Friday, March 27, 2009

The Long Goodbye @ the Charles Theatre this week

Saturday, March 28 at Noon
Monday, March 30 at 7 PM
Thursday, April 2 9 PM

1973 Dir. Robert Altman. Elliott Gould, Nina Van Pallandt, Sterling Hayden, Mark Rydell, Henry Gibson, David Arkin, Jim Bouton. 112m. 'Scope.

Robert Altman's second exercise in genre revision is a gem that has only lately received its due. The Long Goodbye takes on not only that master of detective fiction, Raymond Chandler, but his greatest creation, Philip Marlowe, famously incarnated in 1946 by beloved Bogie in The Big Sleep. As played by the counterculture's favorite anti-hero, Elliot Gould, this Marlowe is anything but the tough, savvy gumshoe of noir lore. He's a shambling, clueless mess of a man, and Gould's endearingly maddening portrayal of an impotent shamus infuriated traditionalists, as did the film's ending, altered from the novel on one shocking key point. But as Gould bumbles his way through a glittering, sun-bleached contemporary LA, it becomes apparent that Altman has created a Marlowe more deeply true to the original than his film predecessors. As its relentless camera slowly zooms, tracks and arcs its way around a culture built on quicksand, the film uncovers a rich, unyielding view of Hollywood and the price we pay for being in its thrall. 112 m. (Linda DeLibero)