Sunday, January 2, 2011

1977 - THE LATE SHOW, good offbeat little film mystery

A riff on what would have happened to Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe character if he was a senior citizen.

The writer/director Robert Benton filmed a private eye mystery with about eight characters.  The chief characters being Art Carney as the aging private eye and Lily Tomlin as a goofy southern California sort of actress who hires Carney to find her missing pet.  

The Late Show, has the authentic Los Angeles atmosphere.  The characters are all small time hustlers or grifters.  As in any Raymond Chandler novel, the plot is less important than the character interaction and individually entertaining scenes. 

The Late Show was a favorite of the critics when it came out in 1977.  However, audiences did not make it a success.  It's easy to see why.  The film is clever and well acted, but it's just a little too laid back and offbeat to appeal to mainstream audiences.  This is a minor but well made, entertaining and well acted film.

93 minutes. 

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