Shamus (1973) Poster


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A Forties retread with Seventies violence...
Nazi_Fighter_David15 May 2005
In "Shamus," Burt Reynolds is a New York private eye afraid of big dogs and keeps a beautiful ginger cat…

He lives in a single room and sleeps on a pool table… He is quite capable of pushing a heroin addict's face into the garbage… He is certainly the 1970's version – almost in comic-strip – of the private investigator…

Reynolds lives cheaply, yet is hired to pursue a theft of diamonds; he is big and sexy, and the gorgeous Dyan Cannon is only too happy to dally with him at the drop of a clue; and he is apparently so tough that he can take all manner of beatings and emerge unscathed…

It is doubtful if he is the sort of man one would want to introduce to one's maiden aunt (the one with all the money), but he is certainly a character to fulfill all the audience's fantasies of violence, sex and thrills…
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Neat piece of moviemaking, worth preserving
manuel-pestalozzi30 June 2003
The story of Shamus seems to be loosely based on Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep. Burt Reynolds is in the Humphrey Bogart role, and he acquits himself well playing the Philip Marlowe of the chewing gum generation. He doesn't take himself too seriously, is less sarcastic than the forties version and there are quite a few good laughs to be had.

Shamus is remarkable for reflecting the period it was shot in. The directing and the cinematography are very good. I also liked the musical score. There are quite a few nicely stylized action scenes on real locations in dock areas. Dyan Cannon gives her usual solid performance and wears clothes today's fashion designers will be very interested in. Her character's apartment in a high rise on East River must be the "dernier cri" of 1973‘s interior decorating: prints of Vasarely and Miro, steel frame chairs with white leather cushions, lamps with huge chrome bowls etc. etc.

This movie, a bright child of its time, is well worth preserving.
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Action and thrills with Reynolds doing his take on 70's private eye cool.
hilton-66 December 2000
Shamus leaves you in no doubt who the star is right from the opening credits, for those who enjoy private eye movies this one is fun from beginning to end. Plenty of action and a murder to solve. The wardrobe dates a bit, but the action sequences are great and the musical score adds to the films "Cool." Who better to do 70's cool than Burt. Dyan Cannon is infectious and there's a good support cast along for the ride. It's a basic enough private eye plot with twists and turns, really banking on it's popular leads. Plenty of good lines and attitude. That said, John P. Ryan is full speed ahead as a corrupt Lt. Col.(unfortunately his characters name always makes me laugh.) Another quick note would be the stake out from the book shop, an update of the sequence from the Big sleep. The film is definitely worth a look. For Reynolds' fans it's a must.
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Burt Reynolds excels in this tough and exciting 70's private eye mystery action thriller
Woodyanders19 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The ever-cool Burt Reynolds gives a typically fine and credible performance as Shamus McCoy, a scruffy, but smooth and studly rugged womanizing private detective who's hired by flaky rich guy E.J. Hume (a pleasingly offbeat turn by Ron Weyand) to find a killer and retrieve a fortune in stolen diamonds. During his investigation McCoy makes the acquaintance of the lovely, vivacious Alexis (delightfully played by the gorgeously voluptuous Dyan Cannon) and uncovers a wild plot to sell surplus military weapons on the black market. Adroitly directed by Buzz ("The Hunter") Kulik, with a colorful and compelling, if rather muddled script by Barry Beckerman, a groovy score by Jerry Goldsmith, occasional exciting outbursts of raw rough'n'tumble fisticuffs, gritty, but lush cinematography by Victor J. Kemper, a funky New York City atmosphere, and a few charmingly quirky touches (McCoy sleeps on a pool table with a mattress on it and has a deep-seated dread of large dogs), "Shamus" makes for a hugely enjoyable and often thrilling private eye flick. Popping up in solid supporting parts are Larry Block as funny sports trivia freak informant Springy, Joe Santos as hard-nosed police Lieutenant Promuto, John P. Ryan as crazed fanatical army Colonel Hardcore, and John Glover in his film debut as a pathetic heroin addict. Excellent downbeat ending, too. Granted, we're not talking unjustly overlooked lost classic here, but this baby overall sizes up as a most entertaining vintage 70's Burt Reynolds star action vehicle.
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OK, But Not One Of Burt's More Memorable Films
ccthemovieman-123 July 2006
Although this was a fast-paced pretty interesting crime story, it was not memorable, which is probably one reason there are so few reviews here.

Burt Reynolds was perfect for '70s film world of film in which just about anything was shown or heard now that all the restrictions were removed. Burt, as he did in this film, would sleep with any girl that came along. In one scene, Reynolds enters a bookstore, sees the clerk has a "nice pair of boobs," so they have sex immediately right at the store. Only in the sleazy '70s of Hollywood! (Or in most men's dreams.)

Actually, Burt excelled in films that combined action and humor, which this has but not enough to make this one of more-remembered movies. However, it does have very little nudity despite the above paragraph and no blasphemy. The best part of the movies might be the final action scene which provides two laugh-out- loud scenes.
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Burt is the only redeeming virtue.
gridoon11 June 2001
A sarcastic, slightly self-parodying Burt Reynolds in his prime is the best thing this otherwise undistinguished actioner/mystery has to offer. Right from the opening scene, Reynolds sets up an unconventional action-movie character, who doesn't take himself too seriously. Unfortunately, he is plugged into an overloaded and ultimately unresolved plot, and into action sequences that are directed without much flair. Very minor film. (**)
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Early 70's NYC Reynolds
stevenfallonnyc26 August 2011
I just watched "Shamus" for the first time, ever. I mainly wanted to watch it for two reasons, one being I like early Burt, and also that it was filmed (the Brooklyn scenes) just blocks from where I grew up. I guess that I like early 70's NYC films as well.

Truth is, I did make it through the movie, but it's not really that good of a movie. Actually, I pretty much have absolutely no idea what it was about. Something about some stolen diamonds, guns, and shady people but it all just got lost to me. The main fun is watching 70's superstud Burt do his private-eye thing, which is mainly smoking cigarettes, acting cool, throwing around witty one-liners, getting chicks to go to bed with him, and punching guys out. Hey, good enough. What was that plot again? Funny scene in a bookstore where Burt walks in and decides he's gonna sleep with the hot intellectual chick in there, and of course he makes her melt with his ultra-coolness and smooth lines. Burt smooth-talks the gorgeous Dyan Cannon too, who kinda underacts here, like she's half asleep.

There are a lot of familiar 70's faces in this. But maybe best of all is Morris The Cat, who I guess earned the role from his rave reviews as 9-Lives spokescat (he was also in the movie "The Long Goodbye"). Morris earns raves as he uses his cool cat skills to, well, be a cool cat when things are happening around him. Morris gets fed a few times and we don't see the brand, 9-Lives definitely missed on some early product placement.

But Burt is good, as he participates in a lot of fighting, loving, swearing, and he even drives a huge stolen army vehicle throughout town with no police interference. The movie has an odd ending, maybe Morris should have helped that out. If you can watch Burt do his thing without caring too much about the mixed up plot, "Shamus" is good for a viewing.
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Burt saves the day, but not the movie "Shamus".
sol28 January 2006
(There may be Spoilers) If it wasn't for Burt Reynolds being in the film "Shamus" I doubt that it would have ever been made. At the hight of his popularity back in 1973 Burt Reynolds could do nothing wrong when it came to getting millions of movie goers to see any film that he was in and "Shamus" is a perfect example of his enormous drawing power back in those days.

You would have thought that the makers of "Shamus" would have given the movie a believable plot but right from the start it's totally unsound with a blowtorch, or flame-thrower, murder of Vincent Pappas and his girlfriend as their both in bed. The killers after setting the entire house on fire jump through the sky-window, in fire-proof suits, and rob the safe of millions of cut and uncut diamonds. They could have easily knocked off Pappas with a silencer gun or even knocked him out cold without drawing any attention to themselves by almost burning the entire house down!

The owner of the stolen diamonds a billionaire named E.J Hume who could have gotten the best detective agencies in the city, or the world, gets in touch with this down and out PI Shamus McCoy Hume's 53 choice! The other 52 private eyes he contacted turned down the job?. Shamus who's either too cheap or so weird that he doesn't even have a bed, in what looks like his Brooklyn loft, to sleep in. Shamus has a mattress attached to his pool table that he, and the many girlfriends and one-night stands that he has in the movie, sleeps on; a pool table on which we never see him pay any pool?

Getting $5,000.00 up front, and $5,000.00 after he finds E.J Hume's diamonds,Shamus goes on his way to find out just what happened to Pappas' stolen diamonds and who was responsible for his, and his girlfriend's's, murder. By this point the movie things really starts to spin out of control with now the US military being involved in some kind of illegal arms dealings by corrupt US Army Col. Hardcore that also involves the secretive E.J Hume.

You begin to wonder just what does Col. Hardcore have to do with E.J Hume's stolen diamonds and the Pappas' murders? As soon as were introduced to Col. Hardcore by Shamus' top squeeze in the movie Alexis Montaigne, who's brother Felix is also involved with E.J Hume in a company that he's a silent partner in, he's killed in broad daylight by E.J Hume's mobsters and both Shamus and Alexis are on the run for their lives.

Were never given to understand just what the connection is between E.J Hume's diamonds and the corrupt Col. Hardcore illegal arms dealings are and where in God's name are the tons and tons of military hardware going to? The Mafia the underground militias or to foreign or domestic terrorist organizations?

Burt Reynolds' Shamus is anything but a decent guy in the movie with him almost strangling, with a sadistically gleeful grin on his face, two helpless persons to death in order to get information from them. This brutal as well as uncalled for action could have easily landed him behind bars in any country on earth for committing crimes against humanity.

Later in the movie Felix is kidnapped by E.J Hume's hoods and almost beaten to death and all you can do is just wonder why? Felix was working with Hume and his mob and at no time in the movie was Felix ever suspected to be turning, or ratting, on Hume? So why is he treated this way? Shamus breaks into Hume's mansion and instead of saving the badly beaten Felix from Hume's thugs and attack dogs gets him shot and killed instead! No wonder Alexis walked out on him at the end of the movie.

The final few minutes of the film is a jumble of shootings dog and fist fights as well as Burt Reynolds' Shamus almost breaking his neck as he, or what was obviously his double, missed grabbing on to a tree branch and landing smack dab on his head on the hard ground below.

The film wasn't a total loss, for me at least, since it had in it the world famous Nine Lives feline star Morris the Cat, who's name for some reason in the movie was just "Cat", as Burt Reynold's co-star and Shamus' room-mate. Morris was by far the most believable handsome and likable character, as well as the best actor, in the movie.
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Burt Reynolds as "low brow" "Saint" or James Bond
jawlaw25 January 2006
This film brings back good memories for me. It's the first film that I had enough nerve to ask a girl out to when I was a teen. As my first official date, I was soon upstaged by the very rising star power of Burt Reynolds.

I think this film must have been planned as a recurring character for Reynolds--sort of a low brow "Saint" or a poor man's James Bond. Like "Remo Williams--The Adventure Begins" it unfortunately ended as soon as it began. Bigger and better things came to Reynolds soon after this release and he apparently sought not to be type cast as an American P.I. with a Scottish variant of the name James.

Still, it was a good film, and exciting and action packed by the standards of the day. Reynolds is a cool, believable and likable hero figure who acts like Popeye on spinach in the fight scenes. Cannon is good scenery in the film, but not much more. This isn't her fault-- the script treats her like little more than a prop. The villain in the film is hate worthy, though not formidable, but his "henchmen" provide good conflict for the "I do my own stunts" Reynolds.

I give the film a 7 out of 10.
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keithmallett27 March 2007
This film is worth viewing just for the pantomime Reynolds does during the opening credits; some really funny stuff. I also liked the fact that an old Twilight Zone alumnus, Buzz Kulick, directed. Reynolds is not a great actor and he knows it. He tends to play the same character in every film he appears in. The one exception is of course the masterpiece Deliverence, where he plays the stoic man of action to the hilt. Shamus is a fast breezy piece of work that is fun to watch and it appears that Burt Reynolds had fun making it. Reynolds also has a tie to The Twilight Zone. In an episode called The Bard, playing a method actor called Rocky Rhodes, Reynolds does a hilarious parody of Marlon Brando.
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Not one of Burt's best ..........
merklekranz3 July 2012
It's a shame that "Shamus" isn't a better film. It has all of the Reynold's trademarks. There are numerous women, including Dyan Cannon, who fall for his irresistible charm. There are some nice critter scenes with his puss cat. The presence of John P. Ryan should have given the movie a terrific villain. Unfortunately, Ryan is totally wasted as a cartoon like character. Reynolds seems to be constantly running from bad guys who have no concept of how to shoot a moving target. The worst offense of "Shamus" however is the plot, which is so murky that it comes across as nothing more than an afterthought to all the car chasing, and pursuit nonsenses. A disappointment for sure. - MERK
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Burt Goes to NY
jcohen127 March 2007
The movie role Burt regretted most he missed out was that of Sonny Corleone to actor James Caan. Shamus was as close to a mob flick as Burt got. It's not the real McCoy. We have in Shamus Burt the wiseguy, the athlete, the stuntman ,the stud & the pick-up artist. He just has fun running thru Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Westchester. It's of course a tribute to the hardboiled detective heroes- Bogart and Mitchum. Not to mention a good Brando imitation mixed in to boot. This picture cemented the image that stuck all these years. Dyan Cannon and Burt certainly had a screen chemistry but I liked the bookseller who showed what was under the covers. This is a tip of the hat to The Big Sleep & Bogart's scene in the bookstore across the street. They can't make movies like thisanymore so enjoy it.
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Updating the private eye mystique for the slovenly '70s...
moonspinner5515 May 2016
Burt Reynolds plays a streetwise private detective from Brooklyn hired by an eccentric millionaire to locate diamonds stolen by flamethrower-wielding killers, a burglary that may be a cover for an export deal in government arms; wealthy Dyan Cannon also hires the shambling shamus (for $75 dollars a day plus expenses!) to follow her suspicious-acting brother, who figures in the dirty business. Screenwriter Barry Beckerman was apparently doing a violent send-up of "The Big Sleep"--but forgot the sly humor; everything here is hammered home, most especially Reynolds' prowess with the ladies (and if there isn't a naked babe on his pool table, there are plenty to ogle on his walls). Fine New York City locations help, but the plot's detour into military territory is uninteresting. Reynolds, acting 'cute,' is no Humphrey Bogart; he does a comedic double-take like a seasoned pro, but has nothing else going on under his patented charm. *1/2 from ****
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Cute, very cute, still got a lot of action to it
Brian T. Whitlock (GOWBTW)22 November 2005
When I took a look of this, I thought it would one of another Burt Reynolds' hits. And it was. I've seen some of the stills in a book when I was in college. I said to myself, "I got to see this movie". When I rented it, I'm glad I did. Now I've seen stars form Northern states play Southerners, here Burt plays a detective in New York. All he has to do is play it smooth. That did the trick, and this movie is a success. I don't how it went in the box office, because I wasn't either born just yet, or I was a baby when this was showing. Whatever, this movie is good. I liked mostly the fight scene where Shamus(Reynolds) smacked the gun out of one of the hoods hands and take him out. Then I also liked the part where Shamus clubbed the big guy as well. Getting the bad guys is always typical, and it's always good for Burt Reynolds to play roles in any state, any city, any where. Burt's got it! Rating 4 out of 5 stars
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One of Reynolds better one's
mm-3910 May 2003
I saw this film in Grade 11, and found Reynolds hard edge well done. He sleeps on a pool table, and fights with a chain. Even Sly would have a hard time topping Reynolds in this one. Reynolds must have grew up tough inorder to put some real life experience into this one. If Burt did Mike Hammer he would have saved his career. 7/10
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Bland Reynolds Vehicle
Michael_Elliott19 August 2017
Shamus (1973)

** (out of 4)

Shamus McCoy (Burt Reynolds) is a rough and tough New York private detective who is hired to track down the people who set a couple on fire. It turns out this couple was behind a jewelry robbery so whoever killed them now has the jewels.

SHAMUS is a pretty disappointing film on many levels as it's so darn boring and has such a bland screenplay that it's easy to see why the movie has pretty much been forgotten. A lot of Reynolds' movies from this period are now considered classics but this one here has pretty much remained in the shadows for a good reason. It's certainly a shame that the movie didn't turn out a bit better because it has some elements that could have made for something much more memorable.

The biggest issue I had with the film was the fact that the screenplay just didn't feature a very interesting mystery. The film also suffers from not knowing exactly what it wants to do because at times it almost seems like a spoof of the film noir genre with some really lame comedy bits. Just look at the opening sequence with Reynolds getting out of bed with a woman and doing some sort of comic bit that just isn't funny. There's a lot of flirting done by Reynolds but none of it is overly charming or cute.

The film contains mostly forgettable performances and I'd include the lead in on this as well. Reynolds just really seems out of it here as if even he knows that the story isn't all that special. Dyan Cannon makes for a boring female co-star and none of the other supporting players pack much of a punch. The slow style doesn't help things and director Buzz Kulik just doesn't add any flair to the material.
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"I don't work Sundays."
mylimbo31 December 2011
Burt Reynolds feels like he's shot back into the 1940s with this old-fashion, if chaotically bold crime caper story of the 70s and consisting of its era's brutality, as he plays private eye McCoy who is hired on to recover stolen diamonds and find a murderer for a rich eccentric, but what he digs up is something much more dangerous and heavy than simple diamond theft. Pretty much it's a Reynolds starring vehicle (and boy doesn't he test out his pain threshold with the constant beatings, running, tumbling and an almighty tree fall), but the support cast are just as serviceable. A radiant Dyan Cannon is quite fun as McCoy's love interest. Capable show-ins by Joe Santos, Larry Block, Ron Weyand, John P. Ryan and also Kevin Conway along with John Glover has minor parts. The gaudy New York locations are an important character to the film's make-up, as being shot on location helped with its authentic rough and tumble nature. Watching Reynold's going around gathering information, moving from one scene to another in doing anything to get his job done, was always quite amusing. From those hardily slam bang action sequences to chatting up the women and then of course spending quality time in his apartment with his cat. Reynolds uses that ruggedly laid-back charm to good affect and is quick with a smart quip. The narrative is rather crafty in its chain of events, being rather unpredictable and manipulative making out there's more to it than you are originally to believe. Still when comes to its closing, it does feel short-changed. Jerry Goldsmith contributes a playfully breezy music score. An enjoyably offbeat and assured 70s crime joint that's similar in style to the Charles Bronson's "St Ives".

"You're going to beat the sh!t out of me, right?"
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Pool Table is Useful !
whpratt131 March 2007
This was a very entertaining film with Burt Reynolds,(Shamus McCoy) playing a private detective who lived in an apartment that was a complete mess and his bed was on top of a pool table. This pool table was also a love nest where he entertained plenty of women and some of them tried to put their feet in the pocket holes on the table. Dyan Cannon, (Alexis Montaigne) hires Shamus to do some investigating for her and also winds up on the pool table and really enjoys being behind the eight ball. There is plenty of scenes shot in Brooklyn, New York, you can see the Kentile Sign near the Red Hook section and there is even plenty of action on Staten Island with the Army National Guard Armory of the 142nd "Rainbow" Division, 101 First Calvary where Burt Reynolds and Dyan Cannon ride around in an Army Truck. If you like these two actors, you will enjoy this gem from 1973.
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With all due detection
Juha Hämäläinen27 April 2007
Burt Reynolds in his prime as detective McCoy investigates gun trade and several lovely ladies. Some investigations lead to life threatening danger, some to the pool table. The time of the plot is early seventies but some obvious and tradition conscious nods to the detective genre point back to the forties. Two scenes, the taking of the assignment and later a scene with a lady in a bookshop seem strangely familiar. Like they were lifted from 'The Big Sleep' and turned into something new and more humorous. If I'm not all wrong about those bits, they certainly are a nice touch to the story.

McCoy also seems to have a lot in common with Mike Hammer of 'Kiss Me Deadly', his nature. At one moment he is a likable wisecracking guy and a ladies man. Then at a moment's notice he may turn into a violently sadistic brawler using any means to put a man down and get any information he wants. He is almost like two guys at one, which considering the profession becomes very handy indeed.

Shamus is full of speedy action, chases, fights and some very good looking stunts which at least some of them Reynolds seem to have handled himself. No need to wonder his superstar status during the seventies. He really had the works, skill and presence many action stars of today are lacking. Dyan Cannon as McCoy's new flame is simply lovely. She is the heart of the movie and brings in the sexiness for male viewers. Not being much of a game player I don't have to wonder anymore about the holes in pool tables.
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