Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Interlude: Judith Crist on "The Long Goodbye"

            It is into the 1973 world that Altman has thrust his Philip Marlowe and seen him, half in sorrow and half in laughter, as a man out of his time, clinging not only to the clothes, the unfiltered cigarettes, and even the car (a 1948 Continental convertible) but also more importantly to the ethic and morality of a time gone by. And, unfashionably at the moment but with remarkable success, he has embodied him in Elliott Gould, that capable actor over-exploited and misused after his initial success, who makes of Marlowe a loose mam, a too rational and too caring a man for now, a sotto voice commentary his bulwark, that foolish grin a façade for the devastating perception of where people are at. And when he puts his values on the line because he alone still cares about right and wrong and gets “You’ll never learn—you’re a born loser” in exchange, he does what the last righteous man has to do—in 1973. And down the road he goes, a shattered myth behind him and a surging swell of “Hurray for Hollywood” flooding the soundtrack.

--Judith Crist, “Current Shock,” New York Magazine, October 29, 1973.

 Crist was 90. Read the obituary here.

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