I’ve begun to read Sam Wasson’s “The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and The Last Years of Hollywood.” It’s the story of how four semi-legendary fellows in the prime of their lives — director Roman Polanski, Jack Nicholson, screenwriter Robert Towne, producer Robert Evans — lucked into one of the most charmed collaborations ever, aided by an especially fertile time in Hollywood. It produced one of the finest ‘70s films and arguably the greatest dark-underbelly-of-Los Angeles noir ever made.
I’ve only read three or four chapters, but man, it’s delicious. Wasson’s writing is so choice, so lean and clean, so wise and sharp and cultivated to a fare-thee-well. But I have to say that I’m having trouble remembering the title. Probably because it doesn’t sound right. What constitutes a “big” goodbye (or for that matter a small one)? Goodbyes can be sad, long, drawn-out, tearful, sudden, etc. But I’ve never once contemplated the idea of a big one.