ⓘ Gumshoe (film)


ⓘ Gumshoe (film)

Gumshoe is a British 1971 film that was the theatrical directorial debut of director Stephen Frears. Written by local author Neville Smith, who appears as Arthur, the film is set in Liverpool. Albert Finney plays the role of Eddie Ginley, a bingo-caller and occasional club comedian who dreams of being a private eye of the kind he knows from films and pulp novels. Having put an advertisement in a local newspaper as a birthday present to himself, Ginley is suddenly contacted for what appears to be an actual piece of detective work.


1. Plot

Eddie Ginley Albert Finney works at a bingo hall in Liverpool, England, but dreams of becoming a stylish private investigator like those he has read about and seen in films. After finally placing an advertisement in a local newspaper announcing his detective services, he receives a mysterious offer. Even though Ginley is inexperienced and clueless at certain aspects of investigating, he comes to realize that he is entangled in a serious case involving drugs, murder and even his own family.


2. Production

The film has many comic moments as it switches between straight detective novel and affectionate spoof. It has some shots of Liverpool buildings that have long since been demolished, including the employment exchange on Leece Street. Several scenes in the London part of the narrative take place in and around the occult Atlantis Bookshop.

Gumshoe was the first of two films with original music scores by Andrew Lloyd Webber the other was The Odessa File, in 1974. Some of the music was re-used in Lloyd Webbers musical version of Sunset Boulevard 1993. Roy Young recorded the song "Baby, Youre Good For Me", written by Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

Despite its relatively lightweight tone, Frearss film is not without its contentious moments. Its broadcast on TV is nowadays rare because of Ginleys use of racist language and insults such as calling a black African character "Mighty Joe Young" and a "spade". Another scene was significantly and clumsily shortened before release because of its detailed depiction of a heroin user preparing and taking his fix. After years of unavailability, Gumshoe was released on DVD in 2009.


3. Cast

  • Albert Finney as Eddie Ginley
  • Billie Whitelaw as Ellen
  • George Innes as Bookshop Proprietor
  • Janice Rule as Mrs Blankerscoon
  • Maureen Lipman as Naomi
  • Wendy Richard as Anne Scott
  • Chris Cunningham as Clifford
  • Billy Dean as Tommy
  • Fulton Mackay as Straker
  • Bert King as Mal
  • Neville Smith as Arthur
  • Tom Kempinski as Psychiatrist
  • George Silver as De Fries
  • Carolyn Seymour as Alison
  • Frank Finlay as William
  • Ken Jones as Labour Exchange Clerk
  • Harry Hutchinson as Kleptomaniac
  • Oscar James as Azinge
  • Joey Kenyon as Joey