I've been a fan of private eye novels ever since I checked out THIS IS IT, MICHAEL SHAYNE from the bookmobile that came out to our little town every Saturday morning from the public library in the county seat. That would have been about 1965. By the Seventies, I'd read dozens, if not hundreds, of private eye novels, and movies in that genre were beginning to become important to me as well. Some were classics, like THE MALTESE FALCON and THE BIG SLEEP, while others were just coming out then, such as CHINATOWN.
A private eye movie from the mid-Seventies that had a definite influence on me was NIGHT MOVES, starring Gene Hackman as private investigator Harry Moseby. Directed by Arthur Penn from an original screenplay by Alan Sharp (who was also credited with the novelization of the movie, which I read, although I don't know if he actually wrote it), NIGHT MOVES puts Moseby through what by then were the familiar paces of the private eye yarn, Ross Macdonald style: the search for a missing daughter (in this case a stepdaughter), the sinister influence of the past on the present, the evils that lurk in family relationships, the ever-present danger of corruption.
But familiar or not, when those elements are put together in the right way, they work very, very well, and NIGHT MOVES does an excellent job of that. If you read the forums on the IMDB page for this movie, you'll find people pontificating about how it's not really a private eye movie or even a mystery movie, it's all about existentialism and the characters. Well, everybody's got their own opinion, and of course I don't know what the filmmakers intended, but to me this is just a good solid private eye yarn with a great performance from Gene Hackman.
As for the influence it had on me, well, it was only a couple of years later that I wrote TEXAS WIND, and while I've always thought that Ross Macdonald was the biggest influence on that book, there's some NIGHT MOVES in there as well, primarily in the way Gene Hackman played Harry Moseby. I've always thought that Hackman would have made a good Cody. Probably nobody else who read that book or the Cody stories ever saw him that way, but I did. Your opinion, of course, is just as valid as mine. But if you like private eye movies and haven't seen NIGHT MOVES, I remember it as being well worth watching.