Part of 1973
Panned initially by critics but later hailed as a masterpiece, Robert Altman’s revisionist noir concerns old-school investigator Phillip Marlowe (Elliott Gould, in a nod to Bogey) ever at odds with his modern L.A. surroundings. When a friend’s wife turns up dead and a wealthy widow hires him to find her missing husband, the two cases intertwine and draw our laid-back hero further into a web of intrigue.
“In THE LONG GOODBYE, Robert Altman, a brilliant director whose films sometimes seem like death wishes (BREWSTER McCLOUD), attempts the impossible and pulls it off…. He has successfully transported Philip Marlowe, [Raymond] Chandler's private eye whose roots are in the depressed, black‐and-white1930s, to the overprivileged, full‐color ‘70s in the person of Elliott Gould, who is nothing if not a child of our time…. Don't be misled by the ads, THE LONG GOODBYE is not a put‐on. It's great fun and it's funny, but it's a serious, unique work.” —Vincent Canby, New York Times (Oct 29, 1973) “THE LONG GOODBYE should not be anybody’s first film noir, nor their first Altman movie. Most of its effect comes from the way it pushes against the genre, and the way Altman undermines the premise of all private eye movies, which is that the hero can walk down mean streets, see clearly, and tell right from wrong. The man of honor from 1953 is lost in the hazy narcissism of 1973, and it’s not all right with him.” —Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times