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John Francis Dillon
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
Even though he co-wrote the screenplay for "The Big Sleep," William Faulkner reportedly admitted that he never understood the plot. It would have been fun to turn him loose on "Gumshoe" which by comparison makes "The Big Sleep" seem like an exercise in clarity. Albert Finney stars as a bingo caller and aspiring comic who advertises himself as a private eye. Lured to a hotel room, he's handed a parcel containing a thousand pounds, a gun and some photos. Why? He has no idea and neither does the audience. But it does lead to an encounter with a self-styled hit man and a dead body in his bedroom. Why? Again, no one has a clue. Eventually, the mystery centers on a drug-addicted fat man, Finney's obnoxious brother played by Frank Finlayson, shipments of arms to Africa and a weird book store which is managed either by a nymphet or a thug. Throughout the confusion, much to his credit, Finney acts as if it all makes sense. In fact, his performance is thoroughly entertaining. Which "Gumshoe" would be if it was only comprehensible.
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