Sleuth (1972)

Link: There is no link.  Unfortunately this film does not seem to be currently available on DVD; I caught it on Turner Classic Movies.

Summary: Based on a play.  A mystery writer invites his wife’s lover to his house in hopes of getting him to help with a ridiculous insurance fraud scheme.  But that itself turns out to be a scheme, as ulterior motives surface.  The story itself is not a mystery, but it’s about mysteries, about the creation and solving of mysteries (hence the title).

Thoughts: I loved this film, thought it was fantastic.  The writing was hilarious, the editing to creepy-faced automatons was hilarious, and the twists and turns of the plot were exciting.  I enjoyed the mysterious Clue-ish feel to the whole thing; it all takes place in one mansion.  The cast is very conservative; there are only two characters in the entire film.  Being based on a play, it does kind of have stage feel to it, how most of the story is in the dialog between the two characters.  But it’s fantastic dialog, clever and engaging, with each character believably transitioning to various emotions in turn, from happy to devastated to enraged to calm.  I loved the idea of mysteries being games, and the exploration of how far is too far when it comes to game playing.  Really wish this was on DVD or Blu-ray.

The film stars Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine.  Interestingly, the film was remade (or re-imagined, I should say) in 2007, with Caine switching to Olivier’s role.  I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s in my queue.

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