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The Detective (Bilingual) [Import]

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The Detective (Bilingual) [Import] + Frank Sinatra: Lady In Cement [Import] + Frank Sinatra: Tony Rome [Import]
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Product Details

  • Actors: Frank Sinatra, Lee Remick, Ralph Meeker, Jack Klugman, Horace McMahon
  • Directors: Gordon Douglas
  • Writers: Abby Mann, Roderick Thorp
  • Producers: Aaron Rosenberg
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Release Date: May 24 2005
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007PALXE

Product Description

Product Description

Police detective Joe Leland (Frank Sinatra) investigates the murder of a homosexual man. While investigating, he discovers links to official corruption in New York City in this drama that delves into a world of sex and drugs. Based on the Roderick Thorpe novel.

Frank Sinatra's 1968 film The Detective was a serious attempt at a social statement sandwiched between the chairman's two lighthearted detective films Tony Rome and Lady in Cement. Directed by Gordon Douglas (who also directed the Tony Rome films), the plot centers around Detective Joe Leland (Sinatra) and his investigation of the murder of a prominent businessman's gay son. The film was notable at the time for openly depicting the gay community; however, it still falls back on the same tired stereotypes. Rounding out the cast is Lee Remick as Sinatra's nympho-wife, Robert Duvall as a violent homophobic cop, and Jack "the Klugster" Klugman as Sinatra's only honest ally on the force. Off screen, the film was notable for causing the irreparable rift between Sinatra and then-bride Mia Farrow, when she opted to star in Rosemary's Baby instead of this film. Obviously a wise choice, but The Detective is still a solid effort, with a great Jerry Goldsmith score and solid performances from all involved. Interestingly, this film could be considered the unofficial prequel to Die Hard. Both films were based on the same series of detective novels by Roderick Thorpe. --Kristian St. Clair --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Diane Edwards on Nov. 10 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Not a bad movie, was surprised how believable Frank Sinatra was in his role as a police detective. Recommend to those who like police drama.
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By Bram DeRuiter on Nov. 1 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Not a very entertaining film
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By Serge Hudon on Sept. 28 2014
Format: DVD
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 43 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
SINATRA'S BEST 1960's DRAMA March 31 2005
By Gregory Saffady - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Stark and brutal for its' time, THE DETECTIVE, was Frank Sinatra's best drama of the 1960's(THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE belongs to Laurence Harvey and Angela Lansbury). This is a story of tortured people keenly told focucusing on wwo main plots: a homosexual murder and the connected subplot involving an urban housing scandal. Both are well woven into a gritty storyline that is stronger that the written work of Roderick Thorp. The most effective visuals: ugly police tactics that lead to the execution of a wrongfully convicted petty criminal, convincingly played by Tony Musante, in one of his first screen roles and the stench of 1960's NYPD corruption. Sinatra is outstanding in the lead role, showing a realm of extreme emotions: dogged, rigged, self righteous, guilt ridden, defeated. Credible support comes from William Windom, Jack Klugman , Robert Duvall as a racist, homophobic cop and Ralph Meeker as a snivler, to whom Sinatra gives a beat down.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
"Friends of a certain persuasion." Oct. 11 2010
By Konrei - Published on
Format: DVD
I was surprised to discover that Roderick Thorp's writings inspired this realistic, gritty cop drama AND Die Hard, yet somehow, it makes sense.

THE DETECTIVE is a well-acted 1968 film that broke new ground---sometimes shattered it. Frank Sinatra is Joe Leland, a veteran NYPD Detective, who is assigned to investigate the brutal mutilation murder of the gay son of the richest real estate developer in New York City.

THE DETECTIVE tries to address its subject sympathetically. In the course of doing so, however, it taps into every gay stereotype. It actually taps into almost every stereotype, and yet, overall, it works. Impossibly dated now, THE DETECTIVE is a fly in the amber. Men are still wearing hats and women white gloves.

From the outset, THE DETECTIVE throws us off balance. Sinatra, tough-talking out of the side of his mouth, plays Joe Leland like a liberal Joe Friday, stolid, fair, and "square." His opening gambit, "Penis cut off...fingers shredded" was absolutely shocking for the time, and put THE DETECTIVE into the realm of film noir right from the beginning. Leland's investigation carries us through a nether world where (as the script describes them) "closet queens" have secret dalliances with other men.

THE DETECTIVE relies on Havelock Ellis' groundbreaking but inaccurate early 20th Century research into human sexuality to explain sexual orientation: "There are no bisexuals," proclaims the film's noted psychiatrist, "only homosexuals with no sense of commitment to their creed." Gay men as portrayed in this film are all grotesquely "swish." The film is an outsider, looking in on a world it presupposes exists in a certain way. Still, THE DETECTIVE tries to make a serious social statement.

The script is full of words never heard before onscreen. Scenes of men mouth kissing stunned 1968 audiences. The gay subculture is portrayed as uniformly smarmy (more as a result of being driven underground than anything intrinsic).

The Cop Universe around Joe Leland is both anachronistic and brutal. Jack Klugman plays the Bill Gannon role, as Dave, Joe's thoughtful sometime partner. Most of the cops in Leland's NYPD are on the take. This was still a world where the boys in blue gave suspects the Third Degree. A suspected child molester is interrogated naked in the Station House. "Breaks 'em down," the token Black cop (played by Sugar Ray Robinson) explains. "I saw it in a newsreel on German Concentration Camps(!)."

The police routinely brutalize the gay men they find lurking in dark alleyways. Robert Duvall plays a particularly relentless homophobic cop, to whom the word "fag" is practically an honorific. He specializes in unprovoked beatings of his "queer" arrestees. The Department ME says, "Twenty years on The Job and those people still make me sick," to which Leland responds, "They don't bother me. I got my own bag."

Joe Leland's bag is his wife Karen, played by the strikingly beautiful Lee Remick. Ms. Remick has a class and ease onscreen that current-day actresses simply cannot match. Karen, who grew up in orphanages, yearns toward Joe (and he toward her), but cannot overcome a deep-rooted self-destructive psychological compulsive need to seduce other men. Although Joe and Karen are separated, it makes little difference. They clearly love one another and spend much, frustrating, time together.

Joe is a decent man and a good cop, but even he isn't immune to his environment. He coerces a spurious confession from a "psycho" gay muscleman (Tony Musante in his first role) who goes to The Chair for the murder even though Joe knows he's innocent.

Joe is promoted for closing the case. Not long after, Joe is visited by Jacqueline Bisset, whose husband has mysteriously committed suicide. Joe then discovers that he committed the murder, which is tied into a high-level real estate scam involving the Mayor.

Joe's sense of justice is outraged. "Those people up in the ghetto are tired of living in garbage cans! It's our job to sit on the lid of those garbage cans! And when the lid blows off, brother, we are going to be in for it!"

The sincere Liberalism of THE DETECTIVE is what makes it work, despite its repeated references to "those people." Gifted screenwriter Abby Mann takes a subject which was absolutely forbidden and brings it into the light with the best of intentions. Although THE DETECTIVE tends to be ham-handed, Sinatra plays it well, without parodying himself. It is instructive to remember that this film was the first of its kind. It tried to humanize its characters and subject. If it did a flawed job, it still set our feet on the right path.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
"Tough, "Gritty" "Retro" and "Square!" May 29 2005
By Tony Rome - Published on
Format: DVD
Someone wandering into a showing of "The Detective" in 1968, after a movie absence of say a year or so, might well have not beleived what they were seeing or hearing.

The film broke a certain amount of new ground at the time as it depicted somewhat graphically the mutilation murder of a of Sinatra's first lines of dialouge as New York detective Joe Leland is "penis cut off....fingers shredded....."

Despite the first time utterances of screen obscenities and its dabbling in the worlds of homosexuality and nyphomania, the "Detective" felt somewhat square and retro even at the time of its initial release--could be all those New York cops in snap brim hats running around calling homosexuals "fags" and the Jerry Goldmsith score with that lonely trumpet right out of 40's film-noir--one has to remember this was also the film era of "Easy Rider" and "The Graduate"

Screenwriter Abby Mann puts so many liberal platitudes in Sinatra's mouth, there are times in the film when he sounds more like a crusading social worker than a tough cop--"there are things to fight for, and I can't fight for them while I'm here.."

In any case "The Detective" provided Sinatra with one of his better roles in the 60's although that trademark fedora made him look older than his 52 years at the time, and the supporting cast (especially Lee Remick as Leland's nymphomaniac wife) is fine.

It might also be worth noting that "The Detective" played a part in the breakup of Sinatra's marriage to Mia Farrow.

Farrow was originally scheduled to play the part of Norma Mc Iver but scheduling problems with "Rosemary's Baby" led to the role going to the beautiful Jacqueline Bissett (sporting a Mia-type short hairdo)and to Mia being served with separation papers on the "Rosemary" set.


There are no special features to speak of on the new Fox DVD except for some trailers for "Tony Rome" and "Lady In Cement,"

the lightweight prviate eye films Frank made before and after shooting "The Detective"
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Interesting Primarily As A Portrait Of 1960s Homophobia Feb. 23 2008
By Gary F. Taylor - Published on
Format: DVD
Based on the 1966 novel by Roderick Thorp, THE DETECTIVE was among the highest grossing films of both 1968 and one of the most popular of Frank Sinatra's film career. At the time it was considered remarkably honest in its portrait of a no-nonsense cop who finds himself trapped between a series of compromises and his own sense of integrity. Today, however, it chiefly notable for its unintentional window onto 1960s homophobia.

Joe Leland (Frank Sinatra) is a third generation New York City police officer who begins the film with two victories: in his private life, he has wooed and won a remarkably beautiful wife, Karen (Lee Remick); in his professional life, he is assigned to a particularly notorious murder case that he quickly solves and which results in a major promotion. But both explode in his face in particularly unsavory ways. Although flawless on the surface, Karen is a distinctly disturbed woman who shatters their marriage through a series of compulsive affairs. And although it seems solved, the case on which Joe's promotion rests may not be nearly as simple as every one thought at the time.

The case involves the brutal murder of a gay man who is found with his head battered in and sexually mutilated--a circumstance that leads Joe and his co-workers to prowl 'known homosexual hangouts' such as gyms and the waterfront. In the process, the film creates a portrait of the gay community that says considerably less about the gay community than the way in which heterosexual America thought of it at the time. The gay men themselves are improbable, being pulled out of group gropes from the back of cargo trucks, flexing muscles in tawny-colored gyms, frequenting bars notable for satin and velvet, and lounging about in silk robes. They come in two basic varities, victim and predator. They are weak and are routinely brutalized by both each other and the police, the latter of which positively delight in knocking them around.

This is not particularly unusual for films of the 1960s and the 1970s; it is much the same portrait presented by such diverse films as ADVISE AND CONSENT and CRUISING. What is unusual is Joe's attitude toward them: unlike his co-workers, he dislikes seeing them mistreated and prefers to see them (and indeed all other suspects) accorded a certain basic respect as human beings. It was a very, very bold stance for a film to take at the time. Even so, it does not counterbalance the portrait itself, which is intrinsically demeaning, or the story, which ultimately pivots on a version of "gay panic"--a heterosexual myth used here with a slight spin.

The chief grace of the film is the performances of Sinatra and Remick. Today Sinatra is best recalled as a singer, but he had some significant acting chops, and he proves more than able to over the shortcomings of the script. Lee Remick, a much-admired actress, is flawlessly cast as the perfidious wife Karen, a woman who superficial qualities conceal an unraveling personality. The supporting cast, which features Jacqueline Bissett, Jack Klugman, and Robert Duvall, is also quite fine. But the script is weak, the story choppy, the film is a shade too glossy for its subject--and its incredibly niave portrait of gay men tends to overpower everything.

All films must be considered in the context of their eras, but even so a good film can transcend its era. THE DETECTIVE doesn't manage to do that: sometimes ridiculous to the point of being amusing, sometimes so grotesque that it becomes a bit embarassing. All the same, it remains interesting primarily because it offers a window on what mainstream Americans of the 1960s thought homosexuals were like. The DVD offers the film in original widescreen format; the transfer, however, is merely acceptable. Recommended primarily to Sinatra fans and film historians interested in Hollywood's frequently off-the-wall portray of gay men.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Sensational Crime Story July 29 2013
By Acute Observer - Published on
Format: DVD
The Detectives, 1968 film

This is based on the novel by Roderick Thorp. An automobile stops, Joe Leland arrives at a murder scene. A dead man lies on the living room floor; he is mutilated. The ME arrives. Where are the missing body parts? Detective Leland looks around. [No dusting for fingerprints?] "It takes all kinds." Another tenant is questioned about the deceased. Leland doesn't allow one man to intrude on the crime scene (he has connections). Joe meets Karen Widener at a social event. They meet again. Karen speaks her mind. Being a cop is the most useful thing he can do. Karen was an orphan. Joe talks to her. They become friendly. [This explains their past.] They watch a football game. There is hearing on a police shooting, an accident. People on the outside don't understand.

Leland gets a call to an apartment. Will he help a 19-year old? Can he make it to the top? Can he crack a murder case in 48 hours? They question suspects. A detective visits health clubs, then an apartment house to find the suspect. Getting a confession will assure Leland's promotion. Can he use psychology to get a confession? [Isn't this distasteful?] Leland feeds Felix information and gets him to talk. [No Miranda warning?] Later Leland sees Karen in a bar with another man, an old schoolmate. That night he talks to Karen. "Who is it?" Joe tells his wife what to do. The next night he surprises Karen with another man! Is there something wrong with Karen? Yes, she explains. Leland is promoted to Lieutenant. Felix pays the price for his murder. A man falls from a racetrack's roog. A young girl goes missing. Who is the suspect?

Mrs. Mac Iver visits Lt. Leland about her husband's death. Is there a conspiracy? She hired a private detective but they dropped out. Was it a suicide? Were pages missing from Colin's notebook? A 68-year old man is questioned nude; the detective got the idea from Nazi methods. Are tenements in the ghetto the most profitable for landlords? Is it worth money to Leland to squash the Mac Iver case? Leland questions Mrs. Mac Iver. He visits Dr. Roberts to ask about Colin. He treated Karen. Leland doesn't like psychologists. Norma had a police record. She tells Leland about the room with Colin's records. Joe finds a ledger with names and money amounts. Joe survives an assassination attempt in his parking garage! "Rainbow" refers to a Planning Commission, who decides where new buildings are located. Wendell Roberts' name is on the list. "Be careful!" Leland snoops in Roberts' office. There is a tape from Colin Mac Iver. "Play it!" We hear Mac Iver's voice as he tells about his secret. [Sensationalism to attract customers?] "What's the matter?" There is an argument and a fight. Colin was guilty of a murder. A few weeks later Colin fell from the rooftop. Did he face responsibility? What will Leland do? "You'll never win" says the Captain. Why did he do it? What will Joe do now? Goodnight (and goodbye).

This movie has sensational parts and topics formerly censored, it still seems below average. Was the pacing too slow? Was the story too complicated? There was a slight reference to a "Planning Commission" whose members seek to enrich themselves by their control of land, the basic unit of wealth from time immemorial. Isn't this the real crime that affects everyone's taxes? Was the book better? This 1968 movie records the attitudes and culture of that era. Was it meant as an attack on capital punishment?