The Detective - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Detective Reviews

Page 1 of 3
November 15, 2016
Cruising (1980) in the 1960's. Well done re-teaming of Gordon Douglas and Frank Sinatra. On Blu-ray.
August 4, 2016
As I neared the big 5,000 in terms of movies watched (at least according to my admittedly-crapola memory and IMDb), for some odd reason, I thought of Frank Sinatra, whose films I had seen quite a few of recently, and I decided to check out the private-eye films he made in the 60's, when his superstar status, both in terms of acting and performing, began to wane, as tastes changed in that tumultuous decade.

Apart from 'Them!', 'In Like Flint' and a truckload of Our Gang comedic shorts from way back when, I hadn't seen any of director Douglas' works, though he's fine with the material and does quite a good, if craftmanlike, job here. Sinatra must have been comfortable with him--they worked together earlier in films as diverse as Doris Day's 'So This Is Love' and the Rat Pack's 'Robin and the 7 Hoods'. I loved how he was obviously fascinated with Lee Remick's eyes and really took advantage of Panavision's 2.35:1 aspect ratio to show how captivated she was with Sinatra's Joe Leland and therefore couldn't dismiss him entirely from her life.

It struck me, after recently seeing films from just a few years before, like 'The Manchurian Candidate' and 'Some Came Running', how Sinatra's party days were starting here to catch up with him, but his work here was solid, and I would heartily recommend it, both for fans of his work and of detective tales from the period in general. I now look forward to others he did in the era (also for Douglas): 'Tony Rome' and its sequel, 'Lady in Cement'.

Odd that he wanted his wife-at-the-time, Mia Farrow, to play the part that eventually went to Jacqueline Bisset, that she refused (the film she was working on was behind schedule), so he went to the set of 'Rosemary's Baby' and served her divorce papers! Ouch!
August 4, 2016
As I neared the big 5,000 in terms of movies watched (at least according to my admittedly-crapola memory and IMDb), for some odd reason, I thought of Frank Sinatra, whose films I had seen quite a few of recently, and I decided to check out the private-eye films he made in the 60's, when his superstar status, both in terms of acting and performing, began to wane, as tastes changed in that tumultuous decade.

Apart from 'Them!', 'In Like Flint' and a truckload of Our Gang comedic shorts from way back when, I hadn't seen any of director Douglas' works, though he's fine with the material and does quite a good, if craftmanlike, job here. Sinatra must have been comfortable with him--they worked together earlier in films as diverse as Doris Day's 'So This Is Love' and the Rat Pack's 'Robin and the 7 Hoods'. I loved how he was obviously fascinated with Lee Remick's eyes and really took advantage of Panavision's 2.35:1 aspect ratio to show how captivated she was with Sinatra's Joe Leland and therefore couldn't dismiss him entirely from her life.

It struck me, after recently seeing films from just a few years before, like 'The Manchurian Candidate' and 'Some Came Running', how Sinatra's party days were starting here to catch up with him, but his work here was solid, and I would heartily recommend it, both for fans of his work and of detective tales from the period in general. I now look forward to others he did in the era (also for Douglas): 'Tony Rome' and its sequel, 'Lady in Cement'.

Odd that he wanted his wife-at-the-time, Mia Farrow, to play the part that eventually went to Jacqueline Bisset, that she refused (the film she was working on was behind schedule), so he went to the set of 'Rosemary's Baby' and served her divorce papers! Ouch!
February 21, 2016
I LIVED IN 1968 HARD TO IMAGINE THAT OTHER WORLD, BUT IF YOU WANT TO TAKE A LOOK, THIS 5 STAR PIECE WILL DO IT. THESE MOVIES HAVE SO MUCH MORE THAN THE MOVIES TODAY. FANTASTICALLY ACTED MASTERPIECE, SURE ITS GOT SOME FOIBLES BUT WHAT MOVIES DOESN'T
January 29, 2016
This would've been a good TV show story for Hawaii Five-O or Columbo. Not sure about a full length picture. In era brimming with great police detective stories, this one sorta just lays there. I didn't care about the victim or the investigation. Needed another draft or two.
½ December 13, 2015
Advanced for its time in dealing with difficult issues. Ages well.Abby Mann wrote a fine script. Sinatra takes a chance by taking such a gutsy role.
September 26, 2015
Entertaining crime thriller with Frank Sinatra & Lee Remick giving an enjoyable & convincing performances. A time capsule back to the 60's.
September 10, 2015
this si the first pic i know of in 1968 with an openly gay character
½ June 25, 2015
The Detective was surprisingly edgy and somewhat prophetic for 1968, but writing was so heavy-handed not even Frank Sinatra could save it. The gritty elements feel odd with the '60s flamboyant production style. Long, pointless flashbacks ruin the already thin dramatic structure. This movie will only be remembered for being a semi-prelude to the Die Hard series.
March 18, 2015
I'm going to find out the answers to your enigmas.

A detective shooting for a promotion is on a major case around a gruesome murder. Meanwhile, he's met a woman with a checkered past and becomes smitten with her. They get married but as they get to know each other better, and fall back into their old habits, their relationship becomes complicated. The detective gets a promotion, which changes his work life and his personal life.

"He said there was no such thing as a bi-sexual, only homosexuals without conviction."

Gordon Douglas, director of In Like Flint, Stagecoach, Them!, Young at Heart, Only the Valiant, The Black Arrow, and Niagara Falls, delivers The Detective. The storyline for this picture is very interesting and unfolds very well. I was impressed with Sinatra's ability to play the melodramatic detective. The cast also includes Robert Duvall, Lee Remick, Ralph Meeker, Jack Klugman, All Freeman Jr, and William Windom.

"She's a whore, she's a pusher, she's an addict, and she's nineteen years old."

I was surprised to come across this film on HBOGO and had to add it to my list. This is an interesting gem and a good use of an aging Sinatra. I thought he was awesome in this. The Detective doesn't contain a lot of action, but it does include interesting character interactions and well written dialogue. I recommend seeing this.

"I don't like myself very much."

Grade: B
½ July 16, 2014
This movie is way ahead of its' time and genuinely honest about the state of affairs in the police system. These days, the audience would be more blase about the subject matter, but you have to give props to films that were trailblazers. This seems like an unconventional role for Sinatra and he is great.
½ May 12, 2014
Melodramatic, but daring for the time it came out with Frank Sinatra playing a hard-boiled, but surprisingly conscionable and politically correct detective investigating a gay homicide.
½ February 17, 2014
Its easy now to perhaps mock singers who act but back in the day some of them could actually master it even if the film was a little stilted in parts.

Frank Sinatra was of course the greatest voice of his genration,but beneath all the Rat Pack bluster he could play mean pretty well.
Here he plays the Dectective of the title Joe Leland who is assingned to a murder case which is fairly nasty and his Captain wants solved within 48 hours.
Despite being a crack cop Lelands home life is a mess as his wife played by Lee Remick is a nymphomaniac who is aloof to Lelands gritty world.
Leland semmingly cracks the case but something comes alomg which throws his whole life into peril and forces him to quetion who to trust.
Sinatra is pretty darn good here and director Gordon Douglas rounds out his cast with support from Ralph Meeker and Jack Klugman as fellow cops .
Some parts of the film do feel dated and the plot does tend to have some lulls in the proccedings,but that aside its a solid Police thriller
½ August 22, 2013
The Detective is dated and constantly alternates between its sources of focus on the dynamics of its main character Det. Sgt. Joe Leland's life and his investigation of a murder while consistently following a slow pace in a sense of realism, and sometime it doesn't succeed at embalming viewers in the story. It focuses on the drama of Joe Leland coming to terms with the dramas of his life, including his difficult relationship and his age. But the focus on his investigation seems to take a back seat to his personal dramas, making the story smaller on the scale than it should be, and its a bit too long for its own good considering that's the approach it takes.

Nevertheless, The Detective is mostly successful.
Mainly it's because it's an interesting study of the character Joe Leland as a detective as well as him as a person. It delves deep into his mind as he deals with so much drama that a man does. He portrays Joe Leland with such impeccable strength which renders him perfect for the part as he develops well as the story progresses, and he shares a fine chemistry with Jacqueline Bisset in terms of conveying a difficult relationship shared between two people of age.
Jacqueline Bisset also have a fine performance of her own with the beauty and sex appeal needed for her role as well as charm an skill with her line delivery. She keeps Joe Leland's passion alive and keeps the flame of the chemistry atmosphere burning constantly.
The Detective really is a simple character driven story which is realistic and doesn't jump out to be more than anything that it is, but that's a shame because it really could have been. Nevertheless, The Detective is a simple and interesting story that benefits from Frank Sinatra even though the film broke up his marriage.
½ July 19, 2013
Though it isn't as stylistically inspired as many other neo-noirs from the 1960s, "The Detective" is notable for two reasons: Frank Sinatra's hard-boiled performance that is awfully reminiscent of Humphrey Bogart's persona, and it's up-front and confrontation look at homosexuality, a scandalous topic that became much more prominent thanks to Andy Warhol's "Factory" crowd. Is "The Detective" spectacular? No. But there are many good ideas on display and is largely unsentimental.
Joe Leland (Sinatra) has been a cop for over 20 years, but he is shaken up when the gay son of a prominent businessman is found murdered. The killing itself still rings to be graphic even today, even though it's talked about but not shown. After just a few scenes worth of looking around the shadowy, underground world of taboo, Leland arrests Felix Tesla (Tony Musante), one of the victim's lovers who had a reason to kill. Leland, who is promised a promotion, wraps the case up quickly, considering Tesla is unstable and admits to the murder. After he is executed, Leland gets a better job, but something just doesn't feel quite right. When a different man commits suicide, Leland realizes that the two deaths may be connected.
It's extremely difficult to call "The Detective" a bad film because it isn't. It's photographed with sumptuous Panavision, creating a type of artificial optimism, features very good performances by its cast, and is written realistically, no matter how graphic. But it's undone by Gordon Douglas' unfocused direction, which causes the film to often wander and drag. Police dramas should be tense ("Bullitt" anyone?), but "The Detective" is too long, and there are many scenes that more pointless than important.
One of the films biggest problems is its flashbacks. There are many glimpses into the past, with "Gilligan's Island" dream whirlpools to indicate them. But they are hardly glimpses because they often last longer than ten minutes. They focus on Joe's marriage to his ex-wife Karen (Lee Remick), and while Remick is a good actress, her relationship with Sinatra's character isn't believable. Because their marriage isn't fascinating, automatically, it makes all of the flashbacks worthless. Had these been cut (it's unclear what exactly Douglas was thinking), "The Detective" could have been brilliant.
"The Detective" is disappointing because it doesn't live up to its full potential. Sinatra's career was interesting, and he was a fantastic actor; as great as he is here, he is let down.
Super Reviewer
March 16, 2013
Frank Sinatra gives a gritty performnce in the crime thriller The Detective. It is pretty clear that Sinatra wanted The Detective to be as good a movie as he could manage, It provides a clear, unsentimental look at a police investigation, and even the language reflects the way cops and the rest of us talk.
Cinema-Maniac
Super Reviewer
February 9, 2013
Seeing how a "A Good Day To Die Hard" is about hit theaters here in the states I've chosen to take a look at the whole "Die Hard" series. Which some of you might be wondering what connection this movie has with "Die Hard". Well John McClane first made his debut on print in the novel "The Detective". That novel had a sequel called "Nothing Lasts Forever" that got adapted into the action classic "Die Hard" which makes "The Detective" the first time John McClane has ever appeared on screen and debatably makes this the first entry of the "Die Hard" series.

"The Detective" is about police detective Joe Leland investigation on the murder of a homosexual man. While investigating, he discovers links to official corruption in New York City in this drama that delves into a world of sex and drugs. The story does have some interesting aspects like Joe Leland love life and him exposing corruption in the police department. However, when Joe Leland does actual detective work is when the film becomes dull. Scenes are often drawn out and some character reiterate things we already know. The case itself is nothing too interesting either. There is a brilliant twist towards the end, but aside from that twist the actual crime solving aspect leaves something to be desired. The plot in general is so-so as the change in quality in certain part of the story is clearly visible.

Frank Sinatra is technically the first actor to play John McClane since the sequel novel was adapted and Frank Sinatra was even offered to reprise his role in "Die Hard" at the age of 73. He's brings a Oscar worthy performance with his portrayal. He carries the entire film on his shoulder even making some of the unintentional comedic moments be possible to take seriously. The rest of the supporting actors are good too. The editing could have been better. Some scenes could have been left out and certain scenes should have occurred later in the movie instead sooner.

"The Detective" is too long for its own good only being saved by strong acting. "The Detective" wasn't a good film debut for John McClane, but to be completely honest it wasn't a bad either. It was slightly above average.
½ February 4, 2013
Magnificent thriller with top notch acting by main and support cast--Cut-to-the-Chase Crime drama!!
November 3, 2012
Frank Sinatra knocks out a homophobe. Nice.
½ June 2, 2012
A good and gritty film with Sinatra at his most serious.
Page 1 of 3