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.
The nicest movie you'll ever see about murder and blackmail. [Lobby Card]
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Did You Know?
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
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
[Ira's talking to Margo
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.
Referenced in Yes Man
Lyrics by Stephen Lehner
Music by Kenneth Wannberg
(as Ken Wannberg)
Sung by Bev Kelly See more