This is another private eye movie, from a year or so after NIGHT MOVES, which I wrote about last week. THE LATE SHOW stars Art Carney and Lily Tomlin, and with a cast like that, it's considerably cuter than the bleak NIGHT MOVES, as you'd expect. It even has Tomlin's character hiring Carney's private eye character to find her kidnapped cat. Cozy, you might be thinking . . . well, other than the fact that the movie starts with Carney's partner showing up with a bullet in the belly.
Yes, even though there's a cat in it, this movie is pretty darned hardboiled, and as usual in the genre, nothing is what it seems. Carney and Tomlin play off each other very well, and the rest of the cast – Bill Macy, the beautiful Joanna Cassiday, even Howard Duff, speaking of private eyes – do a fine job, too. Robert Benton, who wrote and/or directed some of the top movies of the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties such as BONNIE AND CLYDE, KRAMER VS. KRAMER, and PLACES IN THE HEART, puts together a really entertaining film that falls solidly in the private eye genre. That said, while I enjoyed THE LATE SHOW a lot, I don't think it had the same impact on me that NIGHT MOVES did. I guess I'm just a grim, existential kinda guy.
That ends my brief trip back to the Seventies, although I don't rule out a return trip there in the future.