Gumshoe is a 1971 film, and was the directorial debut of British director Stephen Frears. Written by local author Neville Smith, who appears as Arthur, the film is set in Liverpool with Albert Finney playing the role of Eddie Ginley. Ginley is a bingo-caller and occasional club comedian who dreams of being a private eye of the kind he knows from films and pulp novels. Having put an advertisement in a local newspaper (the Liverpool Echo) as a birthday present to himself, Ginley is suddenly contacted for what appears to be an actual piece of detective work...
The film has many comic moments as it switches between detective novel and affectionate spoof. It has some shots of Liverpool buildings that have long since been demolished, including the employment exchange on Leece Street.
Gumshoe was the first of two films with original music scores by Andrew Lloyd Webber (the other was The Odessa File, in 1974). Some of the music was re-used in Lloyd Webber's musical version of Sunset Boulevard (1993).
Several scenes in the London part of the narrative take place in and around Paul Brunton's famous occult bookstore, The Atlantis Bookshop.
Despite its relatively lightweight tone, Frears' film is not without its contentious moments. TV broadcasts are nowadays rare because of Ginley's use of racist language and insults (such as calling a black African character "Mighty Joe Young" and a "spade" — see list of ethnic slurs). Another scene was significantly (and clumsily) shortened before release because of its detailed depiction of a heroin-user preparing and taking his 'fix'.
After years of unavailability, Gumshoe was released on DVD in 2009.
Albert Finney as Eddie Ginley
Billie Whitelaw as Ellen
Frank Finlay as William
Janice Rule as Mrs. Blankerscoon
Carolyn Seymour as Alison
Fulton Mackay as Straker
George Innes as Bookshop Proprietor
George Silver as De Fries
Billy Dean as Tommy
Wendy Richard as Anne Scott
Maureen Lipman as Naomi
Neville Smith as Arthur
Oscar James as Azinge
Joey Kenyon as Joey
Bert King as Mal
Chris Cunningham as Clifford
Ken Jones as Labour Exchange Clerk
Tom Kempinski as Psychiatrist
Harry Hutchinson as Kleptomaniac