Tag: John Williams

June 22, 2009 / / Main Slate

The Long Goodbye – 1973 – Dir. Robert Altman

The late, great Robert Altman once again lends his distinctive, experimental style to what has come to be regarded as this definitive interpretation of Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye. It’s a winner!  Thirty-six this year, the film still plays as fresh and as contemporary as it did the year it was made.  The tale of a double murder and the unfortunate detective who gets dragged, kicking and screaming, into the thick of it is filled with a permeating cynicism, underhanded absurdities and shattering acts of violence.  Crime author Raymond Chandler, like his contemporaries Dashiell Hammett and Ross McDonald, created glamorous worlds of danger and intrigue where a usually hapless, albeit decent guy, finds himself way over his head in the soup. Here, Chandler’s anti-hero, Phillip Marlowe, is helmed by the underrated Elliott Gould. A huge star in the 60s and 70s (Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, M.A.S.H.), Gould brings a bizarrely effortless spin to a  role played in more traditional ways by everyone from Bogart to James Garner.  His dopey, befuddled schmuck look assists him ably in Altman’s clever conceit of placing a 1950s-style detective into a 1970s-style world.  It is as if this “Rip van Marlowe”, waking from a long slumber, has been transported via some private eye time tunnel twenty years into the future — a future he does not understand and is more than a little bit lost in.

December 10, 2008 / / Film Notes

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – 1989 – dir. Steven Spielberg

Sean Connery.

Harrison Ford is in this movie too, but Indy for the first time takes a backseat to a character that is even more engaging than he is: his father.

A public left scratching their heads at the significance of Shiva Lingas identified far more readily with the lure of the Holy Grail.  “Every man’s dream,” indeed.

Of course, the Holy Grail is a metaphor, and while it makes a physical appearance in this film, it stands for tempered wisdom, responsibility, and courage.  Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) says, “The search for the Grail is the search for the divine in all of us.”  Indiana Jones, as he walks the breath, word, and path of God, demonstrates his humility, his wisdom, and his bravery.  In short, Indiana must prove himself heroic to be worthy of the grail.  Certainly, so must we all.