---ROGER EBERT (REVIEW)
The period of American cinema between 1965 and 1975 produced many films that almost completely restructured classical Hollywood's accepted genre conventions. A fine example of this would be Robert Altman's iconoclastic take on Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe in The Long Goodbye (1973), a detective film based on the final book in Chandler's Philip Marlowe series. Altman, who is known for turning around traditional genre conventions, revises and reinvents the film-noir style made popular by Dick Powell in Murder, My Sweet (1944), Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep (1946), and Robert Montgomery in Lady in the Lake (1947). The actors and the films in the 1940's film-noir period conformed to genre conventions, and it wasn't until Robert Altman directed Elliot Gould's Philip Marlowe in The Long Goodbye that the detective genre had changed.
It is very interesting to note how the conventions of 1940's hardboiled private eye fiction translate into the 1970's. The low-rent drabness of the genre loses much of its allure. The dark shadows and long nights of urban Los Angeles become the bright lights and warm sunshine of Malibu beaches. The detective's normally snappy dialogue turns into joking asides. Marlowe's hardboiled narration becomes the self-conscious mutterings of a lonely man talking to himself. The romantic myth of a man set apart from the city is turned on its head as a pathetic man living alone with his cat.
Elliot Gould plays private investigator Philip Marlowe, who uses his smart-aleck detachment carried along by a natural wave of 1970's California that Altman... [continues]
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