Art Carney and Lily Tomlin make an arresting screen duo in The Late Show, a modest meller and a tribute to the private eye yarns of the 1940s.
The process has given Carney and Tomlin the freedom to create two extremely sympathetic characters. Both performances are knockout.
Carney plays an aging private detective trying to maintain his dignity while scratching out a living on the sordid underbelly of Los Angeles. When his onetime partner (Howard Duff in an opening cameo) is murdered, Carney, in the best Sam Spade tradition, vows to get the killer.
The trail begins with Tomlin whose stolen cat Duff had been hired to find. Top-heavy plot unwinds with the usual potboiler ingredients – blackmail, murder, philandering wives and double-cross.
1977: Nomination: Best Original Screenplay