The Long Goodbye (1973) is my favorite Robert Altman film. For the longest time that was McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), but as soon as I saw this I knew I was home. It’s like it was tailor-made for me. Elliott Gould’s everyman detective brings noir, one of my favorite genres, into the modern era. Altman’s fluid camera and dense sound design create an environment that keeps the viewer in motion and off balance as the film slowly draws in the confounding threads of a puzzle that our detective may be the last to solve. Vilmos Zsigmond’s skillful cinematography bathes California in a glow that is reminiscent of both the postcards of the Forties and every single Polaroid taken during my childhood. Our hero is flawed, perhaps a little naive, but determined and never a snitch. In short, I can relate to a guy who has a code working his way through a time he doesn’t necessarily belong to.
What you’ll find in this episode: Ericca’s rendition of the ubiquitous theme song, the Conjunction Junction revelation, nude neighbors, Coke in glass bottles, iceboxes and Yankee Doodles.
Links and Recommendations:
Check out The Long Goodbye on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of Inherent Vice.
Cole’s further viewing pick of The Fox.
A map of Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles.
The Jack Sheldon version of the theme song and Conjunction Junction for good measure.