The final entry into Noirvember 2021. Private Investigator? I barely even know her! The 1973 entry into the annals of detective movies by Robert Altman starring Elliott Gould.
There’s a lot to talk about and I won’t mention any of it. I’ll try not to. This one is coming out hot so keep your eyes peeled for any updates here.
This movie definitely has some content warnings that the 70’s just didn’t have. Marty Augustine is huge on that. He’s the prototype for the Heath Ledger Joker, pretty much. He’s like “what if the Joker was a chill dude within the system versus outside of it?” It’s wild.
High Tower Court is a wild place. Really.
High Tower Court like overlooks the Hollywood Bowl (or is super nearby). This area is pretty magical to me. Coming from flatland the elevation changes alone are wonderful. But it’s mysterious. It’s fascinating. I saw a musical at the Hollywood Bowl and it definitely felt like something.
A Simple Favor, starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively, feels like an update version of The Long Goodbye. It’s an interesting movie. I liked it a lot more than I initially thought I would although it’s maybe more inspired by the text than the film. Still, worth mentioning. Also, Michael Connolley’s second Bosch book, The Black Ice, is inspired by a mix of the book and the film. I liked that book quite a bit as well.
I feel like “el porto del gato” inspired the “GATO!!!” in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Shane Black isn’t above that. “El Porto” is an unusual way to say “the door” in Spanish. I’d go for “la puerta” but I learned not too long ago that “porton” was an older word for a door based on the name of a restaurant. So I’ll accept it as being fine although, in the book, the Spanish isn’t always exactly on point. Chandler was born in Chicago and grew up in England so the actual fuck did he know about Spanish. That doesn’t detract from the story or anything but he’s such a picky little bastard about his hoighty toighyt literary references you’d think he’d spend a little more time getting that right. But Chandler had a lot of his own issues.
I didn’t mention Dr. Veringer at all and I’m sure there’s a lot to mention there but he’s played by the Illinois Nazi from The Blues Brothers, Henry Gibson. Wonderful character actor. I also didn’t mention the kid working at the grocery store or Marlowe subsequently seeing him in jail. Good stuff. There’s a lot of that. I also didn’t mention dogs. But there was the one white dog in the middle of the road that Marlowe calls “Asta”. He’s got a cigarette in his mouth so it sounds like Astor as if it was a rich person or an Iranian prophet but it’s definitely Asta the dog from The Thin Man. The director and screenwriter(s) definitely know about Film Noir and detective movies and books and they consciously chose to not quite do that. The Thin Man movie slaps, though. Super good.
I think that Roger Wade was an insert for Chandler but also a reference to Hammett. I organically compared Hammett to Hemingway in that last episode but it turns out that was far from an original thought. He’s a tall (6’5″ or 195-196cm) bearded man who is wildly alcoholic which is a dead ringer for Hemingway. In Cuba tall men are referred to as a “Hemingway”. Or were. Chandler, probably, had a bit of an inferiority complex with regards to Hammett who was the originator–the creator from which Chandler modeled his work. But Chandler also probably used that character as an insert himself–being problematically alcoholic.
David Carradine has a cameo that focuses on the prison industrial complex and the impending “war on drugs”. That was wild.
The car that Marlowe drives in this movie was Elliott Gould’s actual car at the time. It was a 1948 Lincoln Continental. Really wild. I maintain that cars got cool in the 50’s. If you come at be with “but uughghgugh t-buckets and ’32 fords” yeah those didn’t look like how we think they look like now until the late 40’s and early 50’s when the GIs came back from military service and had fabrication and mechanical experience and few outlets to get that programming out. But that’s when hot rods really took flight. And then the Tri-5’s and the Barracuda came out. It’s a whole cascade of cool cars around that time. Apropos of nothing, F1 is really cool. If you haven’t ever really been into it you can check out F1: Drive to Survive on Netflix. It’ll bring you in and explain things along with giving you the stories. Expecto Petronas.
Lennox calls Marlowe a “born loser”. Lennox and Marlowe weren’t friends quite like that in the book–it was more chill and Marlowe was more taking on a charity case as well as sticking to his principles and finding another misfit to get along with. When I said it was a reverse The Great Gatsby I meant it. Just Lennox wasn’t the Gatsby. Elieen Wade was the Gatsby and she was murderous. It felt stupid after a while but the writing was compelling.
Vilmos Zsigmond is a gangster. The free-roaming camera of this movie was wonderful. I didn’t talk about it enough and I didn’t inspect this enough but I was short on time and energy. Being sick sucks, team. It really does.
I know there were some flubs and yeah, there’s not images in this one. Sorry team. I just didn’t have the fuel for it. I’ll see you sometime next year. I’m still on twitter @coolmarkd feel free to tweet @ me. I don’t think DMs are on because I’m not really up for receiving communications from strangers that they wouldn’t be OK with saying publicly.