7.0/10
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33 user 17 critic

The Late Show (1977)

A grumpy semi-retired private investigator partners with a quirky female client to catch the people who murdered his partner.

Director:

Robert Benton

Writer:

Robert Benton
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Art Carney ... Ira Wells
Lily Tomlin ... Margo Sterling
Bill Macy ... Charlie Hatter
Eugene Roche ... Ron Birdwell
Joanna Cassidy ... Laura Birdwell
John Considine ... Jeff Lamar
Ruth Nelson ... Mrs. Schmidt
John Davey John Davey ... Sergeant Dayton
Howard Duff ... Harry Regan
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ethel Reschke Ethel Reschke
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Storyline

Ira Wells is an aged retired Los Angeles, California based private investigator comes out of retirement when a former partner, Harry Regan, shows up on his doorstep with a bullet wound to the gut, and dies. Ira wants to find out who killed Harry. Ira is contacted by another long-time acquaintance, Charlie Hatter, a self-proclaimed loser and Hollywood hack, about Harry's last case. Harry's client was Margo Sterling, a former client of Charlie's who is a flaky penniless new-age actress, agent, and dress maker. She hired Harry to retrieve her missing cat, Winston, who is still being held ransom by an acquaintance named Brian Hemphill, who stole Winston because Margo "borrowed" money. With all this, Ira has to figure out what would be the reason for someone to kill Harry. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A classic murder mystery with an offbeat twist. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Warner Bros.

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 July 1977 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

La última investigación See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Of the five cinema movie collaborations of Lily Tomlin and Producer Robert Altman, this film was the only one that Altman did not direct, as Altman was a Producer only. Tomlin was directed by Altman on Nashville (1975), The Player (1992), Short Cuts (1993), and A Prairie Home Companion (2006), the latter being Altman's final film. Prior to this movie, Robert Altman had just recently directed a detective film, that being The Long Goodbye (1973), based on the novel by Raymond Chandler. See more »

Goofs

Margo complains, after tasting her drink, that it is Pepsi, not the Coke she ordered. She then pours more from the initially out of shot Pepsi can. She would have known it was Pepsi from the can, either when Charlie poured the drink or when he put the can on the bar top. See more »

Quotes

Margo Sperling: Boy, it's really lucky for you that I just happen to be a very self-destructive person.
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Soundtracks

What Was
Lyrics by Stephen Lehner
Music by Kenneth Wannberg (as Ken Wannberg)
Sung by Bev Kelly
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fabulous, Art Carney is amazing...
5 November 2004 | by DotelMotelSee all my reviews

The saddest thing about Robert Benton's "The Late Show" is that it has gotten lost in the shuffle when discussing the great movies of the nineteen seventies. This is a terrific piece of film noir that is paying homage to the great detective mysteries of the forties. Benton's sharp screenplay is sensational in creating colorful, likable, and original characters. Benton beautifully connects all the points of the complex plot by the end, leaving the viewer completely satisfied.

The all around acting in the film is terrific, with Lily Tomlin supplying comedic support to Art Carney's lead detective Ira Wells. The film however belongs to the late, great Art Carney. Carney gives quite simply an amazing tour de force performance as the aging Ira Wells. He is a sad and lonely character who is socially awkward yet surprisingly tough. He is a great underdog character, who with Carney in the lead role, the viewer cannot help but to root for. After showing his dramatic range and winning an Oscar for Best Actor for 1974's "Harry and Tonto" (a personal favorite of mine), Art was offered some terrific roles and gave some great performances. In many ways Carney's performance in "The Late Show" is better then his performances in his other two great films of the seventies, "Harry and Tonto" and "Going In Style". It is a treat and pleasure to watch him in "The Late Show" because it shows a legendary and extroadinarily talented actor in full force.

Thankfully Warner Brothers has released "The Late Show" on DVD (now if only Fox could release "Harry and Tonto" on DVD). For years it was very difficult to get on VHS. While the film may look a little dated, it hooks the viewer with its story and acting that you will be glad that you took a trip back to 1977.


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