The Cheap Detective (1978) starring Peter Falk, Ann-Margret, Eileen Brennan, Sid Caesar, Stockard Channing Movie Review

The Cheap Detective (1978)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Eileen Brennan and Peter Falk in The Cheap Detective (1978)

The Budget Bogart

San Francisco detective Lou Peckinpaugh (Peter Falk) is a wise cracking boozer who finds himself as a major suspect when his business partner shows up dead forcing him to try and stay one step ahead of the law so he can clear his name before he is dragged down the station. At the same time he finds himself getting involved in a case involving stolen jewels whilst also hooking up with old flame Marlene DuChard (Louise Fletcher) who has the Gestapo after her.

Listening to Peter Falk doing a Sam Spade style detective in "The Cheap Detective" is entertaining up to a point and after that point "The Cheap Detective" becomes a question of what's the point. Now the point is actually very obvious as on a simple level "The Cheap Detective" is a spoof of Humphrey Bogart movies "The Maltese Falcon" and "Casablanca". But whilst those bits are obvious with some iconic scenes spoofed especially when it comes to the "Casablanca" references there are numerous non classic references which unless you are a movie buff and a huge Humphrey Bogart fan will most likely fly right over your head.

Unfortunately what that means for those who find themselves watching "The Cheap Detective" not knowing they need to be Bogart buff to enjoy it is that after about the first amusing 15 minutes it becomes tired. And when it becomes tired it becomes a case of spot the actor as there are plenty of familiar faces in smaller parts but even that becomes tiresome.

What this all boils down to is that "The Cheap Detective" is a movie for fans of Humphrey Bogart and in particular "The Maltese Falcon" and "Casablanca" who will be familiar with the movies to enjoy all the references and parodies. But for those who are not familiar with the movies it is a movie which quickly loses the audiences interest because it has nothing else to offer.