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Mystery Movies - Gumshoe - Albert Finney

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Gumshoe
Albert Finney, George Silver, Janice Rule
Directed by Stephen Frears
Widescreen 1:66
Originally released 1971
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2009
88 minutes

Gumshoe is a British mystery DVD that pokes mild fun at American film noir and private investigator movies and novels while paying all due respect to them. Part of Sony’s Martini Movies collection, Gumshoe is a fun mystery with the usual dry British wit.

Albert Finney plays Eddie Ginley, a small-time comedian who decides to add a little fun in his life and advertise as a private eye. Eddie talks the talk but has not yet walked the walked. He immediately gets a call from a fat man, goes to a hotel room, picks up a parcel in which there is his fee and instructions. He then takes the bus to go to his nightclub job: some P.I.

He opens the parcel and finds the picture of a woman (Janice Rule), a gun, and a thousand pounds. Ginley thinks he is being put upon by a friend so goes around trying to figure out whose idea of a joke this is. Turns out it is not somebody’s idea of a joke, the job is real, and his dockworker brother is less than pleased about his advertising as a P.I. Soon, other people aside from his brother try to convince him the private eye business is not his cuppa or that leaving town would be a good idea.

What makes Gumshoe fun is how it parades all the tropes of the film noir and mystery novel in jest yet without mocking any. For example, the usual dramatic musical cue is used at the most innocuous moment for no particular reason; the dialogue is straight hardboiled detective yet but tongue in cheek at the same time. This makes for a really delightful experience for fans of the genre without distracting from a very good story.

Eddie spends a lot of time being warned off and stuff in the first half of Gumshoe but the mystery does pick up, making for a fun to watch DVD.

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