Film Directors with Their Shirts Off and Trousers Down


“George Raft never took his clothes off.”

Mark Rydell (far right) strips in Robert Altman’s THE LONG GOODBYE, doing pre-emptive penance to Elliott Gould (second right) for directing him in HARRY AND WALTER GO TO NEW YORK.

It’s worth watching young Arnie Schwartzenegger (second left, with bum-fluff moustache) in this scene — while the other thugs register surprise and reluctance at being ordered to denude by their boss, Ahnoldt can’t wait — he’s eager to go, unbuttoning almost before the words are out of Rydell’s mouth — it’s what he took the job for in the first place. Be a gangster’s bodyguard and expose your pecs.

I’m just reading some early Raymond Chandler stories (and Fiona is reading Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest — it’s a hardboiled household). I really feel that Pearls are a Nuisance ought to be a Major Motion Picture, possibly by the Coen Brothers, possibly starring Armie Hammer. There’s some comic dialogue in there worthy of Sturges.

“Drunk, Walter?” he boomed. “Did I hear you say drunk? An Eichelberger drunk? Listen, son. We ain’t got a lot of time now. It would take maybe three months. Some day when you got three months and maybe five thousand gallons of whiskey and a funnel, I would be glad to take my own time and show you what an Eichelberger looks like when drunk. You wouldn’t believe it. Son, there wouldn’t be nothing of this town but a few sprung girders and a lot of busted bricks, in the middle of which–Geez, I’ll get talking English myself if I hang around you much longer–in the middle of which, peaceful, with no human life nearer than maybe fifty miles. Henry Eichelberger will be on his back smiling at the sun. Drunk, Walter. Not stinking drunk, not even country-club drunk. But you could use the word drunk and I wouldn’t take no offense.”

Georgie takes a bath (1)

Via La Faustin — an image which gives the lie to Gould’s too-hasty statement — George Raft with his clothes off. Source?


20 Responses to “Film Directors with Their Shirts Off and Trousers Down”

  1. La Faustin Says:

    As George Raft would probably not have said: Au contraire! I’ve sent you an image — any way you could add it to this comment?
    This is not to mention his offscreen activities — see the Yablonsky bio.

  2. I was waiting for you to get around to this one. Altman gives us TWO directors with their shirts offf — though I doub he suspected Arnold would ever get behind a camera a (if only to stoke his vanity.)
    This is my favorite Altman.

  3. It’s certainly high on my list of Altmen, along with California Split, McCabe and Mrs Miller, and a few others.

    Raft image added!

  4. David Boxwell Says:

    I think it’s Archie Mayo’s NIGHT AFTER NIGHT (Paramount-32).

  5. La Faustin Says:

    No, it’s an Ivory Soap ad.

    Right you are, David Boxwell! I love that movie.

  6. Must watch it — it might be a good treatment for the Irish lurgi infesting my system. I take comfort from the fact that I must have infected everybody on that RyanAir flight. The woman next to me was reading Eat Pray Love — positively begging for a virulent disease.

  7. And speaking of reading. . .

  8. “And did you have to go through that tedious charade, sexual intercourse?”

  9. Arnold’s pecs act better than he does, though that’s not saying much.

  10. He’s very good at killer cyborgs, though not as good as Yul.

  11. By some strange coincidence I also just re-read RED HARVEST and THE LONG GOODBYE. Well, I had just re-watched the Altman movie, for one thing. Didn’t like it when I saw it in college thirty years ago, and I still don’t like it. Despite a screenplay by Leigh Brackett, whom I adore. Can’t imagine how she got involved in that piss-take of a project, but she claimed to have the greatest admiration for Altman. Weird old world.(I did like the end of Altman’s movie, so there’s that.)

  12. I think it’s more than a piss-take — it views Marlowe as an anachronism, but doesn’t suggest that his outdated values are necessarily wrong. Brackett did say she thought Gould was too soft to play PM, but that he did the best he could.

  13. Casting Gould as Marlowe seems like part of the piss-take to me, but I probably just don’t get what Altman’s up to. Anyway, I like his protege, Alan Rudolph, a lot better, but (or because) he’s not so acidic.

  14. Rudolph is sweet-hearted, and while Altman has his affectionate side, he’s certainly much more likely to judge his characters — and his audience — harshly.

  15. I found over the years that The Long Goodbye is a very polarizing film. I read the book 30 years ago, and didn’t find the novel as sharp as other Chandlers. I always thought the film caught the seedier ’70s Los Angeles better than other films (I visited the city once during that era), and the anachronistic ’40s private detective didn’t fit the ’70s, so Altman treated it satirically.

    That said, I still prefer California Split. It doesn’t romanticize gambling as some other films do, and I know people who IRL could be those characters.

  16. I wonder if this Film Directors series is leading up to Fox and his Friends Full Frontal Fassbinder.

  17. Now THERE’S a thought!

  18. It’s a possibility. I have four others already lined up, though they’re not full-frontal.

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