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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) »


He knows every cheap trick, cheap joke, cheap shot and cheap dame in the book. 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 name of the bar, Nix Place, is a spoof of the bar Rick's Place from Casablanca (1942). Neil Simon claimed that Warner Bros. had saved light fixtures and decorations from Humphrey Bogart's club in Casablanca (1942), allowing them to be reused as props for Charles B. Pierce's Nix Place set. He also claimed some of the original waiters were reused as well. 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 »


Colonel Schlissel: We can still make it if we hurry! Schnell, schnell!
Schnell: Yes sir?
Colonel Schlissel: I wasn't talking to you, Schnell, I was staying "faster" to him in German.
Schnell: I understand.
Colonel Schlissel: One minute to midnight! Schnell!
Schnell: Yes sir?
Colonel Schlissel: Uh... look. English! We speak only English from now on, no more German.
Schnell: Yes sir.
Colonel Schlissel: We'll never make it. Quicker, quicker!
Qvicker: Yes sir?
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 To Have and Have Not (1944) See more »


Deep Purple
Music by Peter De Rose
Lyrics by Mitchell Parish
Sung by Peter Falk and Eileen Brennan at Nix Place
Also played at the bar when Peckinpaugh is talking to Blubber
See more »

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User Reviews

The Cheap Detective is Fabulous
26 August 2004 | by (Lexington, Kentucky) – See all my reviews

Neil Simon's movies always shine with his marvelous talent. The spoofs of Humphrey Bogart, his movies and other famous people/characters are priceless. My favorite scene in The Cheap Detective is where Eileen Brennen is singing in a cabaret, holding a cigarette out to the detective with her line "Well aren't you going to light my fire?" And he says (paraphrased)"well I was just checking out your kindling". Wonderful script and sharp and funny dialogue. Eileen is beautiful here. Peter Falk is very sexy in the title role. And could anyone ever compare with Madeline Kahn - they threw away the pattern on her. I think Humphrey Bogart would not only laugh at the spoofs of him but also be flattered that his persona has become so classic and so well-known and easily identifiable. There was a wonderful actor in "Dark Shadows" who early in his career did imitations of Bogie and looked a lot like him. He also played Bogie in a movie I believe. I wish there were more movies as good as Neil Simon's.

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