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Sleuth (1972)

PG | | Mystery, Thriller | 12 July 1973 (UK)
A man who loves games and theater invites his wife's lover to meet him, setting up a battle of wits with potentially deadly results.


(play), (screenplay)

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Alec Cawthorne ...
John Matthews ...
Detective Sergeant Tarrant
Eve Channing ...
Marguerite Wyke
Teddy Martin ...
Police Constable Higgs


Andrew Wyke is a famous and successful author of detective novels. Milo Tindle comes to him with a strange request - that Mr Wyke divorce his wife so that Tindle can marry her. Mr Wyke is not particularly perturbed by this - he and his wife have drifted apart and he is having an affair with another woman anyway - but uses the meeting and Mr Tindle's request as a chance to play a game, a game with potentially deadly consequences. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Who was the player? Who was the pawn? In this deadly game . . . See more »


Mystery | Thriller


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

12 July 1973 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Juego mortal  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


(at around 1h 12 mins) The photograph raised up the wall to replace the one shot by Andrew is of Agatha Christie. See more »


Milo's arm changes position when Andrew is trying to figure out the Italian clue. See more »


Andrew Wyke: On the morning of his execution, King Charles the First put on two shirts. 'If I tremble with the cold,' he said, 'my enemies will say it was from fear. I will not expose myself to such reproaches.' We must also attempt this Anglo-Saxon dignity as you mount the steps to the scaffold.
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Featured in The 51st Annual Academy Awards (1979) See more »


Anything goes
Words and music by Cole Porter
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A brilliantly twisty mystery.
5 August 2001 | by See all my reviews

My parents saw "Sleuth" on Broadway, during its original run, just a year or so before this film was released. Watching the movie I can see how it would make a good play, but by the same token, it is not a translation that feels slow, or wordy, or unsuited to the screen. The adaptation is excellent, without "opening up" the play too much. If you're a fan of mysteries, you'll be intrigued by the performances and the script. Joseph Mankiewicz's direction isn't terribly flashy, but subtle and well-done.

Laurence Olivier stars as Andrew Wyke, a famous mystery novel writer. Milo Tindle (Michael Cane), comes to visit him one weekend; asking for Andrew's wife's hand in marriage. But things aren't as simple as they first appear. Andrew wants something in return from Milo. And then again, maybe he doesn't.

The film unfolds slowly and patiently; you almost feel like the film's sentient and realizes how juicy its secrets are, holding on to them for as long as possible. There are numerous twists and surprises in the film; and even if you see one or two coming (as I did), don't expect to get it all right until it's over. It's best not to know at all what is going to happen, so I'll leave you with no more clues.

I enjoyed nearly every moment after the initial meeting between Milo and Andrew. Once Cane and Olivier really get going in their scenes, the film never looks back. They are exceptional in their performances, and deservedly earned nominations for Best Actor Oscars.

So who wins? Does anyone win? Is it a game with a winner at all? Oh just go rent it already!

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