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Gumshoe (1971)

Inspired by his love for Dashiell Hammett novels, nightclub comedian Eddie Ginley puts an ad in the paper as a private eye. The case he gets turns out to be a strange setup and as he digs to the bottom of it his life starts falling apart.

Director:

Stephen Frears

Writer:

Neville Smith
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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Albert Finney ... Eddie Ginley
Billie Whitelaw ... Ellen
Frank Finlay ... William
Janice Rule ... Mrs. Blankerscoon
Carolyn Seymour ... Alison
Fulton Mackay ... Straker
George Innes ... Bookshop Proprietor
George Silver George Silver ... De Fries
Bill Dean ... Tommy (as Billy Dean)
Wendy Richard ... Anne Scott
Maureen Lipman ... Naomi
Neville Smith Neville Smith ... Arthur
Oscar James Oscar James ... Azinge
Joe Kenyon Joe Kenyon ... Joey (as Joey Kenyon)
Bert King Bert King ... Mal
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Storyline

Ginley (Albert Finney) is a nightclub bingo caller eager for a career change. On his thirty-first birthday, he advertises himself as a private eye in the newspaper. He dons a trench coat, and begins engaging others in rapid-fire dialogue as if he were Humphrey Bogart, or some Dashiell Hammett creation. Soon after, Ginley is phoned by a fat man, who gives him a package containing a gun, a photograph, and a large sum of money. Eventually Ginley is investigating a case involving smuggling of weapons as well as drugs. Ginley also finds himself at odds with his unsupportive brother, who offers Ginley payment to break off his investigations. Eventually Ginley learns of his brother-in-law's involvement in the crimes at hand. Ginley faces a series of daunting tasks: solving the crimes, bringing justice to the smugglers (and a murderer), as well as maintaining his safety and sanity in the process. Written by veloc <velo_00@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

the sleuth, the whole sleuth and nothing but the sleuth See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 April 1972 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

Auf leisen Sohlen See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie's producer Michael Medwin once said of this film: "Take a girl, a 'grand', and a gag. The gag being this character Eddie Ginley, who calls himself a 'gumshoe'. More or less as a lark, he puts an ad in an evening paper: 'Ginley's the name, Gumshoe's the game. Private investigations. No divorce work'. When someone takes him at his word, fantasy turns into reality, precipitating him into adventures he sometimes wishes he never started". See more »

Quotes

Eddie Ginley: Kinda broad at the shoulder and narrow at the hip, and everybody knows you don't give no lip to Big Ed!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening Columbia logo does not have the Columbia name on it, just the lady with the torch. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Red Dwarf: Gunmen of the Apocalypse (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Moulin Rouge
(uncredited)
Music by Georges Auric
Lyrics by Jacques Larue
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Listen little lady, you and I better go for a walk..."
3 May 2001 | by simon-118See all my reviews

Stephen Frears was the ideal choice to direct this quirky little gem. His first film before a prestigious career in television and then in Hollywood shows off his sensitivity, compassion and efficency as a film maker beautifully. Albert Finney gives an astounding performance as our hero, Eddie Ginley, whose life on the surface is far from glamorous. An unemployed Liverpudlian who gets by as a bingo caller and wannabe comic, he is loved by everyone except his repulsive brother William (Frank Finlay) and has recently had to suffer his girlfriend (Billie Whitelaw) leaving him and marrying the sinister William. Eddie however has a boyish love for film noir, the stories of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, and the music of Elvis. When he decides to advertise his services as a private detective, he finds himself up to his neck in murder, drug dealing and South African politics! Finney manages both a weathered Scouse accent and a remarkable impression of Bogart incredibly. He is a lovable character, excellently written and played, who could have sustained a whole series of films. Billie Whitelaw is the Lauren Bacall style femme fatale, and the outsanding Janice Rule the seductive villainess. A fine array of British character actors like Bill Dean, Fulton Mackay and George Innes sprinkle the whole film with colour and eccentricity. The in-jokes for fans of Bogart films are spot-on but anyone can enjoy this film, with some superb one liners and very touching moments. But the whole film is stolen fair and square by the soundtrack, courtesy of Andrew Lloyd Webber of all people! From fifties style rockers, to pensive strings to huge, grandiose thirties style epic themes, the score is a delight. The finest moment is suely Eddie's outwitting of the irreplaceable Fulton MacKay on a tube train. Writer Neville Smith (who plays a small role) showed a less humourous approach to a loner's hero worship of his idols in his 1979 tv play Long Distance Information, in which he played the lead character, Christian, an Elvis obsessed DJ who is working on the night of the King's death. Gumshoe is not really a comedy though, but a pastiche, affectionate and observant. It does have it's dark moments though, including a heroin suicide and a couple of moments of violence. And like any good Raymond Chandler, the plot is unbelievably complicated and the least important element!


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