6.9/10
2,257
38 user 19 critic

The Late Show (1977)

A grumpy semi-retired private investigator partners with a quirky female client to catch the people who murdered his partner.

Director:

Robert Benton

Writer:

Robert Benton
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Art Carney ... Ira Wells
Lily Tomlin ... Margo Sterling
Bill Macy ... Charlie Hatter
Eugene Roche ... Ron Birdwell
Joanna Cassidy ... Laura Birdwell
John Considine ... Jeff Lamar
Ruth Nelson ... Mrs. Schmidt
John Davey John Davey ... Sergeant Dayton
Howard Duff ... Harry Regan
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ethel Reschke Ethel Reschke
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Storyline

Ira Wells is an aged retired Los Angeles, California based private investigator comes out of retirement when a former partner, Harry Regan, shows up on his doorstep with a bullet wound to the gut, and dies. Ira wants to find out who killed Harry. Ira is contacted by another long-time acquaintance, Charlie Hatter, a self-proclaimed loser and Hollywood hack, about Harry's last case. Harry's client was Margo Sterling, a former client of Charlie's who is a flaky penniless new-age actress, agent, and dress maker. She hired Harry to retrieve her missing cat, Winston, who is still being held ransom by an acquaintance named Brian Hemphill, who stole Winston because Margo "borrowed" money. With all this, Ira has to figure out what would be the reason for someone to kill Harry. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A classic murder mystery with an offbeat twist. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bill Macy's character drives a 1957 Cadillac convertible. See more »

Goofs

Margo complains, after tasting her drink, that it is Pepsi, not the Coke she ordered. She then pours more from the initially out of shot Pepsi can. She would have known it was Pepsi from the can, either when Charlie poured the drink or when he put the can on the bar top. See more »

Quotes

Margo Sperling: [Ira has doubled over and collapsed from severe stomach pain] Ira, wait a second. We'll get you to the hospital.
Ira: I'm not going to any goddamn hospital.
Margo Sperling: You gotta' go to the hospital, so they can find out what's wrong with you.
Ira: I know what's wrong with me. I got a perforated ulcer. It's starting to bleed again. They get me in the hospital, they'll want to operate.
Margo Sperling: Let them. That's better than walking around like this.
Ira: I will not go through another goddamn operation.
Margo Sperling: Lay back down. There's nothing...
[...]
See more »


Soundtracks

What Was
Lyrics by Stephen Lehner
Music by Kenneth Wannberg (as Ken Wannberg)
Sung by Bev Kelly
See more »

User Reviews

 
The great cat caper
29 January 2017 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

In The Late Show Art Carney may have created the most broken down action hero ever on the big screen. In fact his role here is in keeping with the Oscar he won playing irascible old codgers in Harry And Tonto and whom he would continue to play for the rest of his big screen career. The man truly reinvented himself after being so identified as Ed Norton of sewer repair on The Honeymooners.

Probably at the height of the noir era in film post World War II Carney could have done private eye roles like Humphrey Bogart and Alan Ladd. But now he's retired from the business has a bad leg, wears a hearing aid and rents a room from an indulgent landlady Ruth Nelson.

Until his old partner still in the game comes to him with a fatal bullet in his chest. An inside joke if you will because the partner is played by Howard Duff who was Sam Spade for years on radio. And at Duff's funeral he meets quirky former actress Lily Tomlin who was Duff's last client. She hired Duff to find her missing cat.

The cat however is key and before the film ends several of the cast wind up dead. It's a well assembled ensemble who support Carney and Tomlin. Joanna Cassidy as the femme fatale, Eugene Roche as a fence, Bill Macy as a bartender/tipster who tries to play both ends, and John Considine are all at the top of their game.

But Carney is a wonder, he's got great chemistry with Tomlin and he's got great moves as well. Wish I had some of them.


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Details

Official Sites:

Warner Bros.

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 July 1977 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

The Late Show See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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