Thursdays through July and August, as a sidebar to our Ragged Glory: Summer in the 70s series, we’re casting a (private) eye on crime thrillers, detectives, mystery and suspense. And we’re setting the scene with a mystery of our own: a secret screening of a 1970s film of this type. We’re not going to tell you what it is, but if you like playing detective, then you will certainly enjoy this fiendishly clever murder yarn, featuring several big 70s stars, and which deserves to be much better known than it is.
Other films lined up for Thursday night Crime Scenes:
Thurs July 28: Elliott Gould as Philip Marlowe in Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye and Jack Nicholson as JJ Gittes in Chinatown
Thurs Aug 4: Gene Hackman in Arthur Penn’s Night Moves and Robert Mitchum in The Yakuza, directed by Sidney Pollack
Thurs Aug 11: Warren Beatty in The Parallax View; John Cassavetes and Peter Falk in Mikey and Nicky; Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver
Thurs Aug 18: Art Carney and Lily Tomlin in The Late Show, directed by Robert Benton
Thurs Aug 25: Ben Gazzara in John Cassavetes’ The Killing of a Chinese Bookie and in Peter Bogdanovich’s Saint Jack
In the Spotlight: Crime Scenes
Mikey and Nicky
Marked for assassination, lowly gangster Mikey (John Cassavetes) calls his best friend, Nicky (Peter Falk), the only man he can trust, and they deviate around New York City all night, one step ahead of a professional hitman (Ned Beatty).
Scorsese's expressionist, hallucinatory rendition of an infernal New York puts us in the head of Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro),"God's lonely man", an insomniac who crisscrosses the city at night and dreams of claiming something better for himself.
The Late Show
Ira (Carney) comes out of retirement when his old partner Harry bleeds to death on his doorstep. What had he been working on? The case of a missing cat... Lily Tomlin, Harry's kooky client, joins forces to unearth the truth - and get her cat back.
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
Ben Gazzara is Cosmo Vitelli, proud owner of the strip joint Crazy Horse West and in every sense a showman. His fondness for gambling lands him in trouble with the mob, but they offer him an out: all he has to do is murder the eponymous Chinaman...
More Films in This Series
Dog Day Afternoon
Based on a true story of a New York bank robbery which turned into a hostage siege (and a media spectacle), Sidney Lumet's gripping movie showcases a bravura performance from Al Pacino as the homosexual, married, unhappy, decent, confused bank robber.
The biggest hit from the 70s phase of Brian De Palma's career, Carrie takes Stephen King's horror novel about a troubled telekinetic teen and weaves it into a purely cinematic rhapsody of angst and (retali-)elation, what Pauline Kael termed "a terrifyingly lyrical thriller".
All the President's Men
This gripping account of Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's investigation into the Watergate break-in is a masterclass of cinematic craft from director Alan J Pakula (Klute; The Parallax View) and DP Gordon Willis (The Godfather).
The Parallax View
The most lucid and ingenious, the most deeply, creepily satisfying of paranoia thrillers, Alan J. Pakula's film posits an assassination corporation. Reporter Joe Frady (Warren Beatty) is on to Them, or so he believes…
A passion project for producer-star Warren Beatty, this frothy boudoir comedy of Beverly Hills manners views its hairdresser hero's bed-hopping with a certain sadness. Goldie Hawn, Julie Christie, Lee Grant and Carrie Fisher come along for the ride.