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The Late Show (film): Wikis


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The Late Show

DVD cover
Directed by Robert Benton
Produced by Robert Altman
Scott Bushnell
Written by Robert Benton
Starring Art Carney
Lily Tomlin
Bill Macy
Eugene Roche
Joanna Cassidy
Music by Kenneth Wannberg
Cinematography Charles Rosher Jr.
Editing by Peter Appleton
Lou Lombardo
Distributed by Warner Brothers Pictures
Release date(s) August 12, 1977
Running time 93 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Late Show is a 1977 comedy, neo-noir, romance, mystery film written and directed by Robert Benton and produced by Robert Altman. The film stars Art Carney, Lily Tomlin, Bill Macy, Eugene Roche, and Joanna Cassidy. The film follows an aging detective trying to solve the case of his partner’s murder while dealing with a flamboyant new client.[1]

The Late Show is widely considered to be the film that put Robert Benton on the map as a filmmaker. Benton and the film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1977.[2]



A financially strained, aging private detective named Ira Wells isn't a well man and is barely active in the business. He is a loner who doesn't much care for company or small talk. When his ex-partner Harry Regan, however, shows up at Ira's boarding house one night mortally wounded while on a case, Ira feels it's up to him to get to the bottom of it.

The trail leads Ira to a small-time fence named Birdwell, whose young bodyguard Lamar is only too happy to rough up the old man when Ira pays a call. But they make a mistake in intimidating and underestimating Ira, who ends up paying Lamar back in kind as well as tracking down Birdwell's missing wife.

Meanwhile, a would-be client named Margo Sperling is introduced to Ira by a mutual acquaintance, Charlie Hatter, a tipster. Margo is a quirky individual who acts as an agent for a singer, sells marijuana on the side and wants to hire Ira to find not a murderer but just her missing cat.

As they get to know each other after a rocky start, Ira and Margo hit it off to the point that she offers to become his new partner. But first they need to deal with a dangerous confrontation in Margo's apartment. [3]



In early 1976, Robert Benton brought his script to Robert Altman who, after reading it, decided to produce the film. Production began in spring of 1976 and wrapped in November.[4]



Critical reception

The Late Show got extremely positive reviews when it was initially released in 1977. The Late Show has a 100% rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 13 reviews.[5] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times said "And most of all, it's a movie that dares a lot, pulls off most of it, and entertains us without insulting our intelligence" giving the film a four-star rating.[6]

Awards and nominations

The film received several award nominations many for Benton's screenplay. Carney's performance won him the Best Actor Award at the National Society of Film Critics award ceremony. Tomlin's performance was nominated for Best Actress at the BAFTA awards, and the Golden Globe Awards and she won the Silver Berlin Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival. Robert Benton was nominated for several awards including the Golden Berlin Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, the WGA Award at the WGA's annual ceremony, and he was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. Benton won the award for Best Motion Picture at the Edgar Awards.[7]


External links


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