Have you ever fallen under the spell of a film? Of course you have, otherwise you wouldn't be here. Certain films and characters have a way of mesmerizing us and drawing us into their world. Count me 100% under the spell of one Margo Sperling, the lady with the missing cat in 1977's "The Late Show."
|An unlikely femme fatale|
"The Late Show"gives us an authentic and compelling performance by Art Carney as Ira Wells, the retired private eye from a bygone era. The time is the present, but Ira's mind and spirit are firmly planted in the past. When we first meet him we spy a tell-all he's working on called "Naked Girls and Machine Guns, Memoirs of a Real Private Investigator by Ira Wells." Ah, the good old days.
|Retired P.I.s have a story to tell|
A fateful evening's disturbance brings mortally wounded ex-partner Harry Regan to Ira's doorstep. Shot while working on a case, Harry dies in Ira's room before revealing his killer and that old private eye in Ira comes back to life. His mission? Find out who killed Harry Regan.
|Howard Duff's role is small, but pivotal|
|Sleeze x 3 : Eugene Roche, Bill Macy and John Considine|
|Joanna Cassidy's Laura Birdwell should be the femme fatale, |
but she's just a distraction
|Margo was NOT a Handmaid|
Because it's Lily Tomlin, there are some great Margo-isms (that could be Frankie-isms if you watch her in Grace and Frankie):
My shrink says I'm a very conflicted personality... plus my astrologer
Boy, it's really lucky for you that I just happen to be a very self-destructive person.
Does the Pope s--- in the woods?
While the private eye mystery of the film is superb (Benton's script was Oscar-nominated for Best Original Screenplay) the heart of story is the relationship between two completely different characters. No way should they give one another another look without a raised eyebrow. But somehow these two misfits connect, and although there is no romance for us to see, you know the partnership will blossom into something more. And it should. They are just so good together. And that is why Margo, not Laura Birdwell, is the femme fatale of the story. She offers Ira that elusive something, that Black Bird, that stuff that dreams are made of: purpose and respect and maybe love.
|The beginning of a beautiful friendship?|
Margo: I feel like the Thin Man.
Margo: You know, Phyllis Kirk and Peter Lawford.
So - look into my eyes (figuratively) - you will see this move and you will love it. Got that? See it. It melds past and present in a way few films can. I promise you will love it.
This is my entry in the Classic Movie Blog Association's Femme/Homme Fatales of Film Noir Blogathon. Click here for more fatally fabulous females and fellas.