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Feature Friday: “Sleuth” (1972)

John recently stripped this site of its “Features” tab, where I was steadily and secretly stockpiling links to feature films that are up in their entirety at YouTube. So maybe I’ll just start embedding them on the main page? One every Friday?

This week’s film will be:

SLEUTH (1972)

(I guess there wasn’t any surprise in that, given this post’s title.)

Sleuth was directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, adapted from the play by Anthony Shaffer, starring Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine (and that’s really about it!). A few years ago it got remade by Kenneth Branagh, who took the Caine role and gave Caine the Olivier role (got that?), and even used a screenplay by Harold Pinter—but I still skipped it. There’s no way it’s as charming as the original—and I say that without being the biggest fan of Mankiewicz. As the immortal Jacques Rivette put it, “Here’s a good definition of mise en scène—it’s what’s lacking in the films of Joseph L. Mankiewicz.” BUT DESPITE THAT, I am fond of Sleuth and you should watch it, especially if you haven’t already. Jeremy and I talked more about it here.


  • A. D. Jameson is the author of five books, most recently I FIND YOUR LACK OF FAITH DISTURBING: STAR WARS AND THE TRIUMPH OF GEEK CULTURE and CINEMAPS: AN ATLAS OF 35 GREAT MOVIES (with artist Andrew DeGraff). Last May, he received his Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the Program for Writers at UIC.

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