Sleuth

I did a search on YouTube for “70s films” and found this Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier film.

The story is about a detective novel writer, Andrew (Olivier), and his wife’s new lover Milo (Caine). They meet at Andrew’s big old house and after discussing the business about the wife, Andrew proposes to Milo that they stage the robbery of the wife’s jewelery so that Andrew can claim the insurance money and Milo can sell the jewelery to a fence in Europe. But, actually Andrew and his crime-writing mind has other plans for Milo.

What is obvious about this film is that it was adapted from a play. It was mostly filmed indoors in only a few rooms, and Olivier and Caine are the only two actors in the whole film. Their acting is also very theatrical, and it works well, especially as both fellows are awfully fine actors.

Along with the fancy acting, the story is engaging and full of twists, surprises, and sleuthing. The directing too is top stuff, as is the cinematography and the set design. It is a long film at 138 minutes, but it is so well done that it didn’t feel that long.

A couple of facts from Wikipedia:

When they met, Caine asked Olivier how he should address him. Olivier told him that it should be as “Lord Olivier”, and added that now that that was settled he could call him “Larry”. According to Shaffer, Olivier stated that when filming began he looked upon Caine as an assistant, but that by the end of filming he regarded him as a full partner.

The production team intended to reveal as little about the movie as possible so as to make the conclusion a complete surprise to the audience. For this reason there is a false cast list at the beginning of the film which lists fictional people playing roles that do not exist.

A remake was made in 2007 with Caine returning but this time playing Andrew, Jude Law as Milo, and Kenneth Brannagh directing. Unfortunately though it doesn’t have good reviews, and gets only 36% on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to 96% for the original.

Date watched: December 29th
Score: 9.5/10
Film count 2018: 87