The book's better.
I don't doubt it.Apparently Robert Altman insisted on the film's ending because it was 'out of character for Marlowe' - I don't even know where to begin with that. The screenwriter saying the story was full of cliches was possibly where alarm bells should have been ringing, too. I mean, you wouldn't expect a well-known and often-imitated/plagiarized story to have spawned cliches or anything, would you?It's an awful film that substitutes misanthropy for character.
The book was Chandler's last Marlowe story, I think, and it shows - well, it shows that Chandler was succumbing to an increased taste for alcohol. The book does ramble on, and isn't as tight as his earlier stuff.If you want a decent Marlowe film, though, check out The Big Sleep (the original 40's version, not the horrible Michael Winner one with Mitchum), which is verging on impenetrable at times in terms of plot, but it's still got more charm in it's opening few minutes than Altman's The Long Goodbye can muster through it's running time.
I'm actually on a detective fiction binge at the minute, and watched The Big Sleep again only the other day. Still no clue who killed the driver, but I assumed it was the flighty piece.