Monday, September 14, 2009

Movie: Long Goodbye, The (1973)

Rating: 1
Year: 1973
Genre: Detective
Watch again? Nope, nope, nope. It's not okay with me.

Scorethefilm and I watched this last night. About the only things it's got in common with Raymond Chandler's original is:

1) Phillip Marlowe is the name of the main character.
2) Marlowe is a detective.
3) Marlowe lives in California.
4) Marlowe drives a 1940's car, convertible.

For this Elliot Gould vehicle, the screenwriter (Liegh Brackett) moved Marlowe to 1973 Los Angeles, put him in what's GOT to be an expensive apartment (across the way from a small army of yoga chicks who walk around topless), gave him a finicky Morris the Cat (apparently the actual cat), and gave him a tag line: "It's okay with me."

Marlowe gives a pal a ride down to Tijuana. Cops are waiting for him when he gets back home, and they take him downtown. He's released after 3 days to find that his pal has killed himself in remorse for murdering his wife.

Phone call. A woman in Malibu wants to hire him--$50 a day plus expenses--to find her boozer husband. He finds hubby--an amateur Hemmingway look-alike, brings him home.

The local mobster shows up at Marlowe's, wants the money Marlowe's dead pal was supposed to take to Mexico City.

Then things fail to get interesting. This flick disappointed at every turn, really. Gould doesn't carry the character well (we were expecting maybe Humphrey Bogart?), and out of the supporting cast only Sterling "Drunk Hubby" Hayden is really on the set and working. Everyone else was phoning it in long-distance.

There were a couple of surprises that livened things up: first, there's a young Arnold Schwarzenneger as a heavy for the mobster; second--and this would be a spoiler if the movie wasn't so bad--Marlowe just shoots his pal after figuring out the guy faked his death.

If you're looking for any Robert Altman magic, go find "M*A*S*H."

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