Gumshoe (1971)

gumshoe-1971-poster

This sounded incredible from the description and I pushed it up my “to watch list” and stuck it on the box last night.

Nightclub bingo caller and standup comedian, if he can get some stage time, also dreams up the idea of being a private eye detective. Starring Albert Finney as Eddie Ginley, he puts an advert in the paper and receives his first job, a mysterious package from The Fat Man, filled with cash, photos, addresses and a gun!

Tagline – Ginley’s a gumshoe. Ginley’s got guts. Ginley’s got a gun.

gumshoe-1971eddie-stand-up
“I can still enjoy sex at 74 – I live at 75, so it’s no distance.” – Bob Monkhouse

It has blackmail, murder, a hitman, femme fatales, love triangle, deceit. Set to the backdrop of a dark and gloomy backstreets of Liverpool and London in the early 70’s it really does sound right up my street.

Tagline – Who runs this ruthless power game with blackmail, violence – and murder?

gumshoe-1971-fat-man-and-eddieMany of the problems I came across for me was struggling with the confusing plot and if I’m honest the back and forth of Eddie Ginley’s Liverpool accent one moment and then film Noir dialect the next, imagine a Humphrey Bogart style, “Here’s looking at you kid” “Play it again Sam” It may of been down to my late viewing but to be frank I just don’t think it worked for me in my honest opinion.

gumshoe-1971eddie-cafe-london-bus
In Too Deep? Nice cup of Rosie Lee will sort that

By far worst of all was how racist the language got. Honestly you expect it in some films of this era and nature and it doesn’t really bother me but this was quite relentless in places and I can imagine how it must effect it chances to be shown on the telly nowadays.

gumshoe-1971-eddie-and-hitman-strakerBig plus points in the film though were all the scenes between Eddie and the Scottish hitman Straker played by Fulton Mackay (Porridge). I liked the mystery of the South African Fat Man De Fries (George Silver).

Also the Broadway Club scenes were ace with the saxophone jazz owner Tommy (Bill Dean). Ellen’s (Billie Whitelaw) sports car is sweet beyond belief, a beautiful white Lotus Europa. You also get a bunch of ladies that all could compete for who’s going to be the Femme Fatale?

Actually more I write and think about it the better I feel about this film.

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Broadway Club and the Lotus Europa

Tagline – the sleuth, the whole sleuth and nothing but the sleuth

British television viewers will be thrilled to see young stars like Wendy Richard, Maureen Lipman and Billie Whitelaw giving off feisty dialogue lead banter in parts throughout the film. And Oscar James aka Tony Carpenter from Eastenders.

gumshoe-1971maureen-lipman-and-albert-finney
Maureen Lipman flirting in the library
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Wendy Richard flirty in the office.

This is the directing debut of Stephen Frears who has made countless excellent films like my favourites The Hit and The Grifters, High Fidelity to name but a few. It was written by Neville Smith who also has a small role as Arthur.

Now my twisted mind would of liked the film to have all been in his head. Because it starts at the beginning with Eddie visiting his psychiatrist and I was hoping for a reveal that he is in fact quite mad and maybe seen him in a straightjacket in hospital. But I understand it would’ve been a bit dark hehe.

So I had mixed feelings about this film but felt compelled to post about it and doing so has made me appreciate it a whole lot more than I did last night. So thats a Wolfie bonus.

Further Reading Links

New York Times Review 1972

Gumshoes (1971) WIKI

Gumshoe (1971) IMDB

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