A grumpy semi-retired private investigator partners with a quirky female client to catch the people who murdered his partner.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Ira Wells
...
Margo Sterling
...
Charlie Hatter
...
Ron Birdwell
...
Laura Birdwell
...
Lamar
Ruth Nelson ...
Mrs. Schmidt
John Davey ...
Sergeant Dayton
...
Harry Regan
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Storyline

Ira Wells is an aged retired Los Angeles based private investigator, who is slightly overweight, needs to wear a hearing aid, has a bum leg and an ulcer-laden stomach, and can only afford to rent a room in a house as a place to live. He decides to come out of retirement when a still active contemporary, Harry Regan, shows up on his doorstep with a bullet wound to the gut, from which he eventually dies. Ira wants to find out who killed Harry. Ira is contacted by another long-time acquaintance, Charlie Hatter, a self-proclaimed loser and Hollywood hack, about Harry's last case, something about which probably led to Harry's death. Harry's client was Margo Sterling, a former client of Charlie's who is a flaky penniless new-ageist actress/agent/dress maker. She hired Harry to retrieve her missing cat, Winston, who is still being held ransom by an acquaintance named Brian Hemphill. Ira learns from Margo that Brian hired her to transport goods for him, she unconcerned that those goods ... Written by Huggo

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Taglines:

The nicest movie you'll ever see about murder and blackmail. [Lobby Card] See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

4 July 1977 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

La última investigación  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The picture went into development and production after screenwriter Robert Benton in early 1976 took his screenplay to Robert Altman, who after reading the script decided to make the picture and produce it. See more »

Goofs

The first close-up of Charlie's white shoes with blood on them also shows Ira's black shoes right next to him, but Ira doesn't walk up to help Charlie until the following shot. See more »

Quotes

Ira: [to Lamar] You wanna know somethin', punk? You were born dumb and you're gonna die dumb.
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Connections

References Gone with the Wind (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

What Was
Lyrics by Stephen Lehner
Music by Kenneth Wannberg (as Ken Wannberg)
Sung by Bev Kelly
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User Reviews

 
Fabulous, Art Carney is amazing...
5 November 2004 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

The saddest thing about Robert Benton's "The Late Show" is that it has gotten lost in the shuffle when discussing the great movies of the nineteen seventies. This is a terrific piece of film noir that is paying homage to the great detective mysteries of the forties. Benton's sharp screenplay is sensational in creating colorful, likable, and original characters. Benton beautifully connects all the points of the complex plot by the end, leaving the viewer completely satisfied.

The all around acting in the film is terrific, with Lily Tomlin supplying comedic support to Art Carney's lead detective Ira Wells. The film however belongs to the late, great Art Carney. Carney gives quite simply an amazing tour de force performance as the aging Ira Wells. He is a sad and lonely character who is socially awkward yet surprisingly tough. He is a great underdog character, who with Carney in the lead role, the viewer cannot help but to root for. After showing his dramatic range and winning an Oscar for Best Actor for 1974's "Harry and Tonto" (a personal favorite of mine), Art was offered some terrific roles and gave some great performances. In many ways Carney's performance in "The Late Show" is better then his performances in his other two great films of the seventies, "Harry and Tonto" and "Going In Style". It is a treat and pleasure to watch him in "The Late Show" because it shows a legendary and extroadinarily talented actor in full force.

Thankfully Warner Brothers has released "The Late Show" on DVD (now if only Fox could release "Harry and Tonto" on DVD). For years it was very difficult to get on VHS. While the film may look a little dated, it hooks the viewer with its story and acting that you will be glad that you took a trip back to 1977.


18 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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