Part of Loft Staff Selects, a monthly series showcasing film favorites chosen by our amazing Loft Cinema staff! This month’s Loft Staff Selects film was chosen by JONATHAN KLEEFELD, FINANCE DIRECTOR!
“One of the finest movies of the ‘70s … wondrously scripted and superbly acted, this is easily the most intelligent of all screen adaptations of Chandler’s work.” – Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Legendary filmmaker Robert Altman followed his hits M*A*S*H and McCabe & Mrs. Miller, and continued one of the greatest directorial hot streaks in ‘70s cinema, with this beautifully woozy L.A.-based neo-noir, based on the novel by Raymond Chandler. In The Long Goodbye, Altman deconstructs the private-eye genre while somehow remaining faithful to the spirit of the original novel (aided by screenwriter Leigh Brackett, who decades earlier helped pen Howard Hawks’ Chandler adaptation, The Big Sleep). Set in sunny early-‘70s California, the film stars Elliott Gould as a smart-aleck, slightly inept Philip Marlowe, a detective seemingly more concerned about feeding a cat than solving a case. However, things are about to get very complicated, as Marlowe is drawn into a labyrinth of deceptions and double crosses by friend Terry Lennox (Jim Bouton), a beautiful rich woman (Nina Van Pallandt) with a drunken, genius writer of a husband (Sterling Hayden), a quietly menacing psychiatrist (Henry Gibson) and a sociopathic gangster (Mark Rydell). Awash in a druggy haze and shot in gloriously steely colors by Vilmos Zsigmond, The Long Goodbye rips aside the slick veneer of the Southern California good life, revealing the smog-drenched, corrupt underbelly like few other films before or since. (Dir. by Robert Altman, 1973, USA, 112 mins., Rated R)