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Writer-director Robert Benton, who examined a similar story in 1998's "Twilight," first explored the territory of the geriatric private eye in this sadly underrated 1977 delight. Art Carney stars as a nearly retired detective who suddenly finds himself caught up in two seemingly separate cases. One involves the murder of his former partner (Howard Duff); the other entangles him with a flaky post-hippie (Lily Tomlin), who wants him to find her missing cat. The two cases eventually dovetail, but the plot--which leads them to a Hollywood crime bigwig played by the affable Eugene Roche--is of less interest than the almost magical chemistry between the crotchety Carney and the wonderfully off-the-wall Tomlin. The perfect film for anyone who likes their mysteries in the Dashiell Hammett/Raymond Chandler mode.

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WA31864 Late Show, The DVD (1977/Art Carney) $19.98 $17.99