A year after Sheila is killed in a hit-and-run, her multi-millionaire husband invites a group of friends to spend a week on his yacht playing a scavenger hunt-style mystery game. The game turns out to be all too real and all too deadly.
Andrew Wyke is a famous and successful author of detective novels. Milo Tindle comes to him with a strange request, that Mr Wyke divorce his wife so that Tindle can marry her. Mr Wyke is not particularly perturbed by this, he and his wife have drifted apart, and he is having an affair with another woman anyway, but uses the meeting and Mr Tindle's request as a chance to play a game, a game with potentially deadly consequences.Written by
John Addison was nominated for an Oscar for his music score. However, he was not originally among the five nominees when the nominations were announced. He was added to the list after the score for The Godfather (1972) was deemed ineligible. See more »
(at around 5 mins) When Wyke is dictating his novel at the beginning of the movie, the microphone he uses is alternately in his hands/on the stone bench between shots. See more »
To me, "Sleuth" is a demonstration of the problem with the Oscars (certainly a problem in 1972, and perhaps now also). The problem was that, even before the casting was done for the film of Mario Puzo's "The Godfather," everyone knew that whoever played the leading role was going to receive the Best Actor Oscar, irrespective of the performance. To rate Brando's performance above the performances of Caine and Olivier that year is nothing short of ludicrous. All I can say is thank God that at least Joel Grey received the best support Oscar for "Cabaret" that year.
I first saw Anthony Schaffer's play on the London stage about two years prior to the release of the movie. The leading roles were taken by Paul Rogers and Donal Donnelly, two fine English actors who were superb in these parts. I remember thinking what a difficult thing it would be to make a film of this, but I was sure that someone would try it and make a mess of it. How wrong I was!
I note that "Sleuth" comes up as #250 in the IMDB top 250. I recently selected my top 100 and it comes up at #55. This is a magnificent movie that keeps one on the edge of the seat for its entire length. The performances of the two leads as they play the same game a number of times is stunning. Here is the man acknowledged as perhaps the greatest actor of the 20th century, and here is the Cockney up-start Caine (famous for his "kitchen-sink" roles such as in "Alfie") matching him at every turn and often soaring above him.
But in saying all this, I need to put in a plug for perhaps the finest supporting performances ever delivered. Alec Cawthorne, a man few have heard of outside "Sleuth," is mesmerising as Doppler, while John Matthews and Eve Channing, although having very minor parts, imbue every nuance of their performances with ethereal splendour.
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