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The Late Show

If you’ve never seen “The Late Show,” well, you should.

It’s entertaining, looks great, and there are worse things you can do than watch Art Carney and Lily Tomlin (not to mention a rich supporting cast).

The movie was directed by Robert Benton and produced by Robert Altman (come to think of it, The Late Show would make a sweet double feature paired with The Long Goodbye).

Here’s Roger Ebert’s review.

And P. Kael wrote:

Benton has learned the smartest thing anybody could learn from Robert pick actors with the ability to bring the characters up out of themselves, and then to encourage them to trust themselves with each other. Each character is an original. Lily Tomlin's Margo, who wanders off in her head and loses track of what's going on around her, needs a keeper, and she finds one in Art Carney's steady, close-lipped Ira....the performers are so good that we want more of the characters than we get—it's slightly frustrating that the script hold them in check.

...The Late Show doesn't quite pay off in the way a thriller is expected to—in thrills. It pays off in atmosphere, spooking us by the flip, greedy ordinariness of the evil. Benton's nostalgia for the genre works imaginatively in every detail of the film. What he lacks is low cunning. Working in the thriller genre, he's a sensitive craftsman infatuated with a painted whore. The Late Show is fast and exciting, but it isn't a thriller. It's a one-of-a-kind movie—a love-hate poem to sleaziness.

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