7.0/10
1,786
33 user 16 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

The film opens with an old black and white Warner Brothers logo, not the color one which was in use by the studio at the time. See more »

Goofs

The first close-up of Charlie's white shoes with blood on them also shows Ira's black shoes right next to him, but Ira doesn't walk up to help Charlie until the following shot. See more »

Quotes

Ira: One more thing, doll, about my fee... My fee. I get paid $25 a day, plus expenses.
Margo Sperling: What's he talking about?
Ira: Listen, sweetheart, you're talking to Ira Wells, not some low-rent gumshoe. I'm the best, and I get paid like the best.
See more »

Connections

References The Thin Man (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

What Was
Lyrics by Stephen Lehner
Music by Kenneth Wannberg (as Ken Wannberg)
Sung by Bev Kelly
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User Reviews

 
A sweet and unsentimental masterpiece
27 December 2007 | by Rob AstykSee 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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