film

Gumshoe | 1971 | Albert Finney, Billie Whitelaw

Stephen Frear’s first feature casts Albert Finney as a Liverpool bingo-caller who is happiest in a dream world scripted by Dashiell Hammett and starring Humphrey Bogart. Acting out his fantasy, he inadvertently stumbles across a real-life murder mystery. Cue a lot of opportunities for smug references to The Maltese Falcon and no small amount of gentle humour set against Liverpool’s distinctly un-Hollywood like backdrop.

This spoof works surprisingly well, which is mainly thanks to Finney’s likeable performance, Neville Smith’s script, which refuses to take on more than it can handle, and last but not least Frears, who doesn’t impose his style on the material.

cast
Albert Finney as Eddie Ginley
Billie Whitelaw as Ellen
Frank Finlay as William
Janice Rule as Mrs. Blankerscoon
Carolyn Seymour as Alison
Fulton Mackay as Straker
Oscar James as Azinge
Bill Dean as Tommy
Wendy Richard as Anne Scott
Maureen Lipman as Naomi
Neville Smith as Arthur
George Innes as Bookshop Proprietor
George Silver as De Fries
Bert King as Mal
Joe Kenyon as Joey
Ken Jones as Labour Exchange Clerk
Christopher Cunningham as Clifford
Harry Hutchinson as Kleptomaniac
Tom Kempinski as Psychiatrist

crew
Wardrobe Supervisor: Barbara Gillett
Director: Stephen Frears
Assistant Director: Ted Sturgis
Writer: Neville Smith

UK | 88 minutes | 1971

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