Columbia studios teamed with Albert Finney’s Memorial Enterprises to release this would be satire of Humphrey Bogart flicks. We have Sam Spade references, a Fat Man character, voice over narrations and a trench coat for good measure. What we really need here is broader comedy. Writer Neville Smith tries to get all the customary noir aspects of a Bogart film into the short 86 minute running time. Problem is it’s just not that funny. We even get some lines from Jimmy Dean’s Big Bad John lyrics coming from Finney’s wisecracking comedian turned private eye. Fans of soundtracks take note that the film was scored by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Sadly I must admit that I would have preferred this to be a serious gangland film from one of British cinema’s best era’s. Britain turned out some great gangland films during the early 70’s like Get Carter and gritty violent ones such as Villain and Sitting Target. Albert Finney has the look and feel of caged violence set to explode which fits the mold of a tough no nonsense gumshoe but the problem is we’re doing comedy. If you do feel the need to see all Bogart satires (like me), it is out on DVD.
Interesting concept but since I haven’t seen it, I went to imdb to learn more, and I see a lot of similar opinions, ie concept not quite pulled off. Billie Whitelaw was often seen in those UK crime movies you point to. Really fun fact about Andrew Lloyd Webber, his first composing job! Nice read 🙂
For me Billie Whitelaw will always be Mrs. Baylock. Scaring the heck out of me as she protects Damien from all those who would harm him. “Never fear little one. I am hear to protect thee.” I am honored that you are the first to leave a comment on my writings. 🙂