Long Goodbye, The (UK - BD RB)
Marcus takes another technical approach to Elliot Gould coolfest...
When private eye Philip Marlowe (Elliott Gould) is visited by an old friend and helps him leave the country a series of events begins in which Marlowe is hired to search for a missing novelist (Sterling Hayden) and finds himself on the wrong side of vicious gangsters.
Robert Altman’s adaptation of the Raymond Chandler’s most personal novel takes his legendary detective and relocates him to the selfish, hedonistic culture of 1970s Hollywood, where he finds that his old-fashioned notions of honour and loyalty carry little weight.
*Once again I got this review disc a bit late, so in order to get the review up, I'll skip the film review and move straight on to the specs*
The image is kind of grubby looking, has a fair bit of grain and black levels often lose a lot of detail within the darker elements of the frame. There’s an obvious stylistic approach here that makes a lot of this intentional but even with the grubbiness there’s still a lot to like about the image. Edges are often sharp, generally lighting is natural looking and some of the colours in the film have a nice glow to them. Despite the odd noticeable upgrade, edges range from sharp, adding a bit of depth to flat adding no depth at all, which makes the entire presentation a bit up and down in terms of quality.
The film looks better outside under natural light and while everything still looks rather muted, the sharper edges provide more detail in trees, cars and general scenery. The warmer sunlit scenes actually feel way more HD than the scenes they are sitting between and the hazy, largely brown and beige interior scenes can often feel more DVD than Blu-ray.
Being a film that feels comfortable using shadows and brown and grey 70s interiors, the grubbiness of the image usually overpowers the good elements of the Blu-ray and often makes the HD upgrade hard to appreciate. There is noticeable HD goodness here but the presentation as a whole doesn't sell the image as an impressive HD overhaul really.
Gould's mumbled dialogue is of course a little low within the mono track but it still comes with a nice rumble to it. Other characters dialogue can often sound airy and disconnected from the visuals but everything is generally crisp and clean besides the limitations of the original track.
All in all, there’s not a lot to be said about the audio as it’s a fairly quiet film besides the odd tinkling of score underpinning scenes. When the score becomes the main driver of a scene it's crisp and pretty strong sounding and reaches out beyond the mono set up making it the stand out element of the low audio presentation.
'RIP Van Marlowe' (24:35 SD) is taken from the 2002 DVD and is a pretty good overview of the films creation and the history surrounding it.
'Robert Altman: Giggle and Give In' (56:32 SD) is taken from a 1996 Channel 4 Cinefile episode and covers the director's work with interviews with those who have worked with him.
The interviews section comes with chats with Elliot Gould, Vilmos Zsigmond, David Thompson, Tom Williams and Maxim Jakobowski. Some are on the film specifically and others are on Aktman in general but all are great and run for a fair bit. The Gould one is nearly an hour at a Q&A and is pretty fantastic stuff.
Last up is the Trailer and Radio Spots.
The Long Goodbye has Gould as an almost un-quantifiably cool central character. He literally floats through the events in the film and everything he does comes with a real air of charm. As he’s so unlike those around him you can’t really help but dig the vibe he brings to the character, which makes the film an easy watch as a whole.
The video has elements of goodness but it struggles to reach out beyond a DVD looking presentation. The audio is subtle but solid and really it’s only the strength of the film and the enjoyable extras that make this Blu-ray worth going for.
Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 16th December 2013
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono English, Isolated music and effects
Subtitles: English SDH
Extras: Making of, Documentary, Interviews, Trailer, Radio Spots
Easter Egg: No
Director: Robert Altman
Cast: Elliott Gould, Nina van Pallandt, Sterling Hayden
Genre: Crime, Film-Noir and Thriller
Length: 112 minutes
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