1) Jim Bouton, who plays Terry Lennox, is a better writer than actor. He was also a better baseball player.
2) That comment notwithstanding, none of the actors was awful. Altman let no one in the large cast dominate the movie, either, though Sterling Hayden gave a sometimes enjoyable over-the-top performance as the drunken writer Roger Wade.
3) But the real reason for this post is that, as much as the movie makes me want to reread Chandler's novel, it really makes me want to read some Leigh Brackett. You'll get no plot spoilers here, but every significant departure from the novel, with the possible exception of the movie's 1970s setting, seems due to the writing, and that was Brackett's job.
Brackett was familiar with the formidable task of adapting Chandler to the screen; Howard Hawks hired her to co-write his screen adaptation of The Big Sleep. She also wrote science fiction and westerns in addition to crime, and her screenplays include Hawks' Rio Bravo, Hatari!, Man's Favorite Sport, El Dorado and Rio Lobo — and The Empire Strikes Back.
OK, Brackettologists, where should I start my Leigh Brackett reading? (I've got a head start on the viewing already.)
© Peter Rozovsky 2010