7.0/10
2,015
36 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
Reviews
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

As the movie opens, the camera pans from an old typewriter to a framed photo of Martha Vickers. Vickers played Carmen Sternwood in The Big Sleep (1946), which was a Raymond Chandler story featuring his famous detective Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart). This is one of many nods to film noir of the 1940s. 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's talking to Margo]
Ira: Back in the Forties, this town was crawlin' with dollies like you. Good-lookin' coquettes tryin' their damnedest to act tough as hell. I got news for you: they did it better back then. This town doesn't change - they just push the names around. Same dames... screwin' up their lives just the same way.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Yes Man (2008) 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

 
"What was is just...what was"
28 April 2001 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

Over-the-hill gumshoe in modern day Los Angeles seeks to avenge the killing of an old pal, another older 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 and Lily Tomlin are amazingly well-matched playing the convincingly mismatched pair of sleuths who unravel the tangled mystery, and Bill Macy is equally fine as a congenial, low-life bartender-cum-talent agent. The plot of this serio-comic paean to the age of Raymond Chandler is perhaps too convoluted to follow in-depth, but that's rather easy to overlook considering it is the least important part of the picture. The begrudging, barb-filled relationship between Carney and Tomlin carries the show, and the friendship that slowly grows between them is thrilling for fans of this type of cinema. All three of the acting principals richly deserved--but did not get--Oscar nominations for their work, though the film did pick up one nomination, for Robert Benton's original screenplay. It's a chatty film, yet one which is charmingly askew and lingers in the memory like warm nostalgia. ***1/2 from ****


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