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The Girl on the Late, Late Show (1974)

Not Rated | | Drama, Thriller | TV Movie 1 April 1974
A television producer decides to find out the whereabouts of a former movie actress whose career has long since faded. He discovers that his inquiries have set off a string of murders.



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Complete credited cast:
William Martin
F.J. Allen
Carolyn Parker
Johnny Leverett
Inspector DeBiesse
The Librarian
Lieutenant Scott
Bruno Walters
John Pahlman
Pat Clauson
Felice Orlandi ...
Studio Guard


A television producer decides to find out the whereabouts of a former movie actress whose career has long since faded. He discovers that his inquiries have set off a string of murders.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Thriller


Not Rated




Release Date:

1 April 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Une femme dangereuse  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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References The Big Heat (1953) See more »

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User Reviews

Don Murray seeks out long-gone actress, Gloria Grahame
15 July 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The Girl on the Late Late Show" (1974) is a richly-themed and intricately-shaded 1970s noir. Fiction and reality, acting and the actor as a real person, Hollywood as myth and Hollywood as actual place and industry, the past and the present all run through the film like a series of Chinese boxes or Russian matryoshka dolls. There are levels within levels. The film is many-sided. It weaves together these contrasts in a mind-dizzying way, like several chess games being played simultaneously.

The story begins in New York and moves to Hollywood where it stays. That is one contrast, and it has several sides. A New York TV producer (Don Murray) has the idea of locating a famous actress of the past (Gloria Grahame). Her famous and beautifully-done movies are now relegated to the late late show, appearing on the small screen. Her appearance on the TV show would excite some interest, he believes. It would answer the question: Whatever became of Carolyn Parker? It also would present the real person whom the 1970s audiences know nothing about. Would this reduce Grahame or resurrect her? Would encasing her in the TV format bring her back?

The movie we are watching cannot present the real Grahame. It can only present her as an idol of the past named Carolyn Parker whom Murray feels for. But in its own poignant way, by casting Grahame in this role and by its ending, this film does make a comment on Grahame herself. Murray loves her old movies, her film noirs, of which we see clips; and he sees in her certain mysterious qualities that attract him strongly. He takes far more than a monetary or producer's interest in locating the missing actress. He has become obsessed with her and finding her, no matter the danger of the search.

The movie itself features numerous film stars of Grahame's era who have found that TV extended their careers and this film exemplifies that. We see in small parts on the small screen of this TV-movie such actors as Walter Pidgeon, John Ireland, Ralph Meeker, Yvonne De Carlo, Gloria Grahame, Van Johnson and Cameron Mitchell. Those who made this movie presented to us, not the real persons of the past, but the actors of the past in a movie of the present. TV-movies and TV-work in reality extended the careers of them and numerous others.

Murray is part of the new entertainment game, producing a morning talk show that entertains with novelties, not serious productions. The era of serious TV productions using Hollywood talent and depth was the late 40s, the 50s, and the 60s; and that era has passed. But in Murray is a recognition of that past and its beauty. There is nostalgia and a feeling for the screen idols of the past. There is a contrast between their permanence in the movies they made that forever capture them in their primes and in prime and artistic entertainment and their disappearance from public view and notice. There is a contrast between youth and age and between an industry that brought art to the general public and one that's bringing surface ripples that quickly pass from memory and into nothingness.

One of the first things we and Murray see in Hollywood is a backlot being bulldozed. This is symbolic of many things. A movie company is changing its location, making way for the richly-valued land beneath the buildings to be diverted to other uses. Physical places are being razed. New York money is ruling Hollywood. The old places can no longer provide tradition or continuity with past glories. Memories and artifacts will have to suffice. The past is disappearing but it's reappearing elsewhere in new forms. The living actors in this movie are links to that past, and they comment upon it in depth during the movie. Fiction resembles nonfiction, and it becomes a kind of nonfiction itself.

On the other hand, many places remain as in the past; and the film shows them in passing. In 2016, they may largely be gone. This 1974 film that has affection for the Hollywood glories of two or three decades earlier now provides later audiences with an inkling of its own era that has now entered a past that's 42 years ago.

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