Quick recap: Elliot Gould plays Philip Marlowe, a has been private eye. Late one night, his friend Terry Lennox visits him and asks Marlowe to drive him to Tijuana because of trouble with his wife. Marlowe does and unwittingly becomes involved in a murder mystery when he finds out Lennox’s wife has been killed and Lennox himself has confessed to the murder and committed suicide. Marlowe refuses to believe what happened and sets out to ascertain the truth.
Fun (?) fact: The only songs in this movie are ‘Hooray for Hollywood’ and ‘ The Long Goodbye’ , which is played throughout the film in many different ways. It was fun to try and catch all the reincarnations throughout the movie.
My thoughts: I can’t say I was looking forward to a detective story, especially one from the ’70s, which are ripe with them apparently. But then I started watching and the first 20 minutes consisted of Philip Marlowe trying to find food that his cat wanted. I was in love from then on.
The mystery wasn’t very compelling, although I did appreciate the twist ending. What really sucked me in was Elliot Gould’s portrayal. From what I can gather ,the character of Philip Marlowe is set in 1953, yet operates in 1973. He is witty and a smart aleck and smokes a ton even though he is in health conscious California. And he’s not a very good detective. Most of the clues Marlowe gathers come by accident or as a result of some trouble he has gotten himself into. I also liked that this wasn’t a typical ‘solve the case, get your business back in order’ kind of plot, but it was a personal reason Marlowe had to solve the mystery.
As has been noted before, I especially love movies that portray their time period and this was no exception. For every 70s cliche you can think of, this has it. And that includes the naked girls with bleach blonde hair that live across from Marlowe and spend their free time getting high and doing yoga.
The best part of the film is the end which I will not spoil here, but I will say that it is the turning point from a decent movie to an all time classic. What Marlowe does is so uncharacteristic of him that I did not see it coming at all but it somehow fit perfectly with everything else.
Elliot Gould is amazing and played the character flawlessly. The wisecracking geniuses that we see today should all be grateful for this movie. In Marlowe I saw hints of Gregory House and especially Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop.
Final review: 5/5. I was at a 4 until the ending and now I would watch this movie a million times and not get tired of it!
Where/how I watched it: FINALLY found a movie from Netflix Instant. By the way, I’m going to stop adding this category unless I watched a movie in a special way.
Up Next: Rocky!