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The Long Goodbye (free)

  • Central Library 201 West Mifflin Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

Elliott Gould stars in Robert Altman's lesser-known but enduring Raymond Chandler adaptation. Info


Robert Altman's lesser-known 1973 masterpiece The Long Goodbye is a simultaneously serious and parodic take on 1950s private-eye stories. It's based on the Raymond Chandler novel of the same name, and even as screenwriter Leigh Brackett—who collaborated with William Faulkner on the far more famous 1946 adaptation of Chandler's The Big Sleep—hones the plot down to rhythmic precision, the loose ends and obscurities remind you that the concept of truth was in question long before 2016. Private investigator Philip Marlowe, played to the extreme of cool by non-stop cigarette smoker Elliott Gould (whom some fans insist is an inspiration for Cowboy Bebop's Spike), gives his buddy Terry Lennox a ride to Mexico, and is then accused as an accessory to murder when Lennox's wife is found beaten to death. Marlowe doesn't believe the official facts, and his insolence and distrust towards police justice drives him to clear his friend's name. He's also hired by the beautiful Malibu housewife Eileen Wade (Nina Van Pallandt) to find her alcoholic washed-up writer husband. The couple just so happens to remember Lennox, too. The camera glides between panes of glass and mirrors, distorting a reality that never quite becomes reassuringly psychedelic, following Marlowe as he grasps at half-truths and self-deceptions on his way towards the infamously explosive and morally ambiguous ending. —Reid Kurkerewicz

Earlier Event: March 21
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