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Ginley (Albert Finney) is a nightclub bingo caller eager for a career change. On his thirty-first birthday, he advertises himself as a private eye in the newspaper. He dons a trench coat, and begins engaging others in rapid-fire dialogue as if he were Humphrey Bogart, or some Dashiell Hammett creation. Soon after, Ginley is phoned by a fat man, who gives him a package containing a gun, a photograph, and a large sum of money. Eventually Ginley is investigating a case involving smuggling of weapons as well as drugs. Ginley also finds himself at odds with his unsupportive brother, who offers Ginley payment to break off his investigations. Eventually Ginley learns of his brother-in-law's involvement in the crimes at hand. Ginley faces a series of daunting tasks: solving the crimes, bringing justice to the smugglers (and a murderer), as well as maintaining his safety and sanity in the process. Written by
The movie's producer Michael Medwin once said of this film: "Take a girl, a 'grand', and a gag. The gag being this character Eddie Ginley, who calls himself a 'gumshoe'. More or less as a lark, he puts an ad in an evening paper: 'Ginley's the name, Gumshoe's the game. Private investigations. No divorce work'. When someone takes him at his word, fantasy turns into reality, precipitating him into adventures he sometimes wishes he never started". See more »
"Exhilirated" was the way my father felt, as he emerged from the new Scala cinema in Kings Cross, after watching Albert Finney in Gumshoe sometime in the 1970s. He loves the writing of Raymond Chandler and Dashiel Hammett. The idea of a fellow aficionado so caught up in the idea of being Philip Marlowe that he places an advertisement in the local Liverpool paper offering his services in 1972 as though he were the fictional private eye in California of the 1940s and is then caught up in a case he doesn't understand but which he sets out to follow nonetheless as though he was the legendary hero of those mean streets completely captivated him. The fast talking repartee. The refusal to compromise. And the gun. It comes in at the beginning. It is undoubtedly real - in an England where there are no guns. Will Finney who carries it everywhere with him ever get to fire it? Prepare to enjoy a pacey, brilliantly written plot which refreshingly expects the audience to have the knowledge and intelligence to keep up and be swept away. Anyone who knows my father will know that this review was really written by him!
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