The Outer Banks Voice – Stream On: A Pocket Full of Gould

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WHAT TO WATCH ON TV

Stream On: A pocket full of Gould

By Peter Hummers on March 31, 2022

When I recently watched Ray DonovanI was delighted to see a wonderful Elliott Gould among the cast as Ray’s eccentric employer. From a role in Norman Lear’s awkward 1968 farce The night they raided Minsky’s, Elliott’s star rose precipitously to the point where he became one of the faces of Hollywood’s burgeoning counterculture (and has been hard at work ever since). After co-starring in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (which remained relevant until 1973, when a sitcom was attempted, lasting two months) In 1969, Roger Ebert wrote that “Gould emerges, not so much a star, more a ‘personality’, as Severn Darden or Estelle Parsons. He is really funny.

His eye had a certain twinkle that easily saw him through Robert Altman’s 1970 satirical milestone MASH POTATOESwhich was set in Korea, but focused on America’s involvement in Viet Nam, after which he appeared on the cover of Time Magazine as a “star for a tense age”.

In 1973 he starred in Altman’s The long goodbyewhere his wry, slightly goofy air provided the key to Altman’s botched deconstruction of the 1953 copy of Raymond Chandler’s hard-boiled detective novel, and in 1976 he teamed up with Christopher Plummer to make The silent partnerabout the involuntary participation of a somewhat zany cashier in a bank robbery.

THE SILENT PARTNER

/Amazon /First video /Streaming /Trailer /1976 /R

The silent partner is a tense thriller, unlike Robert Altman’s self-indulgent The long goodbye (see below). Made in Canada by Daryl Duke (The thorny birds), The silent partner featured a lofty concept and an excellent supporting cast of Christopher Plummer, Susannah York and John Candy, who fit Gould like a glove: he played a somewhat nerdy bank teller, Miles Cullen, who realized before the fact that his bank would soon be robbed by his mall’s Santa department store (a very menacing Plummer). When the time came, Miles transferred the money from his day’s transactions to an old lunch box, but reported it stolen.

The thief hears the stolen money on the news, realizes the cashier must be at fault, and begins harassing him first on the phone and then in person. Miles, for his part, is energized by the interaction in his otherwise quiet life and enters into a daring mind game with the thief.

Here, Gould’s character works perfectly: his character is the kind of guy who’s thrilled to buy an exotic fish for his tank, but he’s also an accomplished gamer (which, in 1976, meant gambler). chess) and has some surprising tricks of his own for playing bank robber.

Roger Ebert, in his Chicago Sun-Times review, gave the film three and a half stars out of a possible four, calling it “a thriller that’s not only cleverly and well-acted and very scary, but also has the clockwork plot the boldest I’ve seen in a long time. Ebert described it as “worthy of Hitchcock”.


THE LONG GOODBYE

/Amazon /First video /Streaming /Trailer /1973 /R

“You can’t go home anymore.” (Thomas Wolfe)

I saw The long goodbye in the cinema in 1973, and for a film by Robert Altman (he was still adored during the 1970s MASH POTATOES), it made very little impression on me. Seeing him recently didn’t help.

We meet private detective Philip Marlowe (Gould) in his apartment as he talks to his cat and agrees to buy a brownie mix for his neighbor while delivering food to the cat. His casual air and zeitgeist recall the Coen brothers’ Mec. The great Lebowski (who was inspired by Chandler’s work), and those who remember Marlowe played by Dick Powell in Murder, my sweet (1944) or Humphrey Bogart in The big sleep (1946), were about to see how Robert Altman and Elliott Gould envisioned it, now in 1970s Hollywood.

Gould as Marlowe had his unruly mantle of curly hair, muttered to himself and others with an endless stream of unscripted banter, and dressed, anachronistically for the 1970s, in a suit and a dark tie and drove a 1940s convertible. It was as if Altman and his intended audience were sharing an unspecified joke about “straight people” (in the day, non-hippies). There are weird cases where Marlow unsuccessfully tries to convince his cat that the off-brand food he bought is indeed the cat’s favorite food, and Marlowe’s friend Terry Lennox (Jim Bouton, resembling Kato Kaelin) shows up to ask for a lift – to Tijuana, after which Marlowe is picked up by a couple of detectives and brought downtown when Lennox’s wife is found dead.

Altman was famous for a chaotic directing style that featured overlapping dialogue – he encouraged his actors to ad lib and today it shows. Leigh Brackett, who wrote Bogart’s screenplay The big sleep (along with William Faulkner and Jules Furthman), also wrote this screenplay, but it’s hard to say how much of it ended up onscreen. With Henry Gibson and a set-chewing Sterling Hayden (who was ready for just about anything) to help establish the film’s true counterculture, it’s a bit of a mess. I think Altman’s talent was to pull the facade off of cinema; that is, displaying on the screen everything that would have been better left on the floor of the editing room. But to what end? Best seen now as the missing link between Humphrey Bogart and Jeff Bridges’ “Dude” Lebowski.


(Pete Hummers participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to earn fees by linking Amazon.com and affiliate sites. It adds nothing to Amazon’s pricing.)

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