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Sleuth (1972)

PG | | Mystery, Thriller | 12 July 1973 (UK)
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:

(play), (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:
...
...
Alec Cawthorne ...
John Matthews ...
Detective Sergeant Tarrant
Eve Channing ...
Marguerite Wyke
Teddy Martin ...
Police Constable Higgs
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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? [original movie poster] See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

12 July 1973 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Juego mortal  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

(at around 1h) The line "you're just a jumped-up pantry boy who doesn't know his place" is repeated almost verbatim in the song "This Charming Man" by The Smiths, 1982. Lyricist and singer Morrissey has always been fascinated by English pop culture and class issues, and several working-class English actors of the 1960s (including Terence Stamp, Rita Tushingham and Diana Dors) appear in the role of "cover star" on The Smiths' albums. See more »

Goofs

(at around 17 mins) In the snooker game, after Andrew pots the black for the first time, it is clearly seen to be on its spot before Milo takes it from the pocket and re-spots it. See more »

Quotes

Andrew Wyke: The mistresses' bedroom. Or, would you know your way about?
Milo Tindle: The mistress, or her bedroom?
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Connections

Referenced in The Wicker Man Enigma (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Just one of these things
Words and music by Cole Porter
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A brilliantly twisty mystery.
5 August 2001 | by See all my reviews

My parents saw "Sleuth" on Broadway, during its original run, just a year or so before this film was released. Watching the movie I can see how it would make a good play, but by the same token, it is not a translation that feels slow, or wordy, or unsuited to the screen. The adaptation is excellent, without "opening up" the play too much. If you're a fan of mysteries, you'll be intrigued by the performances and the script. Joseph Mankiewicz's direction isn't terribly flashy, but subtle and well-done.

Laurence Olivier stars as Andrew Wyke, a famous mystery novel writer. Milo Tindle (Michael Cane), comes to visit him one weekend; asking for Andrew's wife's hand in marriage. But things aren't as simple as they first appear. Andrew wants something in return from Milo. And then again, maybe he doesn't.

The film unfolds slowly and patiently; you almost feel like the film's sentient and realizes how juicy its secrets are, holding on to them for as long as possible. There are numerous twists and surprises in the film; and even if you see one or two coming (as I did), don't expect to get it all right until it's over. It's best not to know at all what is going to happen, so I'll leave you with no more clues.

I enjoyed nearly every moment after the initial meeting between Milo and Andrew. Once Cane and Olivier really get going in their scenes, the film never looks back. They are exceptional in their performances, and deservedly earned nominations for Best Actor Oscars.

So who wins? Does anyone win? Is it a game with a winner at all? Oh just go rent it already!


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