8.0/10
41,309
155 user 52 critic

Sleuth (1972)

A man who loves games and theater invites his wife's lover to meet him, setting up a battle of wits with potentially deadly results.

Writers:

Anthony Shaffer (play), Anthony Shaffer (screenplay)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Laurence Olivier ... Andrew Wyke
Michael Caine ... Milo Tindle
Alec Cawthorne Alec Cawthorne ... Inspector Doppler (credit only)
John Matthews John Matthews ... Detective Sergeant Tarrant (credit only)
Eve Channing Eve Channing ... Marguerite Wyke (credit only)
Teddy Martin Teddy Martin ... Police Constable Higgs (credit only)
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Storyline

Andrew Wyke is a famous and successful author of detective novels. Milo Tindle comes to him with a strange request - that Mr Wyke divorce his wife so that Tindle can marry her. Mr Wyke is not particularly perturbed by this - he and his wife have drifted apart and he is having an affair with another woman anyway - but uses the meeting and Mr Tindle's request as a chance to play a game, a game with potentially deadly consequences. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Think of the perfect crime... then go one step further. See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

15 December 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Juego mortal See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir Michael Caine was so very much beside himself to be working with Sir Laurence Olivier, that he didn't even know how to address him. Eventually, he broke down and just asked. Olivier replied, "Well I am the Lord Olivier and you are Mr. Michael Caine. Of course, that's only for the first time you address me. After that I am Larry, and you are Mike." See more »

Goofs

(at around 18 mins) While Wyke is clearing the colours in the snooker game, he jumps from blue directly to black, even though the pink is on the table (in a previous shot), and in potting order comes between blue and black. Then, when the black is potted, the pink is nowhere to be seen. See more »

Quotes

Andrew Wyke: For Christ sake Milo, they couldn't have made more noise on D-Day.
Milo Tindle: The bloody glass came out, my bloody boot got stuck and I fell down the bloody ladder.
Andrew Wyke: Well the bloody police must have heard it all the way to bloody Salisbury.
Milo Tindle: I'm sorry.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Game of Cat and Mouse: Behind the Scenes of Sleuth (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Anything goes
Words and music by Cole Porter
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A supporting cast to die for
12 April 2003 | by jackmunroSee all my reviews

To me, "Sleuth" is a demonstration of the problem with the Oscars (certainly a problem in 1972, and perhaps now also). The problem was that, even before the casting was done for the film of Mario Puzo's "The Godfather," everyone knew that whoever played the leading role was going to receive the Best Actor Oscar, irrespective of the performance. To rate Brando's performance above the performances of Caine and Olivier that year is nothing short of ludicrous. All I can say is thank God that at least Joel Grey received the best support Oscar for "Cabaret" that year.

I first saw Anthony Schaffer's play on the London stage about two years prior to the release of the movie. The leading roles were taken by Paul Rogers and Donal Donnelly, two fine English actors who were superb in these parts. I remember thinking what a difficult thing it would be to make a film of this, but I was sure that someone would try it and make a mess of it. How wrong I was!

I note that "Sleuth" comes up as #250 in the IMDB top 250. I recently selected my top 100 and it comes up at #55. This is a magnificent movie that keeps one on the edge of the seat for its entire length. The performances of the two leads as they play the same game a number of times is stunning. Here is the man acknowledged as perhaps the greatest actor of the 20th century, and here is the Cockney up-start Caine (famous for his "kitchen-sink" roles such as in "Alfie") matching him at every turn and often soaring above him.

But in saying all this, I need to put in a plug for perhaps the finest supporting performances ever delivered. Alec Cawthorne, a man few have heard of outside "Sleuth," is mesmerising as Doppler, while John Matthews and Eve Channing, although having very minor parts, imbue every nuance of their performances with ethereal splendour.


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