8.1/10
38,744
144 user 50 critic

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.

Writers:

(play), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Alec Cawthorne ...
John Matthews ...
Eve Channing ...
Teddy Martin ...

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Storyline

Milo Tindle and Andrew Wyke have something in common, Andrew's wife. In an attempt to find a way out of this without costing Andrew a fortune in alimony, he suggests Milo pretend to rob his house and let him claim the insurance on the stolen jewelry. The problem is that they don't really like each other and each cannot avoid the zinger on the other. The plot has many shifts in which the advantage shifts between Milo and Andrew. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

12 July 1973 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

El detective  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Edgar Allan Poe award on Andrew Wyke's mantel is actually the one given to Anthony Shaffer for his play "Sleuth". Joseph L. Mankiewicz also won an Edgar for the movie 5 Fingers (1952). See more »

Goofs

When Wyke "shoots" Tindle in the head at contact range with what is supposed to be a blank cartridge, Tindle simply faints from fright. In fact, the hot gases, explosive particles, wadding and minuscule barrel debris from a blank-cartridge shot to the head at point-blank range would certainly have given Tindle quite a serious wound, possibly even a fatal one. See more »

Quotes

Milo Tindle: We are from different worlds, you and me, Andrew. In mine, there was no time for bright fancies and happy inventions, no stopping for tea. The only game we played was to survive, or go to the wall. If you didn't win, you just didn't finish. Loser, lose all. You probably don't understand that.
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Connections

Referenced in The Black Windmill (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

Anything goes
Words and music by Cole Porter
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A brilliantly twisty mystery.
5 August 2001 | by (Syracuse, NY) – 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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