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Gumshoe 1972

NR CC
4.2 out of 5 stars (22) IMDb 6.5/10

Albert Finney stars as a bingo-caller who, bored with his mundane existence, takes out a newspaper ad offering his services as a private detective. In no time at all, Finney finds himself involved in a series of plots and counterplots.

Starring:
Albert Finney, Billie Whitelaw
Runtime:
1 hour, 25 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Mystery, Comedy
Director Stephen Frears
Starring Albert Finney, Billie Whitelaw
Supporting actors Frank Finlay, Janice Rule, Carolyn Seymour, Fulton Mackay, George Innes, George Silver, Bill Dean, Wendy Richard, Maureen Lipman, Neville Smith, Oscar James, Joe Kenyon, Bert King, Christopher Cunningham, Ken Jones, Tom Kempinski, Harry Hutchinson, Ernie Mack and The Saturated Seven
Studio Columbia Pictures
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am so pleased this long neglected film is finally being released on DVD! I have owned the VHS version for almost 20 years, and have worried the tape would degrade before it would become available on DVD. I re-watched my VHS of Gumshoe recently. Though it's been a few years since I had viewed it, it remains my favorite movie of both Albert Finney and Stephen Frears. To enjoy it you have to realize it is pastiche, a tongue in cheek tribute to those old film noir detective films of the 1940s. It is fun and interesting to watch from that aspect. The musical score is hysterical and the dialogue is fast, sharp, and laced with dry humor. Americans without an attuned ear to English accents may have a little trouble following, but it is worth the effort, even if you have to replay certain scenes.

Though it couldn't have been a challenging performance for an actor of Finney's caliber, he and the entire cast are terrific. If you are a British Cinema film buff, watching this 1972 production today, one almost feels as if you are seeing a piece of motion picture history, with an amazingly talented cast that includes Frank Finlay, Billie Whitelaw and Fulton Mackay. Add to this it was Stephen Frears movie directorial debut and Andrew Lloyd Webber is credited for the music.

Other trivia:
--Gumshoe was a Memorial Enterprises production. This is the production company formed by Finney and Michael Medwin in the 1960s that also produced breakthrough films such as Lindsay Anderson's "If" and "O Lucky Man" and Mike Leigh's first film, "Bleak Moments", and Finney's own masterpiece, "Charlie Bubbles". Medwin is credited as Producer on Gumshoe, as he is on most or all of M.E. productions.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Here's a terrific little film that's never gotten its proper due. Yes, it works wonderfully as a comedy, filled with funny & fascinating characters, as well as being an affectionate parody of classic Bogart detective films. But there's more to it than that ...

Albert Finney provides us with a compelling, funny, yet sometimes sad study of Eddie Ginley, a man reluctant to grow up, reluctant to let go of the dreams & fantasies of childhood. The comparison with his older, more realistic, businessman brother couldn't be sharper -- especially when we learn that his brother wound up marrying Eddie's girlfriend, because Eddie wasn't quite prepared for marriage & all that it entails.

It's telling & deeply moving, for instance, when in the midst of solving the real-life mystery which has enveloped him, Eddie runs into an old friend. The two stop to converse & catch up, reminiscing about favorite rock 'n' roll songs, teenage exploits ... and almost in passing, the friend reveals that he's married & has children. Eddie is both touched & a little lost. There's a pervading sense of, "Where did the past go?"

Yet Eddie isn't a loser. If he's let fantasy enrich his life at the expense of some maturity, he hasn't succumbed to the banality & corruption of "realistic" life, as represented by his older brother. And if the world isn't as neatly black & white as a classic detective film, there's still a difference between right & wrong, however wide the gray area between them.

By the time we get to the end of the story, and the mystery has been resolved, Eddie's definitely matured ... yet without entirely losing the richness of his fantasy life.
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Format: VHS Tape
I've followed most of Finney's films from the beginning, as I always find him amusing and his eye for unusual roles and interesting scripts has kept me keen. Add in the directing skills of Stephen Frears and some good English character actors and you're bound to have a good time.
I've always paired this one with "Wolfen", made about a decade later, in which he also plays a detective. While that one was a supernatural thriller set in New York with dizzy editing effects and great location sets, this one is a grittier and more whimsical take on 1940s' detective/crime thrillers, set in Liverpool.
Finney's character here is a keen observer, film buff and and fantasiser, and is responsible for some wonderful punning dialogue, perhaps a trait that was of its time and better suited to novels, but in Finney's hands it comes off.
It's a film not for mainstream tastes, perhaps, as it's decidedly quirky, and no doubt why a number of critics didn't enthuse about the film. But for wit in the script, acting and direction this one is from the top drawer. Definitely overdue for DVD release.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am still trying to figure out what makes a film a "Martini Movie," but this is the best one in the series so far. An alarmingly young Albert Finney plays a bored Liverpuddlian would-be comedian who places an advertisement promoting himself as a private eye and gets more than he bargained for. This early Stephen Frears film is both a sendup and a celebration of pulp private-eye film noir, tight, crisp, clever without being precious, darkly comic, and downright scary when it needs to be. Finney bounces off the always electric Frank Finlay as his shipping magnate brother, as well as at least two delicious femmes fatales in the most welcome persons of Billie Whitelaw and Janice Rule. The witty soundtrack score is by some hungry young dude named Andrew Lloyd Weber.
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