The paradigm of the film noir private investigator is tossed violently out the window in Robert Altman’s 1973 classic The Long Goodbye. Needless to say, this film would make for a dizzying double bill with Paul Thomas Anderson’s newly released Inherent Vice.
Starring Elliott Gould as the classic Philip Marlowe character, that’s the only familiar trait of Altman’s neo modernist whodunit. The film establishes a mystery to be solved — namely, the disappearance of his best friend — then spends the rest of its running time creating a unique, rambling series of interactions between naked hippie neighbors, a cantankerous writer (Sterling Hayden), his beautiful wife (Nina van Pallandt), a persistent psychiatrist (Henry Gibson) and a hungry cat. Just how it all connects is part of the joy.
Saturated in Altman’s typical style including a roving camera and his predilection for overlapping dialogue, The Long Goodbye is a stalwart of the revisionist cinema of the 70’s, completely entertaining and truly deserving of the term “classic.”
The Long Goodbye screens Sunday January 18th, 12 p.m. at the Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson. (Click the poster to see it in all its glorious, detailed beauty.)