The Long Goodbye , directed by Robert Altman, is a 1973 American contemporary film noir adaptation of Raymond Chandler's 1953 novel of the same name. The screenplay is by Leigh Brackett, who was one of the writers on the screenplay of The Big Sleep in 1946. The Long Goodbye features Elliott Gould as Philip Marlowe, along with Sterling Hayden, Nina Van Pallandt, Jim Bouton and Mark Rydell. Unlike the novel, occurring in the 1950s, this cinematic version of The Long Goodbye occurs in the 1970s a 1970s mirror of the lifestyle and culture of Hollywood. In their genres, the novel and the film are "a study of a moral and decent man cast adrift in a selfish, self-obsessed society where lives can be thrown away without a backward glance ... and any notions of friendship and loyalty are meaningless."
Late one night, private investigator Philip Marlowe is visited by his close friend, Terry Lennox, who asks for a lift from Los Angeles to the CaliforniaMexico border at Tijuana. He obliges. On returning home, Marlowe is awaited by two police department detectives, who accuse Terry Lennox of having murdered his rich wife, Sylvia. Marlowe refuses to give them any information and they arrest him. After three days in jail, the police release him, because Terry Lennox committed suicide in Mexico. It is an open-and-shut case to the police and the press, but the "official facts" do not sit right with Marlowe. In the meantime, Marlowe is hired by Eileen Wade, the platinum-blonde trophy wife of Roger Wade, an alcoholic novelist with writers' block, whose macho, Hemingway-like persona is proving self-destructive. She asks that Marlowe find her husband, who, despite such regular alcoholic binges and days-long disappearances, now seems to be missing. In the course of investigating Mrs. Wade's missing-husband case visiting the sub-culture of "private" detoxification clinics for rich alcoholics and drug addicts Marlowe learns that the Wades "knew" the Lennoxes socially. He is increasingly convinced that there is more to Terry's suicide and the murder of Sylvia. Marlowe incurs the wrath of ruthless gangster Marty Augustine, who wants money returned that Lennox owed him. Augustine viciously injures his own girlfriend just to demonstrate what could happen to Marlowe, saying: "Her, I love. You, I don't even like." The return of Augustine's money in the nick of time frees Marlowe to take a second trip to Mexico, where he ultimately uncovers the truth of what happened between Terry and Sylvia Lennox.