Created by Neville Smith
“He looked like the kind of guy your mother would like to marry your sister. If you had a mother. If you had a sister.”
— the opening lines from Gumshoe
The sleuth, the whole sleuth and nothing but the sleuth…
Stephen Frears’ served notice with his directorial debut, a slice of BritWit about EDDIE GINLEY, a Liverpudlian down-but-not-quite-out bingo caller and P.I. wanna-be (Albert Finney) who decides to place an ad in the classified section, soliciting work as a private eye. It’s all a lark, just a gag to celebrate his thirty-first birthday, but then someone actually hires him to solve a real case.
Soon he’s up to his stiff upper lip in heroin smugglers, African politics, gun-running and all sorts of fun stuff. The awkward transition of Eddie from a stumbling, mild-mannered bloke to a hard-boiled Yankee gumshoe is a joy to behold. And then there’s the back-and-forth tennis-match dialogue between Ginley and the would-be femme fatale (played by Wendy Richard) that seems to have been picked up over the cutting room floor from Howard Hawks’ version of The Big Sleep. For private eye buffs, this one’s a keeper.
Neville Smith, an obvious fan of the shamus game, wrote the screenplay, and then turned it into a novel.
Frears has gone on to direct some pretty memorable films, including The Hit, My Beautiful Laundrette, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid and The Grifters, based on the Jim Thompson novel, with a screenplay by Donald Westlake.
- “A movie like Shamus makes me appreciate a movie like Gumshoe, which is at least partly another way of saying that an actor like Burt Reynolds makes me appreciate an actor like Albert Finney.”
— Andrew Sarris (1973, The Village Voice)
- “It’s one of the better British private eye outings that feels as if everyone involved had actually seen and loved the films they were both honoring and poling affectionate fun at.”
— David Vineyard on Mystery*File
- GUMSHOE | Buy this video | Buy this DVD | Buy the Blu-Ray | Watch it now!
(1972, Memorial Enterprises)88 minutes
Screenplay by Neville Smith
Directed by Stephen Frears
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Starring Albert Finney as EDDIE GINLEY
Also starring Billie Whitelaw, Frank Finlay, Janice Rule, Carolyn Seymour, Fulton Mackay, George Innes, George Silver, Billy Dean, Wendy Richard, Maureen Lipman, Neville Smith, Oscar James, Joe Kenyon, Bert King
- Gumshoe (1972) | Buy this book
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.