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The Cheap Detective (1978)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Mystery  |  23 June 1978 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 2,882 users  
Reviews: 57 user | 7 critic

San Francisco, 1940, detectives, dames, documents, Nazis, and a treasure.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ezra Dezire
Pepe Damascus
Sgt. Rizzuto


Lou Peckinpaugh, the Cheap detective has entered a world that is half Casablanca and half Maltese Falcon. A parody of Bogart's films in which Lou goes through a series of scenes from the two movies trying to keep ahead of the police who think he killed his partner and find the black bird. Written by John Vogel <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

detective | police | parody | nazi | chick | See All (57) »


Who dunnit? This time it's Neil Simon who's really dunnit. See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

23 June 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Neil Simon's The Cheap Detective  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The farewell scene between Lou Peckinpaugh (Peter Falk and Marlene DuChard (Louise Fletcher) was shot on the same sound stage that was used for the Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman farewell in Casablanca (1942). See more »


When Lou and Marlene are talking in his apartment, her scarf keeps changing position from surrounding her face to trailing down the back of her head. See more »


Bess: You have a visitor in there, a Miss Sophie De Vega.
Lou Peckinpaugh: Pretty?
Bess: Prettier than me, but I'm easier.
Lou Peckinpaugh: I'm saving you for the rainy season.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are written in chalk on a sidewalk, a brick wall, a tambourine, a dock piling, and the back of an overcoat. See more »


Spoofs The Maltese Falcon (1941) See more »


Heigh Ho
Music by Frank Churchill
Lyrics by Larry Morey
Sung by Peter Falk
See more »

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User Reviews

Does not quite find the mark
27 October 2003 | by (.: Fiendish Writings in the Dark :.) – See all my reviews

Looking for (but not quite finding) the footsteps of "Murder by Death."

While I love this movie and watch it quite often, it is a rather cheesy knock-off of "Murder by Death." This time spoofing "The Maltese Falcon" and "Casablanca," Neil Simon's hit or miss style misses this time, but only by a small margin.

This movie is not hilarious, nor exceptionally intelligent comedy, but it is still very entertaining. I honestly found "Murder by Death" to be a much more enjoyable experience.

That having been said, this star-studded cast puts forth at least a valid attempt to pull off this sometimes haphazardly written screen play, and hits at least 2 out of 5 punch lines with some effect.

If you are a fan of the Bogie movies which it satirizes, this is definitely a must-see. It is you, for which this movie was written in the first place.

It rates a 6.5/10 from...

the Fiend :.

20 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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