Movies - TV
Humphrey Bogart's Legacy Made Robert Altman Hesitant To Take The Long Goodbye
Robert Altman’s adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s “The Long Goodbye” is perhaps the director’s most-remembered film and is the continuation of the character Philip Marlowe’s story, first appearing in the 1946 noir “The Big Sleep” starring Humphrey Bogart. The director knew there would be high expectations, which almost caused him to pass on the movie.
Altman explained, “I was sent the script by the producers and at first I said, I don’t want to do Raymond Chandler. If you say ‘Philip Marlowe,’ people just think of Humphrey Bogart.” However, the director changed his mind after Elliott Gould was suggested for the part and decided not to make a straightforward adaptation, with the character becoming a satirical interpretation of Bogart’s Marlowe.
From the film’s beginning scene, Altman makes it evident that his version of the character is different from Bogart’s. The director shared, “It’s almost obligatory in this sort of film to open up with some very heavy action; we did just the opposite.” Altman nicknamed Gould’s detective Rip Van Marlowe “as if he’d been asleep for twenty years,” further distinguishing him from Bogart’s Marlowe.