El Adios Largos

2013, 11:13 min, color, sound, 16 mm film on video, Spanish with English subtitles.

In 1973, Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye was both a critical and commercial flop. Set in a time transposed, neo-noir Los Angeles, Elliott Gould's bumbling performance as gumshoe Philip Marlowe left Raymond Chandler aficionados dismayed, as did the kinetic camera work of cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond and cheeky score by John Williams. The film flew out of theaters and was never shown on television. RCA released it on their short-lived, now unplayable Video Disc format in 1981, but it has not been seen again since. All known prints were destroyed after the film's dismal commercial release, and the original production elements were ruined by a leaky sprinkler system in a Culver City storage facility in 1983.

For years, The Long Goodbye was considered irrevocably lost, an all too important missing link from Altman's greatest period. Scholars and cinephiles were stunned when filmmaker and archivist Andrew Lampert serendipitously purchased a film print titled El Adios Largo [sic] from a collector through the mail. Closer examination revealed that this 16mm, black and white, cropped, Spanish-language dubbed copy was actually a reduction of Altman's 35mm, color, widescreen, English-language film. Knowing the importance of his discovery, Lampert and a team of volunteer preservationists including colorization expert Jody Blyer set out on a multi-year mission to preserve this unearthed gem using the most up-to-date digital technology. As you will see, Lampert has gone to extensive lengths to painstakingly reproduce the most authentic restoration possible given the considerable difference in materials.

A Dangerous Goodbye Credits: Directed by: Andrew Lampert. Edited by: Jody Blyer. Translated by: Angelina Fernandez.

Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye Credits (as shown onscreen): Starring: Elliott Gould. Also Starring: Nina van Pallandt; Sterling Hayden. Co-Starring: Mark Rydell; Henry Gibson. With: David Arkin; Warren Berlinger; Jo Ann Brody; Jim Bouton. Photographer by: Vilmos Zsigmond. Music by: John Williams. Executive Producer: Elliott Kastner. Screenplay by: Leigh Brackett. Produced by: Jerry Bick. Directed by: Robert Altman.