2/2/10

The Long Goodbye

Year Released: 1973
Director: Robert Altman
Starring: Elliott Gould, Sterling Hayden, Nina Van Pallandt

Tarzan on a Big Red Scooter


Superman without superpowers. James Bond without suavity. Humphrey Bogart. Robert Montgomery. A solitary figure looking down on a neon Hollywood Boulevard through dramatic blinds. A cigarette drooping from a bruised lip and a blond bombshell standing in the doorway, harboring secrets. She means trouble, but that's okay, because trouble is Philip Marlowe's business. The rate's twenty-five bucks a day, plus expenses, and he prefers an itemized accounting, so you know exactly how much hero you get for your buck at the end of the week. Fortunately, heroism comes cheap, because Philip Marlowe practically gives it away. There's a catch, though. Halfway through the story, he'll probably stop caring who hired him in the first place and start following his own moral path, because his heart is too golden not to protect the meek or save the girl. He's a bona fide, good ol' American dogooder, and fortunately for film studio costume departments, there are no pesky red and blue tights required.

Like Superman and James Bond, Raymond Chandler's not-so-super-hero is a pop culture icon. Marlowe is the most famous literary figure from early twentieth-century crime fiction, but most memorably, Chandler's P.I. is... well... Humphrey Bogart, detective cinema, the mascot for B-budget crime flicks, and inseparable in concept from the silver screen of the golden era of Hollywood cinema. United Artists should have known what they were getting into when David Picker convinced Robert Altman to direct the newest Chandler adaptation; they placed a sacred Hollywood staple into the hands of the most spitefully revisionist director in film history. Of course 1973's The Long Goodbye came out of the editing room dyed red with satire. Of course the film opens with Hooray for Hollywood blasting tinnily over the opening credits, every note inundated with sticky, bittersweet irony. Of course the film's release emblazoned a hostile slew of critics screaming, "That's not Raymond Chandler! That's not Philip Marlowe!"

By reputation, Robert Altman was an asshole. Everything he touched turned into a producer's nightmare. He reneged on promises, developed hatred for his own actors and lorded over his films with a directorial vision that was one quarter genius and three quarters spite. I am a big fan of his work, but it is completely believable to me that Altman would intentionally disrespect Raymond Chandler to make his own movie. He didn't, though, despite his intentions, and therein lies the real irony of The Long Goodbye. Altman did everything he could to avoid making The Big Sleep 2, and yet to this day the Raymond Chandler estate considers The Long Goodbye one of the most accurate representations of Marlowe in film. Those critics crying sacrilege in 1973 were half wrong, because they weren't Raymond Chandler fans. They were Bogey fans with a pounding Hollywood hangover, and what they meant to say was, "That's not Humphrey Bogart!"

And they were right. Altman's choice to play Philip Marlowe was not Bogey, Robert Montgomery or even Dick Powell. Elliott Gould was a character actor with a skillset better suited for supporting roles. He didn't have the shoulders. He didn't have the cool. Quite frankly, he wasn't manly enough to be America's hero, and if trouble was his business, he wouldn't even be able to handle the tax returns. In other words, revisionist Altman knew exactly who he was casting, and he made sure that his un-Bogart was guaranteed in his contract. Even Picker wanted Elliott Gould to play Marlowe so badly that he turned down the red hot Peter Bogdanovich because The Last Picture Show director wanted Robert Mitchum for the role. The quintessential tough guy private detective became the mumbling, slouching, quintessential seventies anti-hero, and it worked. Elliott Gould's Philip Marlowe was a nervous creature, more apt to shrug than shoot, but even though he may not have been as hard-boiled as the early film versions, Gould's Marlowe was still Superman without the superpowers and James Bond without the suavity - the hero without the means - and that was Chandler's thing.

Gould, who even shared the exact same height, weight and age as Chandler's hero, nailed the role. Leigh Brackett, who co-screenwrote The Big Sleep with William Faulkner, applied her familiarity with Chandler's writing to a conceptually loyal script. Even Robert Altman insisted his cast all read Raymond Chandler Speaking. The Long Goodbye portrayed Chandler's Marlowe loyally, and it did so for a specific reason. Marlowe's chivalrous nature and hard-boiled wit are things of fiction, and Altman knew that the best way to satire an unrealistic hero is to show him as exactly that. Elliott Gould is Philip Marlowe as if he were peeled right off the page of a Chandler novel and placed smack dab in the middle of reality. The dramatic blinds and dreamlike neon signs are replaced with lazy apartment complexes and twenty-four hour supermarkets, and the question is asked: what if Marlowe was one of us? Just a slob like one of us?

And what if he lived in the seventies? That's the premise to a film that Altman referred to as "Rip Van Marlowe." Philip Marlowe opens the film waking up from the big sleep after a twenty-seven year nap, wearing a crumpled, mismatched blue suit (without the seventies cut) and driving a vintage car (Gould's own 1948 Lincoln). He takes his messages at a bar, talks politely to everyone who isn't a cop, and floats through 1973 as a man removed from his time and void of context. Imagine if Sam Spade or any other forties-style private investigator suddenly found himself in Altman's time, interchanging dialogue with every element of drug-induced free love, hate-induced civil unrest and run-of-the-mill seventies self-interest. He'd be a little flustered, too, mumbling to himself and losing the tough, cool exterior. Maybe Gould's Marlowe isn't so different from Bogey's after all. He's just out of his element, trying to take time travel in stride with a cigarette drooping on a bruised lip.


    The private eye is admittedly an exaggeration - a fantasy.
    But at least he's an exaggeration of the possible.

    -Raymond Chandler

    In Hollywood, anything can happen at all.
    -Raymond Chandler

    [My film] will put Marlowe to rest for good.
    -Robert Altman

Over the course of Chandler's bibliography, the gallant scoundrel with a sharp wit transcended his pulp mold. Detective Marlowe became more of a literary figure, the proletarian anti-Holmes, whose street smarts and Americanesque distrust of power turned all of his encounters with Los Angeles's upper crust and criminal element into social commentary. Likewise, Chandler the writer evolved, too, and because so many imitations of his work had been published by the fifties, he was able to reflect upon his creation and in turn write metacritically about his hero. In 1953's The Long Goodbye, Mendy calls Marlowe "Tarzan on a big red scooter," because Chandler knew: Marlowe was a relic trying to blend into a new era, and sticking out like a sore thumb. He was Don Quixote without the mental disorder, wearing a suit and tie just like everyone else, except the chilvary shined through and it was about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food (otherwise known as the best line from Farewell, My Lovely). In other words, Marlowe's that guy wearing almost nothing, swinging from tree to tree, who is so earnestly good in his heart that saving the day/Jane is the only thing he really knows how to do. And he's sitting on a big red scooter, looking like a fool.

This is an exaggeration, of course. The questionable realities of Marlowe's character are a lot more inconspicuous than Tarzan or Moose Malloy. Like Chandler said, he's an exaggeration of the possible. In books his not-so-impossible dream barely registers as romantic, and in films like The Big Sleep and Murder, My Sweet, Philip Marlowe and friends look about as real as anyone else in the movies. In the world of forties cinema, in the facades and pleasantvilles of America, where even the dark alleys of Los Angeles are controlled fantasy, Marlowe fits right in. In the world of seventies cinema, however, especially films made in the naturalist style, Marlowe looks less and less possible, even if it's only by a subtle margin. It's that subtle difference between forties and seventies cinema that Altman really focuses on with his Rip Van Marlowe-inspired satire, using every chance he can find to shout: Look how silly Marlowe is! Look how silly Hollywood was! Altman wants to put the idea of Marlowe to rest for good, to show everyone that he's a mythical creature, a concept of pure make-believe that simply cannot exist outside of old black and white movies. Likewise, The Long Goodbye's Marlowe comes off as a fool as he floats through the seventies, laughing nervously whenever he encounters something unfamiliar, mumbling "It's okay with me" like little prayers to fend off reality.

Gould's Marlowe seems to be aware of his own dilemma, and embarrassed, like everyone is watching him drive around on a big red scooter, wearing a loin cloth. The film becomes a tug-of-war between the hero of pulpdom and a director trying to tear him down, and the conflict is reflected in the final seconds of the film, as Marlowe approaches his vanishing point. As he walks farther and farther into the distance, "Hooray for Hollywood" returns and ironically hits home Altman's thesis as Marlowe seems to phase out of the seventies and back into that office with the dramatic blinds, neon lights and swanky jazz. The winner, however, is ambiguous, because Marlowe dances to his bitter anthem. He dances upon his grave, because maybe Marlowe wasn't kidding with all those it's-okay-with-mes. As Don Quixote believed, some lies are worth choosing over reality. That was okay with Chandler. And it's definitely okay with me.

The Long Goodbye | It's More Than Okay With Me | 9.5/10


I love The Long Goodbye for many reasons, but I think the film's most significant asset is simply that it was made, that to this day Altman directed the one and only film adaptation of Raymond Chandler's 1953 novel (Climax! had a one-hour television version with Dick Powell). Chandler isn't Cervantes, or Dostoevsky, but The Long Goodbye is his Don Quixote, his The Idiot. It's the only Chandler novel that I would ever consider to be literature, and the only one that I would ever recommend. That The Long Goodbye was the first Marlowe novel that was not cannibalized from previously published pulp stories allowed Chandler to write something new, from scratch. In a year when his wife was dying, when he no longer lived in Los Angeles, Chandler turned inward. He wrote more contemplatively and more autobiographically. He allowed Marlowe to grow as a person and not just pinball from goon to dame, solving cases. He dealt with Marlowe as a complex figure, a man with a moral code, and what happens when that code is compromised.

And he dealt with something entirely new in the fantastical world of Philip Marlowe: friendship. I'm not talking about the newspaper guy in Farewell, My Lovely, the elevator man in Murder, My Sweet, the bartender in The Long Goodbye, or any other of Marlowe's various superficial relationships. I'm talking about the kind of full on friendship between two guys that makes literary critics go horny for the term homoeroticism. In The Long Goodbye, Chandler introduces the character Terry Lennox, an accidental acquaintance of Marlowe's with whom Marlowe shares many a gimlet and develops real trust. Lennox is Marlowe's first friend and his presence in the storyline complicates the usual Chandleresque storyline. How can Marlowe simply do the right thing, when doing the right thing might compromise his bond with the one and only person he trusts? In other words, for the first time in the world of Marlowe, it's complicated, and I'm not talking about the femme fatale's web of lies.

Altman and Brackett take Chandler's idea of "Marlowe in trust" and really thrust a magnifying glass over it, especially the one-sidedness of Marlowe's friendships. Even his cat leaves him when the food runs out, and after all that trouble in the middle of the night! - a perfect precursor to Terry Lennox's arrival. As the ever-critical Mendy Menendez tells Marlowe in the novel, "You're cheap all over. You pal around with a guy, eat a few drinks, talk a few gags, slip him a little dough when he's strapped, and you're sold out to him." Marlowe has a one-track mind in regards to lofty terms like chivalry, and friendship is no different. Terry Lennox knows that, and in both film and novel, he uses Marlowe's misplaced faith in what-friends-are to get what he wants. In the film, Lennox shows up on Marlowe's door in the middle of the night, with blood on his hands, and asks Marlowe to drive him to Mexico. Marlowe consents, of course, because, as Lennox says at the end of the film, "That's what friends are for." Then Marlowe sits in prison for three days because he won't rat on a friend, and you have to wonder, why does Lennox deserve Marlowe's lofty friendship? As the cops ask, "How come you know so little about your friend, Marlowe?" Marlowe doesn't think it matters, because he's known his friend "for a very long time," and he's sold out to him. That's it. Does that dictate friendship? For some people, maybe. For Tarzan on a big red scooter, definitely.

Terry Lennox used Marlowe's screwed up idea of friendship to make him an accessory after the fact, to get away with murdering his own wife. He used Marlowe, that guy in the metaphorical blue and red tights, that guy with the Don Quixote complex, to brutally end the life of a poor damsel in distress. He turned the hero of the Los Angeles meek into that which he stands against in dependable, comic-book consistency, a fact which seems very easy to forget at the end of Raymond Chandler's novel, when Marlowe runs into this man again, shares another gimlet with him, and lets him go after he committed the worst possible crime against Marlowe's character. Then again, that ending is exactly what makes Chandler's novel his version of Don Quixote. In that moment, when he must choose to abandon either his ideas of friendship and loyalty or his ideas of justice and morality, the fantasy of the private investigator crumbles, leaving a broken man and one of Chandler's greatest passages:
    ...You bought a lot of me, Terry. For a smile and a nod and a wave
    of the hand and a few quiet drinks in a quiet bar here and there.
    It was nice while it lasted. So long, amigo. I won't say goodbye.
    I said it to you when it meant something. I said it when it was sad,
    and lonely, and final.

    -Philip Marlowe

Raymond Chandler knew that "to say goodbye is to die a little," and you really feel that at the end of the novel, but I think Leigh Brackett had a problem with the ending. It's just too... limp. The scene in the novel is almost poetic, but it feels like it ought to be climactic, like a lit fuse has just reached the dynamite. Simply not forgiving Terry Lennox over a congenial gimlet might make sparks in a book, but not on the big screen.


Loved: The Ending

Haruki Murakami is a big fan of Raymond Chandler's, and especially of The Long Goodbye, a fact that is evident to anyone who has read The Wild Sheep Chase, or anyone who knows that Murakami translated The Long Goodbye to Japanese himself. It's also clear that Murakami is a big fan of Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye, which seems clear to me in the beginning of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, when a cat goes missing ala Gould's El Gato. I find it fitting that Murakami, in Kafka on the Shore, wrote that “...if a pistol appears in a story, eventually it's got to be fired," because the followup question seems to be asked in Altman's film: if no gun ever appears in a story, can you ever expect one to be fired?

The same goes for violence in general. When the gangster Marty Augustine appears in the story with his multi-cultural merry men, the audience has seen nothing in the film but goofy, Hollywood-esque interchanges of witty dialogue. That's why the coke bottle incident, when Marty suddenly smashes an innocent girl's face, is so damn surprising, why even Marty's henchmen all gawk in surprise in the background. Everybody is shocked, stolen from the Hollywood fantasy, and told that shit just got real. Of course, it doesn't. The film goes right back into being goofy, until the end, when we're surprised all over again, when, in a film where no gun is ever revealed, where the only death is a suicidal drowning, where the one person who doesn't seem to care about anything says, "Yah, nobody cares but me," suddenly pulls out a gun and shoots his only friend in the world. (Even the cat left him.)

The ending, which is loosely ripped off from The Third Man, surprises you because the entire film is designed for you not to see it coming. Altman knew what he had in the ending (he made sure Leigh Brackett's ending was guaranteed in his contract, too), and he used it to the fullest extent of the laws of fiction. You think that Marlowe is following up on a detective hunch, or he's just in Mexico to learn more, but really he'd solved the case long before and he's going to see his friend with every intent to kill him. Altman intended to put Marlowe to rest for good and Leigh Brackett's ending was his finishing move. He believed that Marlowe's shooting of Lennox was completely outside of his character, that Chandler's hero could never shoot in cold blood, or throw away his loyalty to a friend even in the face of betrayal. If you agree with Altman, that's your perogative. It's a drastic ending, and one that polarizes audiences of all intelligences.

I, however, think Altman was dead wrong, and that's why I love this ending so damn much. The key detail here is that it wasn't Altman's ending; it was Leigh Brackett's. Brackett, who already wrote one Chandler screenplay, was a science fiction writer with her own solar system, but she also wrote hard-boiled stories in the style of Chandler (with such amazing titles as "No Good from a Corpse"). Leigh Brackett may have had some maverick ideas regarding Chandler's hero, but they weren't misinformed ideas. She knew Chandler, and she knew Marlowe. Despite Altman's liberties with her script, Brackett said that The Long Goodbye honored her screenplay, that it kept her ideas on Marlowe intact. In other words, she believed that Philip Marlowe would shoot Terry Lennox, that it is completely inside his character. And I agree.

1999's The World is Not Enough is not a good film, and maybe bringing it up now has just discredited my opinion completely, but I feel like the Bond-Marlowe comparison is apropos in this case (which it usually is, and if you don't agree with that, you should listen to Fleming and Chandler discuss the differences and similarities of their heroes at the end of this audio book). I like The World is Not Enough solely because of one scene with Bond and Elektra King, and not only because Sophie Marceau looks like Sophie Marceau. Elektra tells Bond, who is holding a gun to her, that he can never kill in cold blood, as if she were some metacritic commenting on his character, and 007, in a moment of exaggerated inner turmoil... kills her in cold blood.

My response: Of course James Bond would kill in cold blood. He's a spy with a licence to kill. The character isn't limited to pulp fiction anymore. All of these film adaptations and pop culture commentaries have released characters like Bond and Marlowe from their authors. As Elliott Gould said about Marlowe, "The guy has a life whether there's a book or not," something to which even Chandler would attest. Of course Marlowe would shoot Lennox. Terry was a murderer who killed an innocent woman and he showed absolutely no remorse when confronted. Marlowe was sworn to protect people like Sylvia Lennox and Terry put him in a situation where he had to clean up after the mess that was his moral code. Besides, the cops thought he was dead. Marlowe was the only person in the world who could punish him, he had an obligation to do so, and he could do so without consequences, or as Donald Sutherland hilariously said in monotone when he first saw the film's finale: "Oh, I see. It's all about morality."

In my opinion, the ending of Altman's film is Marlowe's last stand, his last comment to the world, the ultimate expression of his beliefs. It feels to me like Philip Marlowe does it in spite of Altman, as if Brackett's creation became sentient and resiliently shoved a middle finger at the camera, at Altman. Only then does he accept his fate and disappear into fictional history, dancing away from the camera victoriously, laughing at a new Hollywood that thought he was less than he was. As he disappears from the screen, I can imagine Philip Marlowe singing cheerfully, "It's okay with me."


Loved: Continued...
  • Despite his take on the ending, I love Robert Altman, and the prospect of my beloved, revisionist Altman directing a PI film would win me over every time. Of course Altman made a detective film with (almost) no guns, no shootouts, no sex and no chase scenes besides one absurd scene when Elliott Gould tries to run down a car with a cigarette in his mouth. Of course the film's pace is casual and organic instead of the usual twisty and turny thrill ride. I love detective films, but I love genre play, too.

  • Elliott Gould is not the only make-believe character on a big red scooter in the film. Harry, the George Raft wannabe, is also a figure stolen directly from forties cinema and thrown into Altman's naturalist film. Just like Marlowe, it doesn't work, or as Marlowe himself says, he'll never make a first-rate hood. Just like the impressionist who works security at the Malibu Colony, these silver screen caricatures are nothing more than a joke. Even Asta is merely a stray dog, blocking a car.

  • Nina Foch once said to Gould, "That picture would have been more successful if you had been quiet," but I like Elliott Gould's incessant mumbling to himself and his exaggerated chain smoking (Gould doesn't smoke, which is pretty obvious in the movie). These are criticisms of noir films, of the Hollywood voiceover, but they also work in much the same way that Rocky's shadowboxing or Hawkeye's whistle work in Rocky and M*A*S*H. It gives the impression that Gould is always moving, like he's tap dancing through the film (which Gould can do).

  • Likewise, the camera never stops moving or zooming. Not once. Actors have no marks, which drove Sterling Hayden crazy at first, and photographer Vilmos Zsigmond lets the picture focus organically, which gives the film an impression of voyeurism. The loose, non-stop motion, which has recently added validity to such melodramas as Battlestar Galactica and Friday Night Lights, adds a sense of realism to the film. It helps that the whole film is also shot on location, including Altman's own home in the Malibu Colony.

  • The song "The Long Goodbye" by Johnny Williams, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer (who, of course, also wrote "Hooray for Hollywood"), makes up almost the entire soundtrack. Altman utlizes the same song in many different forms all throughout the film, ranging from a Mexican funeral march to swinging jazz to a doorbell. Just listening to the way music works in the film makes it worth a watch, which is why it is my favorite film soundtrack not called Elevator to the Gallows.


Loathed
  • The general sound mixing, however, I feel hurts the film. Altman's negligence to ensure that the audience can hear the film might have worked in M*A*S*H, but it dragged down The Long Goodbye's watchability, and hurt his career almost everywhere else. It made an enemy out of Warren Beatty after McCabe and Mrs. Miller, and it stayed in the negative column of most critics' opinions of Altman until he streamlined his style in films such as Short Cuts.

  • When The Long Goodbye first came out, many critics loved Nina Van Pallandt, and sometimes hers was the only performance they liked. I, on the other hand, feel like Nina is a weak link in an otherwise great cast. Altman said she was Chandler's blonde, but after seeing Faye Dunaway in Chinatown, you have to wonder...

  • Altman's episodic style could have used some tidying up. This is another M*A*S*H hangover, I think. Later in his career, Altman was able to use his episodic style to keep a tighter plot, ala Gosford Park, but in 1973, the pace got a little messy and unfocused. Some important scenes are too short and some transition scenes are too long. Also, come on Bob, what happened to the cat?



The Otto Preminger Award
for cinematic advancement:
The Altman-Zsigmond Effect

They went overboard. They really did. Gliding zooms and film flashing had been done before The Long Goodbye, but they went all the way. By doing so, they paved the way for other films to loosen up and play with camera work more, but there were consequences. High-definition would add nothing to The Long Goodbye, because there are no great shots. There's no eye candy, no visual wow moments. Still, I have to defend Zsigmond, and not just because of the restless voyeurism effect mentioned in the Loved section. His pastel, old postcard feel is different from noir films, but it still feels very noirish, and I think that is a great effect.

The Arnold Strong Award
for supporting actor:
Sterling Hayden

Altman wanted Dan Blocker for the role, but Blocker died just before filming. Altman almost quit the gig, but then Sterling Hayden stepped in. Sterling freakin' Hayden. Kubrik's star. After he got a hang of the no marks thing, he came to Vilmos Zsigmond and personally thanked him for opening him up as an actor. Sure, maybe he was opened up a little too much. Maybe he was drunk and high in every single scene and went a little too crazy on camera, but I think Hayden absolutely killed it. In 1953, Hemingway was a joke in the media, and Chandler was sympathetic to the situation. Wade was Chandler's autobiographical portrait of what it's like when a writer is an emotional corpse. Sterling very memorably became that monster.

The Slim Pickens Award
for memorable mustache:
Arnold Strong

Only a performance as powerful as Hayden's could steal away the award from its namesake, but I have no problem giving Arnold Schwarzenegger this award instead, because the only thing more surprising than the film's ending is seeing Arnold in that mustache, flexing his pecs silently in a lineless role in 1973. It helps that he looks completely uncomfortable during his scene.

The Fanty & Mingo Award
for out-of-the-blue allusion:
Jim Bouton

Surprise-in-hindsight cameos are not in short supply in The Long Goodbye. Aside from the eminent Arnold Strong, it's amazing to see David Carradine playing Marlowe's talkative cellmate, raving madly about the crime of possession. However, I have to give this award to the portrayer of Terry Lennox, ex-Yankee baseball pitcher Jim Bouton, because he wrote Ball Four, one of the most important non-fiction books in baseball history, and that's just a weird detail.

The Hawkeye Pierce Award
for contemporary commentary:
"Ronald Reagan"

Gould understates a general theme of Americaness by wearing a tie covered in U.S. flags (that he humorously takes off before entering the ocean). By chance, in a moment of drunken improv after the ocean scene, in the only scene that Marlowe ever loses control, Gould mentions the governor of California, Ronald Reagan. The improv works beautifully in the fabric of the film, highlighting the topsy turvy differences between forties America and seventies America. And, of course, it carries an added bonus, because mentioning the California governor is ultimately even more ironic with Arnold in the film.

If you liked this film...

...watch Barfly; another of my favorite actors plays the black sheep wandering Los Angeles, dysfunctional in society and seeing through the bullshit.

M*A*S*H made Altman the golden boy of Hollywood. McCabe and Mrs. Miller took the shine away, and then he entered the purgatory that was United Artists, releasing two films that I loved and that no one else did (Thieves Like Us and The Long Goodbye) until he finally climbed back into the limelight with Nashville. I believe, though, that if The Long Goodbye were the kind of film that garnered box office success, I wouldn't like it as much, just as I believe that I love The Long Goodbye's ending that much more because it is polarizing. I'm not alone in loving the movie, though, because The Long Goodbye, as a cult film, is very much loved. Count among the admirers such big names as Alfred Hitchcock and the Coen Brothers. Then add an internet following that has found it placed at #1 in Peter and Rob's most underrated movies list, and near the hearts of film student hipsters like Accelerated Decrepitude and another blog called It's Okay With Me.

And, of course, me. Of course me. I love Altman. I love Gould. I love Marlowe. I was the tall, skinny kid in the film library in college, wearing vest and fedora, watching Split Second by myself, because, duh, Dick Powell directed it and Dick Powell played Philip Marlowe in Murder, My Sweet. Yah, so what. It's okay with me.