Video Essay: “Watching the Detectives: Our Favorite Movie Private Eyes”


Perhaps the most exciting Blu-ray release of the month is Paramount’s anniversary edition of Roman Polanski’s classic film noir homage Chinatown, which celebrates its 40th birthday this year (1972 was a helluva year for genre cinema). Polanski’s film — from a celebrated screenplay by Robert Towne — told the story of private investigator Jake Gittes (played to perfection by Jack Nicholson), and ended up revitalizing the private eye genre, which has continued to fascinate viewers to this very day. In our latest video essay, we’ve compiled over two dozen of our favorite movie detectives in tribute to one of our favorite movie genres. Check it out after the jump.

Video Essay “Watching the Detectives” from Flavorwire on Vimeo.

CREDITS Edited by Jason Bailey Music by Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Hall and Oates

FILMS The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother (Gene Wilder, 1975) Angel Heart (Alan Parker, 1987) The Big Lebowski (Joel Coen, 1998) The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, 1946) The Big Sleep (Michael Winner, 1978) Brick (Rian Johnson, 2006) Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974) Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (Carl Reiner, 1983) Devil in a Blue Dress (Carl Franklin, 1995) Gumshoe (Stephen Frears, 1971) Harper (Jack Smight, 1966) Hickey & Boggs (Robert Culp, 1972) Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich, 1955) Lady in the Lake (Robert Montgomery, 1947) The Long Goodbye (Robert Altman, 1973) The Maltese Falcon (Roy Del Ruth, 1931) The Maltese Falcon (John Huson, 1941) Murder, My Sweet (Edward Dmytryk, 1944) My Favorite Brunette (Elliot Nugent, 1947) Night Moves (Arthur Penn, 1975) Out of the Past (Jaques Tourneur, 1947) The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (Billy Wilder, 1970) Shaft (Gordon Parks, 1971) Sherlock Holmes (Guy Ritchie, 2009) The Thin Man (W.S. Dyke, 1934) The Two Jakes (Jack Nicholson, 1990) The Woman in Green (Roy William Neill, 1945) Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958) Zero Effect (Jake Kasdan, 1998)