The Late Show (1977)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Robert Benton's film The Late Show stars Art Carney as Ira Wells, an over-the-hill private detective who reluctantly teams with the eccentric Margo Sperling (Lily Tomlin) to solve the murder of his partner Harry Regan (Howard Duff).
Comedy , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Warner Home Video

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Art Carney
as Ira Wells
Lily Tomlin
as Margo
Bill Macy
as Charlie Hatter
Eugene Roche
as Ron Birdwell
Joanna Cassidy
as Laura Birdwell
Ruth Nelson
as Mrs. Schmidt
John Davey
as Sgt. Dayton
Howard Duff
as Harry Regan
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Late Show

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (1)

The Late Show is the best picture in town, the nicest takeoff on 1940s private eye films since Gumshoe.

Full Review… | October 23, 2015
The Spectator

The Late Show is a masterpiece disguised as a fluffy mystery-comedy.

Full Review… | May 14, 2005

An odd and sneakily enjoyable little flick. Tomlin & Carney make a great pair.

April 5, 2005

A great idea of the genius of Robert Benton to come.

March 3, 2005
Nolan's Pop Culture Review

The Late Show is a detective flick that modestly delivers more than one expects.

Full Review… | January 22, 2004
Spirituality and Practice

A loose, funny and crafty detective flick with an unusual cast.

March 26, 2003
San Francisco Examiner

Audience Reviews for The Late Show

Nice bit of Film Noir with Carney as an aging PI getting mixed up with the nutty Lily Tomlin to find who killed his former partner. Plot may sound familiar, but it's all in how it is pulled off, plus the chemistry of the stars. Much more violent than expected, but that just adds to the gritty realism. Highly recommended for fans of the genre and for fans of the two stars.

Anthony Valletta
Anthony Valletta

Super Reviewer

Art Carney's late career resurgence is quite interesting, and The Late Show is solid if unremarkable. Interesting PI movie. Tomlin's character gets on my nerves in that Shirley MacLaine New Age-y sort of way. Or is that just Tomlin's go-to character for her at this time, I'm not sure. Art Carney is just so easily watchable, even while not really doing much.

Matt Heiser
Matt Heiser

Robert Benton's sardonic, affectionate homage to the private-eye films of the 40's and 50's. it benefits greatly by the moving, magnificent performance by the late great Art Carney, playing a washed-up, aging private eye determined to solve one tantalizing case, after his one time partner is murdered. Carney vows to get the killer, but the trail begins with Lily Tomlin, in a delightful performance as a flaky ex-hippie, who stolen cat Carney's partner had been hired to find. Tomlin starts off trying to hired Carney, who at first wants nothing to do with her, but then has a change of heart, and soon she turns into his dizzy sidekick, they have real nice quirky chemistry together. The film is filled with wonderful plot-twists that include blackmail, murder, double-crosses and philandering wives. The major success of this film is due Robert Benton, who made his impressive directorial debut with this fine film, and wrote the brilliant original screenplay. A sadly underrated gem, that is a true winner! Highly Recommended.

Danny Rovira
Danny Rovira

Super Reviewer

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