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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:

If it was murder, where's the body? If it was for a woman, which woman? If it's only a game, why the blood? 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:

11 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

The laughter coming from the "dummy" Jolly Jack Tar is that of Sir Laurence Olivier. See more »

Goofs

Milo's arm changes position when Andrew is trying to figure out the Italian clue. See more »

Quotes

Andrew Wyke: My wife showers. I bathe.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Story of 'Frenzy' (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Anything goes
Words and music by Cole Porter
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

One of the best thrillers ever.
8 October 2003 | by barnabyrudgeSee all my reviews

Sleuth is based on an outstanding stage play by Anthony Shaffer. Sometimes, a work which succeeded on the stage doesn't transfer well to the big screen. Movies like Equus and Dangerous Corner - which were a delight in theatres - lose their power under the close scrutiny of a film camera. Sleuth is not a failure. It retains its stagebound plot, characters and dialogue, but somehow manages to be totally engrossing as well.

Part of the joy is due to Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine. The two giants of Britsh acting don't chew the scenery in an attempt to out-shine each other; they complement each other quite brilliantly and turn in two of the finest screen performances you could ever aspire to see. Olivier plays elderly author Andrew Wyke, an obscenely wealthy, well-educated and devious man. Caine is Milo Tindle, a charming, ever-polite young hairdresser. Milo visits Andrew to ask for his blessing in marrying his estranged wife. Although Andrew seems fairly open to the idea of giving away his wife (after all, they despise each other) he still feels stung by her exit, so he engineers a cruel game to humiliate Milo. But who is playing a trick on who?

The dialogue is terrific, but it needed terrific actors to get the best out of it. Caine and Oloivier do a fine job. Ken Adams' set design turns Olivier's gorgeous palatial house into a dazzling mansion of madness. The tinkly music by John Addison creates a playful yet ever-so-slightly uncomfortable mood. Joseph L. Mankiewicz directs perfectly, getting maximum suspense from his staging of scenes and thoughtful choice of camera angles. The twists are superbly disguised, especially the awesome "shock" climax which will blow you away. See Sleuth - it's one of the best!


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