverick P.I. (which I prefer, at least as far as Garner is concerned). But those who like their noir straight, with no self-deprecation, will probably prefer the first season.

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If you want to see Garner as Marlowe watch the first season of The Rockford Files. It's heavy on the Chandleresque ambiance.

 

Starting with the second season's opener ("The Aaron Ironwood School of Success") Rockford became more like Maverick P.I. (which I prefer, at least as far as Garner is concerned). But those who like their noir straight, with no self-deprecation, will probably prefer the first season.

Whether the first season was Marlowesque or not, Rockford represented James Garner at the peak of his career as the utlimate fraidy cat anti-hero whom we know will finally come though in the end. There has NEVER been another actor as good in that kind of role as Garner, in my opinion. He was in a class by himself.

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If you want to see Garner as Marlowe watch the first season of The Rockford Files. It's heavy on the Chandleresque ambiance.

 

Starting with the second season's opener ("The Aaron Ironwood School of Success") Rockford became more like Maverick P.I. (which I prefer, at least as far as Garner is concerned). But those who like their noir straight, with no self-deprecation, will probably prefer the first season.

May be right.  I watch at least one episode of Rockford each week, usually more.  Hadn't noticed the difference between seasons one and later, but I think also they were developing the other characters more later and the market was for more light-hearted detective shows.

Plan to watch Marlowe today or tomorrow, but not a big fan of it.  I think partially because I had seen too many Rockford's by time I first saw Marlowe.  Not caring much for Rita Moreno probably doesn't help.

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May be right.  I watch at least one episode of Rockford each week, usually more.  Hadn't noticed the difference between seasons one and later, but I think also they were developing the other characters more later and the market was for more light-hearted detective shows.

 

Believe it or not, the ratings for Rockford actually went down after the first season. This was partly due to CBS counterscheduling Hawaii Five-O opposite the show, as well as NBC's general slide into the ratings toilet after the ascension of ABC. But NBC blamed the show's Maverick-like humor, and demanded things get deadly serious. Garner responded by saying if that's what NBC wanted, "You can hire Jack Lord's brother".

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I saw the Altman version when first released. I was appalled that he used a different ending than the ending in the book. It made nonsense of everything that went before.

 

You'll have to read the book to find out how stupid this was.

 

As for Marlow, I vote for Robert  Mitchum 'Farewell My Lovely' (1973). Mitchum was too old for the part by this time, but he nailed the cynical, lonely, smart-assed jerk that was Marlow.

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Never cared much for the Marlowe character. Always seemed phony - made up nonsense (like the bullsh!t movies of John Wayne). Hollywood product for a Conservative-indoctrinated audience.

 

'The Long Goodbye' is exceptional, though. Loved that update - far and away my favorite Marlowe.

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This was my first time seeing The Long Goodbye.  I guess I'd resisted it,  somehow thinking Atman and Marlowe wouldn't mix.  Foolish me!  From the opening all too true scene with his cat until the surprise (and great!) ending, it was perfect.  Elliot Gould is such an appealing actor, I'd forgotten how good he is.  What a treat.

 

The mood and tone was so different with Garner's Marlowe, I just couldn't watch.  Another time, and not right after Gould's Marlowe.

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I couldn't even get through The Long Goodbye. Turned it off after the first hour. I was bored.

 

Didn't like Marlowe much either. I love Garner but the script was boring. I do like the Rockford Files but then they have great side characters like Rocky & Santos.

 

 

I have not watched all the neo-noirs airing for Summer of Darkness but so far the only one I cared for was LA Confidential.

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Turned it off after the first hour. I was bored.

 

That's how I react to 98 percent of so-called "Golden Age of Holywood" productions.

 

Phony boring nonsense for yesterday's children.

 

I'm eternally grateful to the Supreme Court for finally allowing movie-making to grow up.

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That's how I react to 98 percent of so-called "Golden Age of Holywood" productions.

 

Phony boring nonsense for yesterday's children.

 

I'm eternally grateful to the Supreme Court for finally allowing movie-making to grow up.

I like a lot of late 60's and 70's films. Just not Marlowe & the Long Goodbye. Granted I am more of a fan of films from earlier decades but as a film fan I appreciate movies from all decades and wouldn't discount an entire period of film.

 

 

Also while I am not for the production code or against sex, swearing, & violence when it serves the story those things certainly don't make a film "more mature or adult". And many filmmakers came up with creative ways to get around the code to still make fascinating films.

 

Anyways I was just bored with the Long Goodbye. I found my mind wandering and an hour in I decided it wasn't worth continuing. When it was made had nothing to do with it.

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That's how I react to 98 percent of so-called "Golden Age of Holywood" productions.

 

 

Please define "Golden Age."  

As for the late 70's and early 80's, disappointed in a lot of movies.  Always suspected writers, producers, actors and directors were high on something.  Scenes shifted too frequently, characters were poorly developed, plots were weak or non-esistent.  I think some also got overly enamored of new technology and lowering restritctions.

Not to say there were not good movies made during the period, but a whole lot more bad ones.

Watched Marlowe last night and  watched it all the way without fast forwarding.  A two star movie even with James Garner. I think he was better in movies such as They Only Kill Their Masters.

To me, Marlowe was better than The Long goodbye because it didn't jump around as much, the music didn't drown out the dialogue and Garner was more believable than Gould.

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That's how I react to 98 percent of so-called "Golden Age of Holywood" productions.

 

Phony boring nonsense for yesterday's children.

 

I'm eternally grateful to the Supreme Court for finally allowing movie-making to grow up.

 

Just to be clear, when you say "Golden Age", what specific years are you referring to?  I ask only because I've seen some people limit it to a range as narrow as 1934-1948 (from the beginning of the Breen code to the breakup of the studios' vertical monopolies), while others include films all the way up to The Sound of Music.  I get the feeling that all some people mean by the term is movies that revel in their escapism.

 

As far as I'm concerned, there's never been a  "Golden Age" of film, since there have been transcendent movies and hopeless schlock produced in every era from the early silents to the present day.  Quality correlates with a film's production date about as well as intelligence does with a human being's age: Not at all.

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Please define "Golden Age."  

As for the late 70's and early 80's, disappointed in a lot of movies.  Always suspected writers, producers, actors and directors were high on something.  Scenes shifted too frequently, characters were poorly developed, plots were weak or non-esistent.  I think some also got overly enamored of new technology and lowering restritctions.

Not to say there were not good movies made during the period, but a whole lot more bad ones.

Watched Marlowe last night and  watched it all the way without fast forwarding.  A two star movie even with James Garner. I think he was better in movies such as They Only Kill Their Masters.

To me, Marlowe was better than The Long goodbye because it didn't jump around as much, the music didn't drown out the dialogue and Garner was more believable than Gould.

 

This sentence from your post could be about movies made during the 30s as well.   In fact I would say a majority of the movies from the 30s: 

 

Scenes shifted too frequently, characters were poorly developed, plots were weak or non-existent.  

 

***

Since Hollywood made many more movies in the 30s there are many gems from the era and I love those films,  but a majority of the films were 'programmers' made on the cheap by the factory like studio-system.  

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 In fact I would say a majority of the movies from the 30s: 

 

Scenes shifted too frequently, characters were poorly developed, plots were weak or non-existent.  

 

And about 80% of them ended with either a marriage proposal, a couple re-united after a film-length quarrel, a criminal (or enemy soldier)  gunned down, or a criminal sentenced to Old Sparky.  "The Golden Age of Breen-approved final scenes" would have been a more accurate description for movies from mid-1934 to the end of World War 2.

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And about 80% of them ended with either a marriage proposal, a couple re-united after a film-length quarrel, a criminal (or enemy soldier)  gunned down, or a criminal sentenced to Old Sparky.  "The Golden Age of Breen-approved final scenes" would have been a more accurate description for movies from mid-1934 to the end of World War 2.

 

I agree that the ending of many 30s films was one of their weaknesses.    The overall point being that due to multiple factors each decade produced movies of varying quality.    To claim the movies of one decade are vastly superior in terms of quality to those of other decades just bias perception kicking in.    But of course to favor movies from a specific decades over other decades or eras is much different.   

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I have never seen all of Marlowe with James Garner but I have seen many of the other adaptations of the Chandler stories. I am surprised no one has mentioned the cable adaptations which featured Powers Booth as Marlowe. Myself I enjoy Altman's The Long

Goodbye & Elliot Gould's Marlowe. It is a far cry from the Marlowe of the books, but I thought it an interesting take on the character.

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I agree that the ending of many 30s films was one of their weaknesses.    The overall point being that due to multiple factors each decade produced movies of varying quality.    To claim the movies of one decade are vastly superior in terms of quality to those of other decades just bias perception kicking in.    But of course to favor movies from a specific decades over other decades or eras is much different.   

 

That's a good distinction. If I had to pick my personal "Golden Age" it'd probably be 1946-1958 for the noirs and other dramas, with 1927-1933 as a backup for the gangster films and the debauchery, but even my least favorite era (1935-45) has  great character actors and the best years of screwball comedy.  I always look at movie eras in the same way as I look at categories in a book shop, meaning that while there are some subject I care for more than others, there are always going to be books in nearly every section  outside "How to Get Rich", "How to Get Laid", and "How to Find Jesus" that I'll consider buying.  The only real problem with movies (and books) is that we're only given one life to enjoy them rather than the necessary 50 or 100.

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Just to be clear, when you say "Golden Age", what specific years are you referring to? 

 

The "Golden Age of Hollywood" is so-called that because it represents a period of time when the industry was at its most powerful in terms of talent contracts and exhibition policy, while being overseen by Conservative social-engineering watchdogs who decided for everyone what was permissible as subject matter or "message" content. It also represents an industry still in its childhood, producing stagey-acted stories that were "bigger than life". That's why they don't hold up - dialogue is spoken too quickly, too loudly, too articulately perfect for belief. There's no blood, no intimacy, no cussing, no realness - and anybody who would actually speak in real life the way a Bogart or Cagney speaks in movies would've been laughed off the street and/or had their a$$es kicked with regularity. People today recognize that silly affected nonsense for what it is - phony.

 

Once movie-makers were allowed to start making movies that represented actual truths of living, then the long-stunted childhood ended.  And "The Golden Age of Hollywood" came to its very welcome end - to be replaced by The (Choose Your Element) Age of Cinema.

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