Episode 259 – The Long Goodbye (1973)

And we’re back, walking the dark street with our series “Walk the Dark Street.” Works out rather nicely, doesn’t it? This week our subject is a 70’s take on that classic Raymond Chandler character Phillip Marlowe in Robert Altman’s film version of “The Long Goodbye.” This one’s a little different folks; for one thing, it’s in color, which is an issue in and of itself (see the poll question below). For another, the hard-bitten, hard-drinking, razor sharp detective, so ably portrayed before by Humphrey Bogart, is now played by . . . Elliott Gould? Sure, that tracks. Natural progression, going from Bogey to Gould to Robert Mitchum (1975, “Farewell My Lovely”). I mean . . . at least they’re in correct alphabetical order? So this one is a poser, most dear and impeccably dressed listeners: can a noir film work with such an odd choice for Marlowe, and in color no less? Do please consider: this movie does have a cat in it, and it’s kind of surprising who plays the feline part. And a future governor of California makes an uncredited, non-speaking appearance, so we’re in for some interesting weather. Give a listen and see what we thought!

Poll question: do you think film noir works better with black-and-white movies or does color not make a difference?

4 thoughts on “Episode 259 – The Long Goodbye (1973)”

  1. I think black and white is classic noir, but it isn’t the only way to present the style. David Lynch’s Blue Velvet is noir and so is Blade Runner. Heavy shadows, odd camera angles and using light and contrast to separate your point of interest works in colour as well. I would say colour noir works best with saturated colours or isolated colours highlighting an element, like a red dress in dimly lit room.

  2. Silly me, I answered the poll before listening to the episode. Pepe La Moko is in fact a real film and a great one! Carol Burnett did a parody of it as well which amazing even if you didn’t see the film. She made so paradoxes of classic and even less known films it’s shame there isnt anything like that on TV anymore.

    1. I can’t agree with you more, at least about “Blade Runner.” Haven’t seen “Blue Velvet.” In fact, the only two David Lynch films I’ve seen are “Eraserhead,” which I did not like, and “Dune” which…I did not like. Thanks as always, oh wrangler of the flippered fiends!

      1. Blue velvet is not for everyone but it’s very noir, he did the elephant man with John hurt in the title role and that film is excellent. I like twin peaks too, but I don’t love everything he has done some of it is really self indulgent to me.

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