Shamus

  • 1973
  • Movie
  • PG
  • Comedy, Crime

Based on Raymond Chandler's THE BIG SLEEP, this film at first appears to be a parody of that classic but then settles into being merely a copy. Reynolds plays it for laughs and manages to give the feeble comedy lines the right delivery which helps a bit. He's a Brooklyn private eye who sleeps on a pool table above a billiard parlor. He gets a phone call...read more

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Based on Raymond Chandler's THE BIG SLEEP, this film at first appears to be a parody of that classic but then settles into being merely a copy. Reynolds plays it for laughs and manages to give the feeble comedy lines the right delivery which helps a bit. He's a Brooklyn private eye who

sleeps on a pool table above a billiard parlor. He gets a phone call asking him to visit the estate of the wealthy Weyand, a diamond merchant who keeps his house cooled to 40 degrees while he sips iced tea. (In THE BIG SLEEP, Bogart had to perspire as he met his client in a hothouse.) Weyand says

that some diamonds have been stolen, and Reynolds can pick up 10 grand if he finds them. The man who had custody of the gems was murdered. Reynolds travels around to a few pool halls, supplementing his income, and enlists the aid of Block, a bookmaker. Reynolds goes back to his quarters and is

beaten soundly by hoodlums who warn him off the job. This only serves to pique his interest, so he talks to Tozzi, a gangland chief who runs a restaurant as a front. (Tozzi does well in an unaccustomed role; his major experience is as a basso profundo in operatic productions.) Based on a tip from

Block, Reynolds arrives at a warehouse and finds a large cache of arms and ammo. He escapes the guards in an exciting sequence that has him leaping between buildings. Reynolds does some more investigating and discovers that a multinational company owns the facility. He visits the penthouse

occupied by Wilson, a former football player and now one of the bosses of that company, and he encounters Cannon, Wilson's sister and a leading butterfly in the social set. He tells Cannon that Wilson may be a dupe of some powerful people, and Cannon, who fears for her thick-headed sibling, puts

Reynolds on her payroll, so he can get to the bottom of things. Later that night, Cannon arrives at Reynolds's Brooklyn pad and the two consummate their relationship on the pool table-bed that dominates his office-apartment. Police officer Santos gets in touch with Reynolds and asks that he come

to the warehouse where Block's body has been found. Reynolds asks Cannon to help him nail Weyand, who he thinks must be an illegal arms dealer. Reynolds has a meeting in a Staten Island surplus depot with Ryan, a business associate of Weyand's. Cannon and Reynolds masquerade as possible buyers of

military equipment, and Ryan attempts to sell them a tank but is shot by a hidden gunman. Reynolds and Cannon climb into the tank and crash through a wall. Later, Reynolds goes to Weyand's mansion and sees that Wilson is being tortured by Weyand and his cohorts. Reynolds sneaks into the house, but

Wilson is shot to death as he tries to get away. When the cops arrive, Reynolds has the situation in hand and turns Weyand over to Santos. There are lots of twists and turns in the movie for no other reason than to distinguish it from the film it took its best scenes from. Screenwriter Beckerman

is the son of producer-packager Sidney Beckerman, the man who gave the world PORTNOY'S COMPLAINT. Reynolds makes the script sound better than it reads. Kulik's direction is fast, the editing is sharp, and Goldsmith's music is excellent, although they can't make up for the lack of depth in the

script or Cannon's shrill performance.

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  • Released: 1973
  • Rating: PG
  • Review: Based on Raymond Chandler's THE BIG SLEEP, this film at first appears to be a parody of that classic but then settles into being merely a copy. Reynolds plays it for laughs and manages to give the feeble comedy lines the right delivery which helps a bit. H… (more)

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