The Cheap Detective (1978)

PG   |    |  Comedy, Crime, Mystery

The Cheap Detective (1978) Poster

San Francisco, 1940, detectives, dames, documents, Nazis, and a treasure.




  • Peter Falk in The Cheap Detective (1978)
  • Peter Falk in The Cheap Detective (1978)
  • Peter Falk in The Cheap Detective (1978)
  • Peter Falk and Dom DeLuise in The Cheap Detective (1978)
  • Marsha Mason and Neil Simon in The Cheap Detective (1978)
  • Peter Falk in The Cheap Detective (1978)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

18 February 2005 | jwpeel-1
| Play it again, Neil!
Once again, we have a juicy comedy spoof of the detective genre, in this case of the Bogart detective movies. Peter Falk once again plays a Bogart inspired detective, but don't expect an impression here. After all, that wouldn't be fair to Peter. He is an actor first and foremost, not an Impressionist. But what he does with the role is to catch every nuance and speech patterns of the great Humphrey Bogart. Falk must have studied Bogie quite closely because he has every little hand gesture and even the walk of the man.

Now, let's get to the plot. "Fuhgetaboudit" as the mobster would say. What we have here are loving parodies of "The Maltese Falcon" in "Casablanca" with pros like John Houseman and Dom De Luise playing familiar character actors Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre respectively.

Neil Simon must really love the old classic detective movies, or just knows them so well then he can play on a quick paycheck writing them in record time. But like I said about the movie "Murder By Death," just have fun and laugh a lot. It is a fun ride.

Critic Reviews

Did You Know?


One of three movies written by Neil Simon that were directed by Robert Moore. The others being Murder by Death (1976) and Chapter Two (1979).


Lou Peckinpaugh: No point crying over spilt husbands.


Approximately 45 minutes in, Lou meets with the Madeline Kahn character in his office. A male member of the crew is visible, seated on a couch. He is in a pink shirt, wearing eyeglasses and appears to be reading a script. He is only visible for about a second, as the camera pans across the room.

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: In 1939, the ominous grey clouds of war broke loose over Western Europe and rained down havoc and destruction . . . followed by humidity and gradual clearing.

In the Philippines, a small band of native guerrillas prepared secretly for the inevitable conflict that would soon engulf the East . . . This has nothing to do with our story.

Our story is about crime. Not the bad crime we face each day on our streets . . . but the good crime we came to know and love in a time when the world was innocent ... when murder wasn't something you were ashamed of ... when a bullet hole wasn't something disgusting . . . and when a man could betray a woman without feeling guilty. Our story starts in a fictitious city called San Francisco ... seven thousand miles away from Casablanca.


Deep Purple
Music by
Peter De Rose
Lyrics by Mitchell Parish
Sung by Peter Falk and Eileen Brennan at Nix Place
Also played at the bar when Peckinpaugh is talking to Blubber


Plot Summary


Comedy | Crime | Mystery | Romance | Thriller

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