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Word Count: 633
Right from the opening sequence in The Long Goodbye the viewer sees that this is not your typical detective film Marlowe Elliott Gould wakes up in his clothes with his cat scratching at his face What director Robert Altman has done is to take the Marlowe character from the 1940s and dropped this laid-back super-cool character almost unchanged into the frothy hippy pot-smoking Los Angeles of the 1970s This Marlowe is like a swimming bird hes there but out of his element He basically exists in a world of his own where he lets things happen around him Philip Marlowe has traditionally been played by such tough guy icons as Bob Mitchum and Humphrey Bogart who limned a portrait of a laconic wisecracking tough guy Elliot Gould kept to the wisecracks but did not deliver them in a hard boiled manner instead he mumbled leaving many lines to the viewers imagination This Marlowe does get involved briefly at the films ending but never seems to be in the center Most of the time this is the story of a stranger in an alien landscape who is whirling on the periphery of events He gets drawn in but then pushed right back out The music in this film is brilliant yet simple The theme for The Long Goodbye is played at various tempos and in various tunes depending on the mood of the film First Altman features a jazz-blues version of The Long Goodbye to familiarize the audience with the tune then goes on to play a mariachi version when at the Mexican border then plays a fast version when chasing a car then even plays a slow marching version while a funeral passes by Throughout the film Altmans camera is constantly in motion symbolizing that people are not always what they seem to be and also that events are always out of Marlowes control Altman also liked to use a zoom lens to great effect
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