7.0/10
1,956
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:

The nicest movie you'll ever see about murder and blackmail. [Lobby Card] 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

Ira: I'm not as young as I used to be.
See more »


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

 
A sweet and unsentimental masterpiece
27 December 2007 | by robastykSee all my reviews

As many who have left comments before me have observed, this film echos the detective stories of the 1930s and 1940s. I would go a little further and suggest that the premise of the movie is what would the case be like if Philip Marlowe were roped into a mystery when he was pushing 80? Howard Duff's scene early in the film and even his character's name evoke The Big Sleep while Chandler allusions continue through the film. Art Carney's superbly underplayed Ira Wells is unquestionably an avatar of Marlowe surviving into the late 1970s and into his late 70s. He's a bit deaf, a bit slow, a bit more crotchety but he's still that one moral man walking down "these mean streets" of L.A.

Benton has done some extraordinary work, but this is his elevation to the sublime, a movie that one can watch again and again. It's a minor masterpiece. If producer Altman's own The Long Goodbye had been as good a Raymond Chandler film as this is, Goodbye would have risen to the level of the other two incomparable films of Chandler novels: the Howard Hawkes, Bogart and Bacall The Big Sleep and the Robert Mitchum Farewell, My Lovely.


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