Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
The Late Show
The nicest movie you'll ever see about murder and blackmail.
Over-the-hill gumshoe in Los Angeles seeks to avenge the killing of an old pal, another detective who had gotten himself involved in a case concerning a murdered broad, stolen stamps, a nickel-plated handgun, a cheating dolly, and a kidnapped pussycat.
Art Carney plays a semi-retired private investigator who partners with Lily Tomlin to catch and revenge the people that murdered his partner. Carney makes a great private eye....I could easily picture Bogart in this role. If Bogart would have lived longer....I am sure he would have played an aging past his prime detective. The younger Ira Wells (Carney's character) would have used his brawn to get out of the messes he finds himself in...the older Wells has to use his brains as he can not be the physical stuff anymore.
I have never been a Lilly Tomlin fan....and this movie did not change this opinion. To me her part slows the movie down....and I am not even sure why she…
It's a very rare thing to discover a 70s Hollywood film that doesn't involve a young up-and-comer in a part of some size. They sort of epitomized the era, either in front of, or behind the camera.
The Late Show, written and directed by Robert Benton and produced by Robert Altman, is a neo-noir where an elderly private detective gets more than he bargained for when reluctantly taking on the case of Lily Tomlin's missing cat. He's got enough on his plate as is, with trying to solve the murder of his friend.
Art Carney, a name I actually know less as a face than I do in written form is splendid as the sickly PI, and Bill Macy nails…
Alongside Long Goodbye, Hickey & Boggs, and Night Moves, another "what if a hardboiled gumshoe but in the 70s" exercise. Also like those movies: totally great. It's not as hopeless as the latter two and unlike Long Goodbye, the protagonist (Art Carney) isn't just old-fashioned, he's also just plain old, as everyone he encounters is quick to point out. "You're late. About forty years too late," an electronics and menswear pushing fence tells him. Lily Tomlin plays a flaky new age pot dealer (well, only until she gets enough money to open a boutique dress store), rambling on about karma, she elicits a wonderful, "What the hell is she talking about?" from Carney.
I've always loved Tomlin, but this may be…
Art Carney is Ira Wells, an old-time private eye, stuck being an old man in late 1970s LA. He's got a bum leg, a hearing aid, and instead of bourbon, he drinks Alka-Seltzer when he gets shook up. Lily Tomlin is Margo, a nutcase who's lost her cat.
The lost cat ties into the murder of Wells' friend Harry Regan, so he agrees to work for Margo to find the man who killed Harry. A complicated case follows, of course.
Not fast-paced and somewhat predictable with the noir tropes, but extremely well done. Director and screenwriter Robert Benton put together a beautiful homage to the 1940s-50s detective movies. The dialog is sharp, without being over-the-top. As to the acting, Art…
Solid and underrated neo-noir filled with twists and turns that are a treat to watch unfold. Art Carney and Lily Tomlin are both fantastic together as the unlikeliest of duos. Their character quirks never define their motives, but help to reinforce character history and are revealed as the plot thickens, a true sign of great writing. The script is dynamite in finding just the right balance of suspense and gallows humor. A nice little gem that noir enthusiasts should seek out.
Another off the Benton list. An over the hill detective investigates his friend's murder and a missing cat case. Art Carney and Lily Tomlin are great here. A funny and twisty Oscar nominated script makes this movie just fly. A solid detective story just like I like them. Equal parts funny and dramatic, balanced just right.
Is it an homage?
Or is it a parody?
It's not quite either.
Jack Nicholson's Jake Gittes from Chinatown... Gene Hackman's Harry Moseby from Night Moves... Elliot Gould's Philip Marlowe in The Long Goodbye. These are the great throw-back private detectives that brought film noir into the 1970's mixed with a contemporary sensibility.
Add to this group Art Carney's aging PI Ira Wells from Robert Benton's underrated The Late Show. It's not as dark and compelling as the films by Polanski, Penn, and Altman -- but that's okay because Benton creates his own entertaining style combining a '40's-style murder mystery (a la The Maltese Falcon) with a wacked-out, self-obsessed, violent '70's comedy/thriller.
It is interesting to note that Robert Altman produced. And, like in Altman's The Long Goodbye, a cat figures into the plot.
Neo-Noir with something of a madcap twist to it, Robert Benton's "The Late Show" attempts to blend crime and comedy with a New Hollywood bow with mixed results. Art Carney makes for a believable aging gumshoe and when the film focuses on his characters drive to uncover the killer of a former friend it mostly succeeds as a low-key, updated noir. Unfortunately Benton makes a strive for comedy and has Lily Tomlin as a grating, manic would be partner for laugh relief, a conceit that never pays off in humor or pathos. The energetic youngster matched with an aging pro is nothing out of the ordinary, even for this genre in 1977, but Tomlin's Margot provides little comedic relief…
A good PI film can be a terrific piece of entertainment and this one is a success. Hell it even hot an oscar nod for best original screenplay. Who cares about the mcguffin when you have great characters like these.
Carney and Tomlin were wonderful together. Really modern Noir.
Tomlin and Carney are perfection together.
Between The Late Show and The Long Goodbye, one comes to the conclusion that too makes a pretty good neo noir exercise in the 70’s one only needed a lost cat. Benton set up is pretty simple: let veteran gumshoe Art Carney crash into Lily Tomlin with all Tomlin eccentricities in full display. The Sam Spade goes 70’s old/new dichotomy could be very schematic (and all The Maltese Falcon nods help underline that) but Benton luck out getting Carney and Tomlin as the leads and they play off each other so well that rarely matters. Whenever Carney is alone the film risks turn in just another 70’s exercise in old school nostalgia but then Benton cuts back to Tomlin with her just a new set of freshness. The labyrinthine plot dissolves in a set of odd human behavior as detecting become a matter of just observing people be and Tomlin very 70’s acting defeats the nostalgia strait-jacket.
Every film Roger Ebert has given a four-star rating. This is an ongoing project.