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on 11 March 2017
A wonderful, loving comic-tragic, pastiche of Hammett and Chandler written by Neville Smith. Transposing L.A. to Britain should be embarrassing but the inspired use of Liverpool means it actually works. Finney has never been more attractive and the entire cast, right down to the minor .players with only one line are all, without exception, absolutely brilliant. I know this sounds a bit exaggerated but, in my opinion, it is true. Billlie Whitelaw, Frank Finlay, Caroline Seymour, Fulton McKay, Maureen Lipman, Janice Rule and the club owner, whose name escapes me, are all class acts. Smith has a 'Hitchcock' cameo and a special word for the non-professional who plays the grossly obese, 'Sidney Greenstreet' drug addict, which was inspired casting.

I have never really been a fan of Stephen Frears, believing that he is only ever as good as the script he is given (as in 'The Grifters'), but here he has been gifted with an inspired script and, even with the low budget and his rather basic, television director style, he is unable to muck it up. His one glorious cinematic flourish, perhaps limited only due to cost, is a dizzying crane pull-back zoom shot at the climax, a perfect expression of character, plot and emotion.
Nor am I fan of Andrew Lloyd-Webber, but he delivers an exciting and moving 'forties' soundtrack, perhaps demonstrating that his perfect ear for pastiche is his true talent and forte.
Although, almost as modestly budgeted as a BBC ' Play for Today', a quite exceptional 'minor masterpiece' in its own way.
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on 6 February 2015
Gumshoe has been a favourite film of mine ever since I first saw it on the television some thirty-plus years ago. With a superb cast – Albert Finney, Billie Whitelaw, Frank Finlay, Fulton Mackay, Wendy Richard and Maureen Lipman amongst others, and directed by Stephen Frears and written by Neville Smith, it may look somewhat dated (it was made in 1971), set for the most part in Neville Smith’s hometown of Liverpool, this comedic thriller is worth repeated viewings in my opinion. The film benefits from a great supporting cast who deliver some fine lines.

The film might not get a television screening today, as there is some politically incorrect language spoken in the film, although it is not prevalent throughout the film.

Much of the music in the film is by Andrew Lloyd Webber, but don’t be put off by that as it’s really quite good music.

So although Gumshoe might not be without its faults it is still a favourite of mine all these years later and one that I would recommend to anyone who appreciates British cinema from the 1970’s.

On the DVD you get:

Gumshoe (1 hour 22 minutes)
Audio (original English dialogue or dubbed with either French or Italian language)
Optional Subtitles (English, English for the hard of hearing, French, Italian, Arabic and Greek)
Scene Selection
Martini Moments (other DVD’s on offer)
Original Theatrical Trailer
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VINE VOICEon 29 May 2013
A wonderful pastiche of Chandler Sam Spade films, this stars Albert Finney and was made on location in Liverpool in 1971. Finney stars as Eddie Ginley who is drawn into a web of intrigue when he plays at being a Private Eye. A great cast including Billie Whitelaw as his sister-in-law and Frank Finlay as his estranged brother, the script is razor sharp and the score by Andrew Lloyd Weber perfectly complements the dreary locations of 1970s Liverpool - all the locations are genuine. The plot takes some following, but the complexity pays off with a satisfying denouement.

Finney excels and his cod American accent (ironic considering most of his recent roles) is well suited to the pithy, acerbic humour of the one-liners that are littered throughout this short (80 minutes) but perfectly formed film. Fulton Mackay (of Porridge fame) gives a great turn as a menacing rival detective and there are also appearances by Carolyn Seymour (Survivors), Maureen Lipman and even Wendy Richards.

The labyrinthine plot, cracking dialogue and authentic settings combine to make this a true period piece which is well worth re-watching today.
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on 24 June 2012
What can I say about 'Gumshoe' it is one of my all time favourite films, ever since I was a projectionist and I showed this film many moons ago early 70's at the Odeon cinema Kensington in London I have loved it!
It is a very underated and very entertaining film, very rarely shown on TV and with a limited cinema release even here in the UK it never really got the praise that it deserves.
Superbly directed by Stephen Frears and with acting by the main characters that just does not come any better, I can only assume that the only reason it is not up there with the all time greats is that it did not go down well in America, I can understand this as this is british film making at it's very best and is therefore instantly identifiable with Liverpool in the 60's and 70's and perhaps a little too English for main stream American audiences.
Obviously Columbia pictures although they put up the money to make the film did not in hindsight think it was worth promoting in the US, therefore we have an absolute classic movie that nobody recognizes as such, Albert Finey one of my favourite actors is superbly cast as Eddie Ginley and has portrayed the character perfectly he is in my opinion one of the most beleivable characters that I have ever seen on screen.
As I said the acting is superb with supporting actors such as Billie Whitelaw and Frank Finlay you can't really say any less but to my mind the other outstanding performance in this film is Fulton Mackay as the slightly menacing but rather inept replacement Scottish hitman Straker! Again the character is played perfectly and 100% beleivably, you can almost imagine him if he ever got a shot at his target he would miss.
All in all this film is well worth watching and with the very early Andrew Lloyd Webber music score I'm sure if you watch it you'll love it.
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VINE VOICEon 30 January 2013
The film is a tribute to Raymond Chandler, Film Noire, Humphrey Bogart, etc. It is a Hollywood pastiche, made deliberately corny by the fact of its northern grit: Albert Finney is made to seem absurd in his guise as a wannabe shamus and old film reference coincidences that make for a twisted plot and wake-up to reality finale. Gumshoe is not a widely known or appreciated film, which is a pity, because it is a classic of its kind, with a great cast and intriguing plot that has Finney bungling through until he finally cracks the case with dogged ineptitude and fool's luck that keeps him one step ahead of trouble: to describe it would spoil it. I saw this first at my art school film club and have never forgotten it. The DVD came out a few years ago and I bought it and watched it again, enthralled now as I was then; an excellent film, a first class thriller.
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on 20 March 2016
A bit of an odd film in as much as AF is speaking like an old 40's film sleuth (Humphrey Bogard) some of the time with that dodgy dialogue and the next minute speaking with a Liverpudlian accent. I know this is the whole point of the film and that makes it quirky so I enjoyed it. Look out for lots of well known faces playing small parts like Fullerton McKay, Maureen Lipman and Wendy Richards to name but a few. Considering it was only certified as a 12 it did contain racist dialogue and scenes of heroin addiction. The music and end theme tune was by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
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on 24 February 2015
A much underrated film! The music score is first class, big up to Julian Lloyd Weber. Fulton Mackay as a Glasgow hard man, what do you want out of life? The three stars, Billie Whitelaw, Frank Findley and you Albert Finney, yes you, Albert. Alf Roberts as a scouse thug, who'd have thought. No wonder Michael Caine hoyed him off the top of that car park in Gateshead.

I get nostalgic watching films made in Britain in the 1960s, a nicer place than now.
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on 31 January 2016
This is a 'hidden gem' of British cinema - set in a rather shabby early 1970s Liverpool - which tells the story of a Raymond Chandler-loving working men's club compere and sometime Gumshoe named Eddie Ginley, whose brother runs a very dubious import/export business. The plot is suitably Chandleresque and there are sorne wonderful performances from the main cast, including cameos from the likes of Maureen Lipman and Wendy Richard.
Directed by Stephen Frears and with musical embellishment from Andrew Lloyd Webber, it has a razor-sharp script and is a real treat. Enjoy !
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on 12 May 2010
An excellent film from start to finish. Made in city centre & other parts of 1970s pre-Thatcher/Hatton Liverpool. Top Quality actors Finney, Frank Finlay,Billie Whitelaw, (Brookside's "Harry Cross"), Fulton Mckay [steals the show indeed],a small part for Maureen Lipman & so on. While at University I saw some of the scenes being filmed & knew some of the people involved in the filming. Only a spoil sport pedant would question that the Falkner Square firebombing was not quite set in Falkner Square etc. Sometimes not politically correct but its heart is in the right place.Enjoy the twists and turns and Lloyd-Webers background music. Humourous and dramatic in turns.
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on 11 April 2018
I’m ashamed to say that I had never heard of this film. Once I saw the cast list it became an immediate blind buy. I found myself well rewarded. It’s a unique mix of film noir homage and a snapshot of life in early seventies liverpool. It’s just great. If you have any interest in unique British cinema you should get this. Indicator is rapidly become the Criterion of England.
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