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the long goodbye…

September 14, 2006

you have no idea how glad i am that it’s raining out…
so finally got to watch the movie adaptation of “the long goodbye”… i guess i had been somewhat avoiding it since the book by raymond chandler was such a huge influence on me… so after reading that book at least 5 times (the first time was in korean when i was 16 and didn’t understand all that much) i had developed some kind of my own visual interpretation of the book and philip marlowe… then when i did see humphrey bogart in “the big sleep” or dick powell in “murder, my sweet” as marlowe, i was bitterly disappointed in how thin and superficial they were… they were plainly playing a touch guy marlowe who wouldn’t take shit from people and go around punch people… but marlowe is more than that, at least to me… he’s a touch guy, yes, who doesn’t take shit from anybody, especially from the corrupt rich high-powered people and bad cops… he’s content… he’s a loner but doesn’t try to reach out to make friends… but when he does, he will do anything for them… and even with the murderers he’s chasing, he has sympathy for them… he’s not cold blooded like many other typical film noir heroes… also he believes in being fair, tender and even in love… that’s what makes him so damn unique and heart wrenching… my ideal kind of hero…
but after a friend of mine convinced me that the movie had changed his view on movies, i decided to give it a try…

so… did elliott gould’s marlowe make my cut…?

first of all i was so glad that this adaptation of “the long goodbye”, written by leigh brackett and directed by robert altman, was not a true-to-every-single-word adaptation but rather a loose one… the basic premise stays somewhat the same… at least at the beginning… and have to say elliott gould’s marlowe was charming as hell from the get-go… not in a cute way but the way he carried himself had a lot more affection than any other marlowe’s i’d seen in other movies… he wasn’t trying to be cool but rather a wise guy and funny… i liked that… then also i loved how they adapted the book into the ’70s and made it look so natural… throughout the movie, i kept saying to myself that this movie is was only possible to be made in the ’70s… with enough bitter sarcasm, twisted humor and yet a hint of bizarre optimism… or rather taking things for what they are and moving on… hope i’m making some sense out of it… and elliott gould’s voice was great… low growling, a bit husky…
oh, and i was more than relieved that they didn’t include the love plot of the book… see, the love story that occurs in the book means so much to me, i was glad that i got to keep it within my imagination… in the book, it just breaks my heart… just even thinking of it makes me go crazy…
yes, i loved the movie… probably because it’s a damn good movie and stands on its own… maybe the music could have been a bit better… they were doing “laura” approach to the music… using only one song over and over in all kinds of styles in foreground, background… wonder if they sold many copies of the music… oh, “laura” was the first movie to do so… david raksin wrote this gorgeous song for the movie (another one to check out if you are a film noir and otto preminger fan) and the song became a huge hit, selling lots of copies…
oh, sterling hayden plays a great character in the movie… at first i was confused because his character in the book wasn’t so significant… but they gave him a very juicy part and he rocked… he was great in “the asphalt jungle”… another great movie by john houston definitely worth checking out…
but if you haven’t read any of raymond chandler’s book, please do… especially you are hopelessly romantic like me… yes, i am one, believe it or not… fine…
think i’m going to stay home and read the long goodbye again…

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4 Comments
  1. Always amazed by your analytical ability towards movies, Okkyung. Perhaps we should watch a movie together and you can tell me things that I never found out! By the way, see you in your gig with Billy Martin, I will be there with a cellist friend of mine!

  2. Hi I saw your bit with Billy Martin and Shelly Hirsch last night-thanks I enjoyed it- I used to work in an art theatre in NYC I saw The Long GoodBye about a dozen times- really enjoyed Elliot Gould’s weary acceptance of everything and evrybody with one exception at the end-

  3. Yeah, loved the gig!

  4. hmm…thank you both for kind words on the gig… i wasn’t really happy with myself, have to admit… sorry, chern hwei, probably that’s why i was so out of it…yeah, elliott gould is pretty charming… even now…!

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