MovieChat Forums > The Long Goodbye (1973) Discussion > The easy going Marlowe ... (Major Spoile...

The easy going Marlowe ... (Major Spoiler)


So Philip "that's ok with me" Marlowe pulls a gun, shoots his old friend in the stomach, and does a little dance as he walks off into the distance ... that all seemed totally out of character to me, he was tough but he wasn't a killer. Did I miss something?

reply

Well, I think when you go to jail for a friend whom you think has been wrongly accused of murdering his wife, and you take tons of *beep* about it, including beatings, and then you find out that the friend committed suicide, and you're heartbroken over it, and you work tirelessly to exonerate him posthumously, and then you find out that he did kill his wife and took off with all the money to live in Mexico, then you really have no choice but to shoot the bastard and do a little dance to celebrate.

reply

I have to disagree, the Marlowe we got to know wasn't a thug, he would be seriously bummed and very angry, but killing someone and then being happy about it? He seemed too layered for something like that. Perhaps I might have bought it without the little dance, I dunno.

reply

I think it's in character for him. It shows just how big of an epiphany he had and how much he had been betrayed. I have no problem with the ending. Some of the earlier portions of the film are not written as well as I would like them to be though. I do think the ending is a great improvement over the ending of the novel.

reply

What is wrong with the ending of the novel? Terry didn't kill his wife in the novel so it would have made no sense for Marlowe to shoot him.

reply

[deleted]

{nt}

reply

Flosive, I understand exactly what you're saying, but I don't agree that this was in any way detrimental to the film. While I found the shooting a surprise, for me the final scene simply reveals another aspect of Marlowe's character that was previously hidden from us. I consider the ending, and that aspect of surprise in particular, to be a big plus, one of the many aspects that brings me back for repeat viewings.

reply

I thought the ending was utterly fantastic.

We're never clued into the fact that this Marlowe is capable of murder, but we're never clued into the fact that he isn't.

His best friend betrayed him, lied to him, could have gotten him killed, murdered his own wife, arguably caused a suicide, nearly got him castrated, and indirectly caused a girl to be mutilated. On top of it, Lennox mocks Marlowe and calls him a loser.

I'm an anti-gun, anti-violence person, and in the "real world" what Marlowe did would be unacceptable. But in the world of this movie it worked.

This was an unexpected, shocking ending. But it is one that makes sense, and one that the film actually earns. I have all the respect in the world for Leigh Brackett and Robert Altman for doing it. This 41 year old film actually caused me to gasp, and I can't remember too many movies ever prompting that reaction from me.

reply

[deleted]

We're never clued into the fact that this Marlowe is capable of murder,


In his eyes it wasn't murder, but justice, since Lennox got away with murder and the police weren't going to do anything about it, not to mention his adultery and betrayal (making a fool out of Marlowe).

reply

I also feel like it was the only possibility of justice. If Marlowe had alerted US authorities, Lennox would have disappeared before you could say, "Extradition papers." He didn't have the cash to out-bribe Lennox with the local authorities.

The only way justice is served is if Marlowe plugs him.

You're also right to cite Marlowe's personal stakes. I got the impression (mostly through subtext) that Marlowe was angry that Lennox killed his wife - who was also Marlowe's friend. The personal level hurt him.

With that said, even with the liberties taken by the film, Marlowe's core character wouldn't have let him just kill somebody for personal reasons. Without needing to serve justice, I don't personally think Marlowe would have shot Lennox down.

reply

The ending is controversial with purists since it differed from the book, but worked for me for the reasons stated.

Even Data, who was programmed not to kill, was willing to (justifiably) kill at the end of "The Most Toys." I think Marlowe could too if given the 'right' circumstances.

reply

I haven't read the book. Other Marlowe, other Chandler, but not The Long Goodbye. It didn't bother me, but only under these very specific circumstances. I can see why it would bug long-time fans, though.

reply