7.7/10
22,498
162 user 138 critic

The Long Goodbye (1973)

Private investigator Philip Marlowe helps a friend out of a jam then gets implicated in his wife's murder.

Director:

Robert Altman

Writers:

Leigh Brackett (screenplay), Raymond Chandler (novel)
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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When a casual gambler befriends a professional one, he begins to mirror his life, sending both deeper into the sleazy gambling world where the stakes keep getting bigger.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: George Segal, Elliott Gould, Ann Prentiss
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Elliott Gould ... Philip Marlowe
Nina van Pallandt ... Eileen Wade
Sterling Hayden ... Roger Wade
Mark Rydell ... Marty Augustine
Henry Gibson ... Dr. Verringer
David Arkin ... Harry
Jim Bouton Jim Bouton ... Terry Lennox
Warren Berlinger ... Morgan
Jo Ann Brody Jo Ann Brody ... Jo Ann Eggenweiler
Stephen Coit ... Detective Farmer (as Steve Coit)
Jack Knight ... Mabel
Pepe Callahan Pepe Callahan ... Pepe
Vincent Palmieri Vincent Palmieri ... Vince (as Vince Palmieri)
Pancho Córdova Pancho Córdova ... Doctor (as Pancho Cordoba)
Enrique Lucero ... Jefe
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Storyline

In the middle of the night, private eye Philip Marlowe drives his friend Terry Lennox to the Mexican border. When Marlowe returns home police are waiting for him and learns that Terry's wife Sylvia has been killed. He's arrested as an accessory but released after a few days and is told the case is closed since Terry Lennox has seemingly committed suicide in Mexico. Marlowe is visited by mobster Marty Augustine who wants to know what happened to the $350,000 Lennox was supposed to deliver for him. Meanwhile, Marlowe is hired by Eileen Wade to find her husband Roger who has a habit of disappearing when he wants to dry out but she can't find him in any any of his usual haunts. He finds him at Dr. Veringer's clinic and brings him. It soon becomes obvious to Marlowe that Terry's death, the Wades and Augustine are all somehow interconnected. Figuring out just what those connections are however will be anything but easy. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"I have two friends in the world. One is a cat. The other is a murderer." - Elliot Gould as Phillip Marlowe See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

31 May 1973 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

The Long Goodbye See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,700,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$959,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The make and model of the white hooded-top black car that Philip Marlowe (Elliott Gould) drove was a 1948 Cabriolet Lincoln Continental Convertible (876H-56). According to the book "Robert Altman" by Jansen and Schütte, the car is owned by Gould. See more »

Goofs

When the cat won't eat, the position of the cat and food dish change. See more »

Quotes

Roger Wade aka Billy Joe Smith: What'll you have?
Philip Marlowe: What are you drinking?
Roger Wade aka Billy Joe Smith: What I'm drinking is called Aquavit.
Philip Marlowe: I'm drinking what you're drinking.
Roger Wade aka Billy Joe Smith: Well God bless you. I like to hear that. People these days go, "Oh, I want a little of this. Oh, and a little of that and a twist of lemmon." Balls!
See more »


Soundtracks

Hooray for Hollywood
(uncredited)
from Hollywood Hotel (1937)
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Performed by Johnnie Davis
See more »

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User Reviews

Not one for those looking for a gripping detective story, but still interesting
17 February 2007 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Phillip Marlowe is out getting food for his cat at 3am when friend Terry Lennox pops over and asks for a lift to Mexico. Marlowe obliges but returns to his home to find the police waiting for him with stories of Terry murdering his wife and Marlowe being an accessory. Three days later he is released from a holding cell whereupon he learns the news of his friend's suicide and all charges are dropped. Determined to get to the bottom of this open and shut case, Marlowe finds himself involved in the stormy marriage of Roger and Eileen Wade and the criminal activities of Marty Augustine.

Hailed as a classic, this film is actually a bit of hard work crossed with cool style in a plot that gets somewhere but seems to take a long time and a million back roads to get there. It won't be to everyone's tastes as a result because, even though I quite liked it, I must confess that the narrative is hard to follow and hard to particularly care much about. The wit of it is watching Marlowe updated – a device that will annoy as many as it pleases. In Gould's laidback and shabby detective we have the opposite of the tough and snappy detectives of the genre, but it sits well within the modern setting of the modern generation (as was) with its hedonism and fads. This is interesting but not the same as a good detective story, which sadly this isn't. If you're not won over by the overall approach then it is unlikely that you will find a lot more to fill the time.

Altman's direction is focused on the style and, although he is fairly respectful to the material in regards what happens, he doesn't go out of his way to make it engaging. Gould fits the role well and enjoys his character. I would have liked more of the complexity underneath to come through to contrast with this surface. He is the film but he is well supported by a hammy show from Sterling and solid turns from Rydell, Pallandt, Gibson and Bouton.

Overall then a difficult film to really like. It has enough of its own style to be interesting but not enough of a hook in the narrative to please a mass audience. Altman's hands are all over the film and I understand why some viewers don't like it for that reason. Not one for those looking for a gripping detective story, but still interesting.


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