I reviewed the recent Arrow Films Blu-ray release of The Long Goodbye for SoFilm magazine, a disk that was already groaning under the weight of laurels before I got there.
Watching 1970s Robert Altman films in pristine remastered condition is a disconcerting experience if your main memory of them involves peering at a 35mm print through accumulated scratches and tears, and makes Elliott Gould’s dishevelled version of Philip Marlowe seem to be beaming in from some discarded corner of last month. But unease and alienation are back in business again, so Altman’s queasy, flexible films are due one of their cyclical rises in visibility, the better to spot that he always knew what he was talking about.
Arrow’s disk includes a new printed interview with Alan Rudolph, and the 1994 Channel Four documentary about Altman to which Rudolph contributes. At least as interesting a film maker as his mentor while being roughly ten times harder to find, any sighting of Alan Rudolph merits a laurel in my house, where The Moderns is available to be piped into every room like oxygen.
The review is in issue 3 of SoFilm, dated January 2014.