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Sleuth (1972)

Laurence Olivier , Michael Caine , Joseph L. Mankiewicz  |  PG |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Laurence Olivier, Michael Caine, Alec Cawthorne, John Matthews (II), Margo Channing
  • Directors: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, Italian
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: February 5, 2002
  • Run Time: 139 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005R24G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,277 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sleuth" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Wit, mind-bending plot twists, and a stellar cast headed by Sir Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine put this thriller in a class by itself. A corrosive relationship between two wily rivals threatens to turn deadly. Joseph L. Mankiewicz's directorial swan song, this masterpiece received four Oscar® nominations. 2 hours 15 min.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS IS THE NEW & IMPROVED DVD EDITION!!! February 13, 2002
By A Customer
Most of the reviews here refer to the OLD DVD edition (notice they are all from 2000 or before). The edition offered here is NEW, and a vast improvement. Don't let the old reviews prevent you from buying this new DVD.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still marvelous despite technical flaws July 28, 2000
Reading the reviews here, they all seem to make two points: 1) this is a wonderful film, and 2) this is a terrible DVD.

Well, #1 is definitely true. This is a wonderful film, deliciously dark. Marvelously written, directed, and acted. To tell much would endanger giving away the plot, but the basis of the story is a proposition by Olivier's aging writer to Caine's virile salon owner (who happens to be sleeping with Olivier's wife)of a scheme to rid Olivier of his wife for good and guarantee Caine financial security. The ride starts there and never stops. Cynical viewers (like myself) who think they're clever enough to stay two steps ahead will think they can anticipate all of the twists and turns, and they may catch a few ahead of time, but I can guarantee that any viewer will be delighted with the surprises this film has in store. Just when you think you know which way it's going it turns again. Just when you think it's over, there's a bit more.

As far as #2 goes, I don't have too many bad things to say about the DVD presentation. Yes, the ratio is barely 1.66:1. Yes, the sound is of middling quality. And, yes, you do have to flip the disc halfway through. BUT - it appears as if this DVD has fallen out of print, so I'm sure an improved reissue is around the corner. This film is worth having in any form regardless - it's the type of picture you won't mind paying for twice.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The viewer can only watch and be enthralled January 18, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
The 1972 release, SLEUTH, is one of those movies that one watches, and then exclaims, "Wow!"
Michael Caine plays Milo Tindle, a lowborn, cheeky hairdresser called down from London to visit Andrew Wyke on his rambling country estate. Andrew, played by Sir Laurence Olivier, is a class conscious, game-addicted, petty snob who writes award-winning detective stories. Milo also happens to be having an affair with Andrew's wife, Marguerite. On the other hand, Andrew is currently dallying with a local masseuse, Téa. Both men have cash flow problems. Milo hasn't enough to keep Marguerite in the lifestyle to which she's become accustomed, and Andrew has been beggared by ruinous British taxes. So, Andrew, being a self-proclaimed expert on crime whose literary detective creation, Lord Merrydew, always manages to make the official constabulary look like fools, invites Milo to join him in a mutually lucrative scam. The Plan: a suitably costumed Milo will "burgle" jewelry from Andrew's safe, fence it for an enormous sum, and be free to marry Marguerite, while Andrew happily collects the insurance money and enjoys his Siren of the moment. Andrew is not completely happy about his wife's adultery, but, after all, true gentleman can come to some convenient arrangement. Quite right!
Thus begins an intricate series of role-within-role-playing games played magnificently by these two phenomenal English actors. From the viewers' perspective, the challenge is to determine when the make-believe ends and real life reasserts itself. Thus, not only is SLEUTH an absorbing mystery story, but the roles within roles also create a resounding paean to the profession of acting. After SLEUTH, I don't think it was quite so cleverly done until 1997's FACE-OFF.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New and Improved DVD! February 14, 2002
For those of you who have been disappointed by the version of Sleuth in the white box, take heart and trade up to the black one. The film is widescreen, entirely presented on one side, and the sound is excellent. In addition, the DVD includes an interview with playwright Andrew Shaffer about the conception, original staging and film adaptation of "Sleuth." If you haven't already seen this most brilliant of screen thrillers, please kill yourself now.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Making a game out of real murder...and making it fun. January 20, 2004
The idea of a movie with only two actors in it may not sound overly exciting, but when you watch "Sleuth" for the first time, you realize that it couldn't have worked any other way. For many years, "Sleuth" has been one of my favorite movies, and remains so to this day. It is cleverly written and superbly acted by both Michael Caine (my all time favorite actor) and Sir Laurence Olivier.
The tag line "Think of the perfect crime...then go one step further" describes exactly what the movie is all about. Olivier plays Andrew Wyke, an eccentric and revered mystery writer invites Milo Tindle (Caine) over to his mansion over a weekend in order to discuss the terms of his affair with his wife. Wyke is known as a lover of toys, games, and deviously cunning games of trickery that he plays on people. Wyke has known for some time that Tindle has been having an affair with his wife, and that he intends to marry her. Wyke sees an opportunity to unload his wife, without the possibility of her coming back and getting deeper into his pocketbook. Knowing him to be broke, Wyke proposes to Tindle a robbery scheme that will solve both of their problems. Things got a bit awry. What happens next would be criminal to give away, but it is one of the most brilliantly crafted farces I have ever seen in a movie.
"Sleuth" was adapted from the stage play by Anthony Shaffer, and it plays out very much like the play itself. There is one setting, two actors, and lots of dialogue. It works very well, because it wasn't overdone in production. I cannot see how this could have worked with a more elaborate setting or cast. What carries the movie are the performances by Caine and Olivier, which ranks among their personal best (and picking ones from such distinguished careers is hard).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Superb script and acting all around -- terrific play. Good ending.
Published 19 days ago by Niels Menko
5.0 out of 5 stars I had never seen this movie - a friend recommended it. If you haven't...
I had never seen this movie - a friend recommended it. If you haven't had the experience, I highly recommend it. The acting is incredible - classic!
Published 1 month ago by Terri Russell
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 years on and still GREAT
My second favorite Olivier film.....I love this film...Olivier and Caine were magic together in this film..... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Joshua W
5.0 out of 5 stars Why would they ever try to remake such a perfect film?
Here is a movie with three competing, perfectly riveting stars: Olivier; Caine; and the country mansion with a thousand wonders, toys, and delights. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Alice4447
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Lawrence Jamieson...Meet St. John Lord Merridew, a Dirty Rotten...
Viewed: 1/14
Rate: 10

1/14: Sleuth is a rare two-man show that succeeds largely by its writing and acting together. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Austin Somlo
4.0 out of 5 stars Except for the subtitles in another language
We are really enjoying this movie. It was a gift for my mom and she is thrilled. Thank you so much for the prompt service.
Published 7 months ago by Jacqueline Galis
1.0 out of 5 stars Mean movie
This is one mean movie. I gave it away after one viewing. No interest to see it again. So sorry.
Published 8 months ago by Readsalot
1.0 out of 5 stars Broken DVD
The video had no sound. It was a gift for my mother and when she tried to play it there was no sound. I am very disappointed.
Published 9 months ago by Jacqueline Galis
5.0 out of 5 stars great acting
Lots of twists which are all part of the fun, so I won't reveal them here. But the real reason to watch this movie is to see Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Robert Watson
5.0 out of 5 stars deceit, hard feelings, and class contempt - two Englishmen at play
In 1972 SLEUTH treated its audience to a brilliant (and deadly) cat-and-mouse game between Sir Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine. Read more
Published 15 months ago by H. Bala
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