Gumshoe 1971 ***

Gumshoe1971

 

The directorial debut of Stephen Frears, Gumshoe is a clever post-modern take on the detective genre, a passion project for star Albert Finney. He plays Eddie Ginley, a bingo-caller from Liverpool with a penchant for Elvis, comedy, Sam Spade and Phillip Marlowe. His relationship with his brother William (Frank Finlay), who is married to Eddie’s ex (Billie Whitelaw), inspires him to place a small ad and become a gumshoe, but his investigation leads him over his head in arms dealing and murder. Frears captures a strong sense of late 60’s Liverpool, and there’s a roll-call of support from Wendy Richards, Fulton Mackay and Maureen Lipman, plus some ingeniously brisk dialogue from Neville Smith that both captures the casual racism of the time and sends up the detective genre with knowingness.

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