Sleuth ( Joseph L. Mankiewicz) 1972 **** 5/11/2017

This movie can capably be compared to a braid; it is full of twists, one after another on top of themselves.  This misdirection is established right from the start, as Milo Tindal (Michael Caine) wanders through a hedge maze to meet Andrew Crack (Lawrence Olivier), a foppish whimsically aristocratic detective writer.  Milo has been with Andrew’s wife Margaret, and they are meeting to talk about this in a jovial manner.  Andrew has a proposal: Milo steal £250,000 of jewelry to keep Margaret in furs and ensure she stays out of Andrew’s greatly receded hair.  There is a class component here, with Milo the son of an Italian, and himself a hairdresser.  They go through the devilish routine, maintaining perfection in their clues.  This is where the first, and only the first! of many twists comes in.  It would be unfair to give it away.  Olivier is madcap and snobbish, Caine suave and fiery.  There are antique automatons that act marvelously as secondary characters for reaction shots: the laughing Jack the pirate and the portrait of Margaret.

A delicious picture.

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