05/22/2015  
HeForShe Campaign Features Star-Studded Cannes ConversationDespite The Gods on DVD May 19The Gunman on Digital HD Jun 16 & Blu-ray Combo Jun 30So Bright Is the View on DVD May 26Bar Rescue: Toughest Rescues on DVD May 19Champs on DVD May 12The Duff on Blu-ray Combo & DVD May 26

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

First look: Bill Murray in Netflix's "A Very Murray Chr...
'Late Show' Set Dismantled A Day After David Letterman ...
'Dancing With the Stars' Finale: Who Took Home the Gold...
Jane Fonda Admits She's 'Not Proud' of Plastic Surgery...
Everyone is missing the most important part of Louis C....
HeForShe Campaign Features Star-Studded Cannes Conversa...
Despite The Gods on DVD May 19...
Natalie Portman to Play Jackie Kennedy in Film About JF...
Rebel Wilson's guide to Hollywood...
Dancing with the Stars Elimination Shocker: We Are Not ...



Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Warner Home Video presents
The Late Show (1977)

"This town hasn't changed. They just pushed the names around."
- Ira Wells (Art Carney)

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: March 29, 2004

Stars: Art Carney, Lily Tomlin
Director: Robert Benton

MPAA Rating: PG
Run Time: 01h:33m:00s
Release Date: March 30, 2004
UPC: 085393186425
Genre: film noir


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B-C-B- C-

DVD Review

Old private dicks never die. They just limp along toward the old Pinkerton's in the sky. The Late Show is a mid-70s spin on one of the most tried and true of Hollywood genres, the detective picture. But what's novel here is that the detective has grown old along with the story in which he finds himself—this isn't Sam Spade forever fixed in a '40s noir, but an incarnation of the same character further along, Jake Gittes in his geriatric years or something. The film was written and directed by the redoubtable Robert Benton, a decade after his invigorating script for Bonnie and Clyde, and just two years prior to directing Kramer versus Kramer—he's become Hollywood old guard in recent years, with films like Nobody's Fool and The Human Stain, but here you sense that he's one of the film generation, feeling his oats. Not incidentally, the film was produced by Robert Altman, and the picture engages the history of its genre in much the same way that Altman's reconstituted noir The Long Goodbye did. If The Long Goodbye was Philip Marlowe as Rip Van Winkle, The Late Show is the Marlowe figure cashing his Social Security checks.

Art Carney plays Ira Wells, a detective with a hearing aid, a limp, and a fondness for the old days, which of course are growing more and more distant. He can't throw back slugs of rye anymore, due to a perforated ulcer; he's a private eye who bellies up to the bar and orders an Alka-Seltzer. A late-night visit from a buddy isn't to reminisce, though; Harry Regan shows up at Wells's door with a belly full of lead, and a secret that he doesn't get out before he passes. At poor Harry's funeral, Wells gets the offer of what seems like a parody of a case: Margo (Lily Tomlin) is all bent out of shape because her kitty, Winston, has been kidnapped. (You have been warned, Intrigo.) Spade gets a black bird; Ira gets to chase a cat, and for $25 a day, plus expenses. Of course, there's more to the mystery than that, and Wells gets himself caught up in the case, with the unspoken but palpable feeling that this is one last hurrah for the old man, before he hangs up the .45 for good.

The facts of the case, then, are a whole lot less important than the atmosphere and the characters, and happily, The Late Show is rich in both. Tomlin is appropriately daffy as Margo, sort of a hippy dippy take on the noir dame, a Lauren Bacall into channeling past lives and getting her head shots together—there's a hint of a romantic connection between her and Ira, but Benton wisely doesn't make it more than that. But the real star here is Carney—there shouldn't have been any doubt any more that he was a whole lot more than merely Ed Norton, and boy, is he good in this movie. His Ira Wells is human and frail without being maudlin or pathetic; like most movie detectives, he's not much given to self-reflection, and in the groovy Los Angeles of the 1970s, he's even more of a square peg. He even talks like a Raymond Chandler novel—women are invariably "dolls" or "dollies," and he prefers to be addressed as Mr. Wells, thank you very much. It's not really a terrifically memorable story, though Wells is especially notable as one of the few L.A. private eyes in movie history to use public transportation exclusively. Mortality is very much in the air all throughout the film, especially in one of the very last scenes, in which we see a sign with the word "cemetery" spelled wrong. This is either a big old goof by the art department, or a wise and knowing wink to us from the rapscallions behind and in front of the camera—both, probably.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: This seems to be a sloppy transfer from a damaged print, which means that it's full of scratches, discolorations, and badly faded and unpleasant colors. It's too bad, because we're as far from the 1970s now as this film was from the era that inspired it; it's not much of a document of the time, unfortunately, and could have used some more care in coming to DVD.

Image Transfer Grade: C-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, Frenchyes


Audio Transfer Review: Limited range and some hiss on the mono track, but everything is audible.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 26 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Snapper
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Aside from the original trailer, the only extra is a clip (04m:52s) of Tomlin promoting the movie on Dinah!, with a title card billing it as "A Special Visit with the Doobie Brothers and Their Friends." You can almost smell and will feel the need to waft away the clouds of pot smoke.

Extras Grade: C-

 

Final Comments

Carney's performance is the centerpiece of this muted and mournful 1970s noir, more memorable for its characters than its passable story.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, a very murray christmas, bill murray, netflix, sophia coppola, george clooney, amy poehler, chris rock, paul shaffer, rashida jones, miley cyrus, the late show, david letterman, ed sullivan theater, taco bell, dancing with the stars, abc, rumer willis, riker lynch, noah galloway, val chmerkovskiy, celebrity, jane fonda, mile high club, plastic surgery, grace and frankie, saturday night live, louis c.k., racism, israel-palestine, movies, cannes, documentary, movie, jackie, jackie kennedy, darren aronofsky, pablo larrain, pitch perfect 2, rebel wilson, super fun night, derek hough, nastia liukin, american idol, fox, jennifer lopez, harry connick jr., keith urban, ryan seacrest, gary newman, daytime soap, general hospital, anthony geary, genie francis, frank valenti, mad max: fury road, mel gibson, george miller, tom hardy, hugh keays-byrne, charlize theron, the cw, arrow, the vampire diaries, supernatural, the originals, jane the virgin, the flash, the 100, izombie, reign, beauty and the beast, action, afc football championship game, jim mcnally, john jastremski, tom brady, bill belichick, music, prince, baltimore, rally 4 peace, freddie gray, 3rdeyegirl, drama, metropolitan museum of art gala, kim kardashian, chloe sevigny, john paul gaultier, georgia may jagger, sarah jessica parker, rihanna, comedy, scifi, joss whedon, the avengers, chris evans, cris hemsworth, samuel l. jackson, scarlett johansson, jerem renner, revenge, manhattan love story, selfie, the mccarthys, the millers, gracepoint, mulaney, red band society, utopia, bad judge, dallas, 10th birthday party, kelly monaco, maks chmerkovskiy, meryl davis, hemorrhage, australia, tokyo, san francisco golden gate, docuementary, horror

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store