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Old 05-09-2004, 01:00   #1
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Name the best Private Detective movie

Although Scottie in "Vertigo" is not officially a private dick, he is hired to stalk a wandering wife (a traditional job for a private detective), so I think this one counts and is therefore rather hard to beat. Second would be that great raincoat/noir flic "Out of the Past", when I last saw this on BBC2 it was titled "Build My Gallows High", the same title as the novel and a line which Mitchum actually uses in the film. I want to build a collection of great private eye films so please name yer favourite !
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Old 05-09-2004, 01:21   #2
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Old 05-09-2004, 07:03   #3
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As well as the titles you list:

The Big Sleep
The Maltese Falcon
Murder My Sweet
Farewell My Lovely
The Long Goodbye
Chinatown
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Old 05-09-2004, 12:32   #4
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Altman's sublime Long Goodbye is a favourite of mine.
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Old 05-09-2004, 17:18   #5
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Entirely agree with "Vertigo" and "Out of the Past"

I'd also suggest:

Arthur Penn's sublime "Night Moves"
"The Maltese Falcon"
"The Big Sleep"
"Kiss Me Deadly"
"Farewell My Lovely" - the Mitchum version
"The Long Goodbye"
"Chinatown"
"Alphaville"
"The Late Show"
"Murder on the Orient Express"
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Old 06-09-2004, 09:27   #6
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If we're allowed to throw investigative journalism into the mix then

"Parallax View"
"Call Northside 777"

Amateur sleuths
"The Third Man"



"Point Blank" is stretching it rather but any excuse to bring it in I always say.
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Old 06-09-2004, 09:59   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by essexboyuk68
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Is the correct answer

I also consider The Wicker Man to be a detective yarn.
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Old 06-09-2004, 10:04   #8
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If we're going out on a limb then I'd add

"Blow Out"
"The Conversation"
"Sisters"
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Old 06-09-2004, 10:50   #9
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The Seven-Per-Cent Solution...

...unless Holmes isn't classed as a PI (which I think he is).
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Old 06-09-2004, 11:13   #10
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Not on DVD but add the first person Lady in The Lake, and tangentially, Laura.
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Old 06-09-2004, 11:41   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
If we're going out on a limb then I'd add

"Blow Out"
"The Conversation"
"Sisters"
If Blow Out, then surely Antonioni's Blow-Up (1966), not to mention all those "riddle wrapped up in an enigma" movies - Parallax View, All the President's Men, Picnic at Hanging Rock, JFK... etc. (The Weir may be taking tenuous connections a little too far... )
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Old 06-09-2004, 12:19   #12
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Well, I don't think I'd count "Blow-Up" as a detective story per se, certainly not as much as "Blow Out". I also vastly prefer the De Palma film but that's just me.
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Old 06-09-2004, 19:31   #13
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Chinatown: terrific screenplay and fantastic acting. Polanski at his best.
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Old 06-09-2004, 20:17   #14
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Harper starring Paul Newman.
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Old 06-09-2004, 20:18   #15
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Got to be Chinatown.

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Old 06-09-2004, 20:21   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjn6371
Harper starring Paul Newman.
Oh, good one! I'd love this on DVD and it's partner The Drowning Pool.
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Old 06-09-2004, 22:53   #17
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Not too keen on the Paul Newman P.I. Harper movies, although theoretically Newman makes a great gumshoe (to coin the name of an Albert Finney contender). Let's not include Blow Up though, and if Blow Out is in then so is Dressed to Kill with Angie Dickenson's son Keith Gordon as the "amateur sleuth". One great TV private eye series which would be so good to have on DVD would be the 1960/70s Public Eye starring Alfred Lynch as a P.I. so downbeat and grimy (yet still honourable) I can still taste the seediness coming through my parents' B&W 18" screen. I agree that Chinatown is very special indeed - I just wish that Polanksi hadn't fired the original cinematographer Stanley Cortez. John Alonso is fine but Cortez was a cinema-God (he also shot Night of the Hunter and the Magnificent Ambersons, among other films).
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Old 07-09-2004, 00:05   #18
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Whilst I think the Maltese Falcon's Sam Spade, Murder My Sweet's Phillip Marlowe were amongst the greatest screen detectives, I personally believe that Gumshoe's Eddie Ginley was the best of them all. I know it is a pastiche/homage of the originals but it definitely has something about it that was a reflection of the time and place it was set in just as the originals echoed post depression America.
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Old 07-09-2004, 19:43   #19
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Under Suspicion starring Liam Neeson is an excellent film. Great depiction of a very seedy Brighton circa 1960.
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Old 08-09-2004, 08:15   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
Well, I don't think I'd count "Blow-Up" as a detective story per se...
Why not? Thomas spends two thirds of the film trying to detect whether or not a murder has been committed, not least in the central sequence in which he analyses the black and white photographs from the park. This is not only Barthsian photo-analysis made ultra-cinematic, but it's one of the great "detection" sequences in the movies, surely?
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