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  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
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  • English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  • French: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  • German: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
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  • Theatrical trailer

The Long Goodbye

MGM/MGM Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 108 mins . M15+ . PAL


Ah, Elliot Gould. Canít get enough of his work. I used to think he was a borderline B-grader but here in The Long Goodbye, an apparent Robert Altman parody of Raymond Chandlerís books, he plays Philip Marlowe with perception-altering style.

Having never read any of Raymond Chandlerís novels about Marlowe the private investigator, I donít have a real basis of comparison to find out which part was the parody. The whole film is a sort of simply-plotted mystery in which Marlowe just gets around being what appears to be himself. No real parody apparent (to me).

Marlowe awakes one evening to find his friend Terry Lennox on his doorstep wanting a ride to Tijuana. Marlowe of course accedes and they head down south with no further trouble. Until the following day when Marlowe discovers Terryís wife has been murdered. Because he wonít discuss his trip with Terry, Marlowe ends up in jail Ė where he learns Terry has apparently killed himself in Mexico. For remorse. Case closed, according to the law.

"Itís okay with meÖ"

But it ainít okay with Marlowe. He begins a subtle investigation that turns up a suitcase full of money and one of the heaviest hitters in town who was gunning for Lennox. A seemingly unrelated case of a wife wanting to find her husband suddenly parallels the case as does the rescue of the husband from the de-tox clinic he is being held prisoner in. Something just doesnít add up to Marlowe and, before long, he and his Julius Marloweís are in deep shit.

I canít honestly say I was expecting much from this film, but there are many things here that surprised and amused. Robert Altman, ever the subtlest of humourists, finds numerous small instances to drop in a scathing gag or two even as the drama unfolds around the players. While this might not be to everyoneís taste, it is a film that has its moments and is a wonderful time capsule of when it was shot (1973).


This looks great considering the age of the film itself. There are occasional small film artefacts with the random larger one thrown in, but on the whole itís pretty good. Around 50:23 thereís a blue burn on the right hand side of the screen but the worst is a compression error at 71:43 thru 72:16. This is a single white pixel in the upper right of the screen and is quite distracting. However, the scene is during a party in which Marlowe is making his way through a crowd, so thereís no loss of storyline.

Colours are good, although flesh tones lean on yellowy occasionally and blacks fluctuate through the whole black spectrum of natural through deeper grey, to dark blue to deep green and finally to sepia during a night scene on the beach. There are a bunch of drugged out hippie chicks in the film who spend most of their screen time with no tops on, so maybe they did it. As to the aspect ratio we have the huge panorama of 2.35:1 with anamorphic enhancement to truly bring to life the Hollywood circa 1973 experience.


Good old Dolby Digital mono. Here it does the trick just fine and balances are fairly even, which is nice. Thereís really nothing of any great worth to reveal here. Dialogue is clear, though when Marlowe mumbles his way through the film talking to himself, you may wanna hit the volume to pick up some of his more throwaway lines. Otherwise, all is well. The soundtrack makes use of the song The Long Goodbye written expressly for this film and about six different performers sing it at various junctures. Itís a John Williams score, so we know itís going to be fine. And it is.


Just the dorky old trailer which doesnít really tell us very much. This runs for 2:23 at un-enhanced 1.85:1.


The Long Goodbye (according to the case) has an ending Ďas controversial as it is provocativeí but by todayís standard of the twist in the tail, itís really nothing we canít see coming. However, it is a fun film with some great moments, including an uncredited performance by a very young and hunky Arnold Schwarzenegger who canít wait to strip down to his lollybags for a nearly-naked scene. Yahoo.

While this doesnít burst open cinematic boundaries, it is a fairly interesting mystery involving a dynamic performance from Elliott Gould that has changed the way I perceive him forever. And thatís gotta be a good thing.

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      And I quote...
    "Robert Altman hides the laughs in this parody of Raymond Chandlerís popular character of Philip Marlowe."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Teac DVD-990
    • TV:
          AKAI CT-T29S32S 68cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Subwoofer:
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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