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Thread: Sleuth (1972)

  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Must-have movies: Sleuth (1972)



    The classics that every film-lover will want to own. This week, Tom Cox admires an underrated, eccentric thriller



    Of the two memorable British films scripted by Anthony Shaffer in the early 1970s, it's The Wicker Man that bags the cult plaudits, but Sleuth, from the previous year, is possibly the more accomplished - sharper in its plotting and barely less spooky.



    Centred on a cuckolded mystery novelist (Laurence Olivier) and his wife's lover (Michael Caine), and the games they play on one another in the former's rural retreat, it is a film that works best on its first viewing, but offers surprising rewards on repeat visits.



    I have watched Sleuth six times, and still it wrongfoots me, such is the nimbleness of its storyline, the denseness of its mind games. It begins as eccentrically as it goes on: Caine's Milo Tindle searching for Olivier's Andrew Wyke in a maze, after accepting an invitation to discuss Wyke's wife's future. First, Wyke has the upper-hand, as he guides Tindle through his creepy, mansion, tricks him into staging a break-in for insurance purposes, and shoots him with a blank.



    In the following two hours, however, the power swings repeatedly, as each makes the other sure his life is about to end, until this is less a film about two men arguing over a woman than a lethal, unadulterated battle of intelligence. It's a tribute to the intoxicating lack of breathing space that it's easy to forget that only two actors are involved.



    One day, I'll know each twist by heart, but even then, I'm sure there'll be plenty to enjoy - not least the strong, dual sense of nostalgia: for the crooked, dying way of English life that Wyke represents, and for that early 1970s period of unease-inducing moviemaking (Don't Look Now, Witchfinder General) that Sleuth epitomises.

  2. #2
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    Didn't Sleuth have a cast list of non-existent actors for the extra characters played by Olivier and Caine?

    Sleuth provided Olivier with one of his finest performances,alongside Bunny Lake Is Missing,Battle of Britain and Boys From Brazil.

    Ta Ta

    MArky B thumbs_u

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    I recently watched the Laurence Olivier/Michael Caine film "Sleuth". What a wonderul film it is.

    I noticed that a certain stressed but certainly Charming Stretford poet borrowed dialogue from the film in the early eighties. The following lines were shouted by Oliver to Caine;

    "You're just a jumped up pantry boy who doesn't know his place"

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    Super Moderator Country: UK christoph404's Avatar
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    I recently watched the Laurence Olivier/Michael Caine film "Sleuth". What a wonderul film it is.

    I noticed that a certain stressed but certainly Charming Stretford poet borrowed dialogue from the film in the early eighties. The following lines were shouted by Oliver to Caine;

    "You're just a jumped up pantry boy who doesn't know his place"
    As well as being a James Dean fan I think Morrisey is also a Michael Caine fan! its quite a memorable line from the film, it made me smile when the song first came out in the 80s and its not the only time Morrisey has used movie iconography and dialogue for his music, for example one of his record sleeves features a rather mad photo of Carry On's Charles Hawtrey.

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    Senior Member Country: Great Britain mariocki's Avatar
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    ....and a picture of Richard Bradford in Man In A Suitcase.

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    Johnny Marr said in an interview that Morrissey wrote to both Charles Hawtrey and Linda McCartney in regards to playing piano on "The Queen is Dead". They both turned the offer down but what a thought....

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    As well as being a James Dean fan I think Morrisey is also a Michael Caine fan! its quite a memorable line from the film, it made me smile when the song first came out in the 80s and its not the only time Morrisey has used movie iconography and dialogue for his music, for example one of his record sleeves features a rather mad photo of Carry On's Charles Hawtrey.
    I think Mozzer's a bit of an Olivier fan aswell, the original intended artwork for "Headmaster Ritual" was a still from "Term Of Trial" of Olivier caning Terence Stamp (another Moz fave!) but Olivier wouldnt give them permission to use the shot

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    Senior Member Country: UK Sleepin_Dragon's Avatar
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    I've just seen Sleuth for the first time, upon recommendation, and i have to say it's one of the best things ive ever seen. Acting, script, tension PHENOMENAL, what are your views?

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    Which Sleuth did you see? 1972 or 2007?

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    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Which Sleuth did you see? 1972 or 2007?
    You can make that "Which Sleuth with Michael Caine did you see? 1972 or 2007?"



    Steve

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    I'd heard the 2007 version was disappointing, so I've avoided it... anyone got any strong feelings either way? I love the original, getting hold of a copy was tricky though.

  12. #12
    Senior Member moonfleet's Avatar
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    There's only one : Mankiewicz's !!!!!!



    Moon.

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    Senior Member Country: UK Sleepin_Dragon's Avatar
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    The 1970's version :-)

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    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    The 1970's version :-)
    Which I've always regretted didn't keep the original title of Who's afraid of Stephen Sondheim?

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    I've not yet seen the Caine/Law one, though I shall some time - I'm more interested in Pinter's screenplay.



    The original is astonishing; it's one of those films where you can discover something new each time you watch it.

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    I love the original Sleuth - firmly in my top 5 films since I first saw it on the UK TV Premiere over Christmas 1979.

    You can visit the house Athelhampton which was fictionalised by Thomas Hardy whose cottage is nearby.

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    'Sleuth's' plaudits I can understand. A very clever script, and acting. But 'The Wicker Man'????? Not even from the same planet!!

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    'Sleuth's' plaudits I can understand. A very clever script, and acting. But 'The Wicker Man'????? Not even from the same planet!!
    I agree Wicker Man is far superior, and Woodward,s acting in this film is much better than Olivier's in Sleuth. He had become a silly old ham then

  19. #19
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    Stevie Boy,



    I think you missed the point!!!

  20. #20
    Senior Member moonfleet's Avatar
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    I have to say, that if J.L Mankiewicz is one of my favorite director ever, "Sleuth" is not the one I do prefer....It's wise, but no more. The saddest thing is that it was his last film, and maybe he might have give more marvelous ....



    Moon.

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