6.5/10
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The Cheap Detective (1978)

San Francisco, 1940, detectives, dames, documents, Nazis, and a treasure.

Director:

Robert Moore

Writer:

Neil Simon
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Falk ... Lou Peckinpaugh
Ann-Margret ... Jezebel Dezire
Eileen Brennan ... Betty DeBoop
Sid Caesar ... Ezra Dezire
Stockard Channing ... Bess
James Coco ... Marcel
Dom DeLuise ... Pepe Damascus
Louise Fletcher ... Marlene DuChard
John Houseman ... Jasper Blubber
Madeline Kahn ... Mrs. Montenegro
Fernando Lamas ... Paul DuChard
Marsha Mason ... Georgia Merkle
Phil Silvers ... Hoppy
Abe Vigoda ... Sgt. Rizzuto
Paul Williams ... Boy
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Storyline

Lou Peckinpaugh, the Cheap detective has entered a world that is half Casablanca and half Maltese Falcon. A parody of Bogart's films in which Lou goes through a series of scenes from the two movies trying to keep ahead of the police who think he killed his partner and find the black bird. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He knows every cheap trick, cheap joke, cheap shot and cheap dame in the book. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

23 June 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Neil Simon's The Cheap Detective See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In order to cash in on the box-office success of this film's predecessor Murder by Death (1976) (which was a parody of locked-room mystery thrillers), some posters for this follow up (which is different, a spoof of 1940s private eye, film noir and foreign intrigue thrillers) were designed with cartoons of 15 characters (evoking a cast of suspects) situated under a giant headline that read "Who Dunnit?". See more »

Goofs

The movie takes place in 1940, yet the song sung in the nightclub is 'La Vie En Rose' which was not written until 1946. See more »

Quotes

Jasper Blubber: You drink, of course?
Lou Peckinpaugh: Why not?
Jasper Blubber: One gin sling!
Lou Peckinpaugh: I'd rather have a brandy.
Jasper Blubber: Won Jin Sling is the *waiter*. One brandy, Won Jin Sling.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: In 1939, the ominous grey clouds of war broke loose over Western Europe and rained down havoc and destruction . . . followed by humidity and gradual clearing.

In the Philippines, a small band of native guerrillas prepared secretly for the inevitable conflict that would soon engulf the East . . . This has nothing to do with our story.

Our story is about crime. Not the bad crime we face each day on our streets . . . but the good crime we came to know and love in a time when the world was innocent ... when murder wasn't something you were ashamed of ... when a bullet hole wasn't something disgusting . . . and when a man could betray a woman without feeling guilty. Our story starts in a fictitious city called San Francisco ... seven thousand miles away from Casablanca. See more »

Connections

Spoofs A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

Deep Purple
(uncredited)
Music by Peter De Rose
Lyrics by Mitchell Parish
Sung by Peter Falk and Eileen Brennan at Nix Place
Also played at the bar when Peckinpaugh is talking to Blubber
See more »

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User Reviews

Smart humor. Almost too smart.
4 May 2004 | by BlueghostSee all my reviews

"The Cheap Detective," as others have observed, is a sendup of two of Bogart's most famous films. The film's opening sequence sets the stage of the humor styleings which acts as both a setup and warning for the casual viewer.

The humor is smart, but almost too clever for its own good. It's funny, but you almost have to be a Neil Simon fan (or at least in tune with his writing style) to really get the gags. Not entirely true, because if you keep an open mind, and understand all or most of the references, you should have a good time :-)

Otherwise the film might go over your head, or rather you'll understand that there's supposed to be a joke at a certain moment, but won't get the entire gist because you might be unfamiliar with the material being referenced. Hence the reason why I called the film almost too clever for its own good.

It helps to be familiar with both "Casablanca" and "The Maltese Falcon" to really get all of the "in-stuff" within Simon's film. Even so there's a good amount of regular humor that should help boost the appeal to those already in the know, and at the same time salvage a film for those not.

And yeah, Anne Margaret never looked better :-)

A fairly good watch, but not for everyone.


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