Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Long Goodbye by Robert Altman (1973)

Notice how much time is devoted to developing Private Detective Philip Marlowe's (Elliott Gould) character in this opening sequence. Before the story begins, we get a sense of the protagonist--who he is, where he lives, and what his values are--all of which play an important part in setting up how he behaves throughout the film. The opening sequence (feeding the cat) foreshadows what's to come in the rest of the film. In fact, it plays out like a mini movie of the film: Marlowe goes to great lengths for his cat to whom he is devoted only to have the cat reject what he offers and run away.