The Detective – 1968

“…penis cut off”

Words I never thought I’d hear Frank Sinatra say.  For 1968, this is some heady stuff, eh?  And thus begins our detective story.

“There’s semen stains on the sheets.”   Frank Sinatra gunning for an Oscar nomination?  I decided not to Google this film and just watch it blissfully ignorant of the plot or any publicity.

The coroner is “disturbed” by homosexuals while Frank Sinatra isn’t because he has his “own bag”.  I automatically love him for this comment.

Sinatra’s character, Joe Leland, takes no shit but also has no problem with our first witness who is an obvious cop-hater.  It’s an odd character for this time period.  He’s way too in touch with other people to be one of those stereotypical, hard-boiled cops.

Is that Sugar Ray Robinson playing “Kelly” one of the uniform cops?  Sweet casting.

So the gay corpse is the son of a big name businessman and Leland is going all Dirty Harry on his captain.  He’s investigating the crime and no one is going to screw it up.

Holy cow was Lee Remick gorgeous in 1968.  She’s way too good for Sinatra.

Now we’re in a flashback, showing us when Leland and his wife (Remick) met.  If she asks “Who are you” one more time he should smack her.

She’s stunned at the idea of a cop taking night classes.  Ah, life was so simple when it was acceptable to reduce everyone to stereotypes.  He doesn’t like a play and gets called on it by Remick’s friends.  Ooh, God forbid a smart cop exists.  Idiots.  She wants to know where he’s going when he leaves because her friends insult him.  I guess this is a meet cute, huh?

Lord, she’s beautiful, though.   She could do better.

Wow, she doesn’t mince words.  Asks him flat out how many women he’s had.  With a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other, she’s all relaxed in his apartment in her sexy black dress.

Now she’s in black underwear and taking off her bra.  Damn.  I’m a straight woman and I think I’D do her.

This is actually a great way to introduce the backstory of his marriage.  Well done.

Back then…one of the uniforms shot someone in a car (hey that’s Tom Atkins!).  I can’t figure out if the guy was black or gay (“One of them”).  The cops are going to cover it up and Leland is pissed.

Wifey wants him to not be a cop but he thinks it’s “worth something” what he’s doing even though he can’t go against his own.

Ummm…Lee Remick’s on top.  Wow.

The flashbacks are confusing me.

Leland and his wife are now split up.  I think the cover up happened in the flashback but I’m not sure.

Gay guys hang out in the back of a truck?  Is this normal?  Duvall calls one of the young guys “One of YOUR kind”.  Sinatra is trying to be more sympathetic.  Cops harassing gay guys.  Amazing that Sinatra did this.  Impressive.  Duvall is pushing them around and Sinatra isn’t putting up with it.  Kick his ass, Frank.

“You’re a miserable sonofabitch”  and then a punch in the gut.  Wooo!

Gay guy in custody and the cops are scaring him and verbally abusing him.  They think Felix is the killer.  “What did you do with the knife you FAG””  This dialogue must have had people freaking out.

In trying to calm Felix down, Leland speaks softly and actually rubs the guys hand.  Very gentle.

Okay, I cheated and looked this guy up.  The actor playing Felix.  The stereotypical gay murder suspect who was abused by the dead guy is being played by the guy who ended up playing Nino Schibetta on Oz.  I don’t see any resemblance.  Score one for Father Time.

Felix is admitting to having killed Teddy the dead guy because Leland presses him for it.  It feels wrong. Okay, Leland thinks he’s crazy and they aren’t going to take that into consideration at this trial.

Leland then shows up at his ex-wife’s house and says “I came her to ball” but I misunderstand it as “I came her to bawl” until he says “Ain’t that what you do best?”  Charming.  Ah, another flashback.

Can’t tell if it’s in flashback or not but he makes his wife/ex-wife call her boyfriend and break up with him.  I think it was in flashback and now in the present time they’re fighting over ANOTHER man.  Maybe I’m too tired to watch this movie?

So his wife was a ho.  I get it now.  I think that was in a flashback and I think the fight was too.  They “balled” in the present.  I’m good.

Congrats, Leland is a lieutenant.  And Felix is getting the electric chair while he watched.  And they show us Felix’ face as he dies.  Eesh.

Meanwhile, at the horse races someone jumps off a roof.  We get the vertigo theater version of it and I might need a Dramamine.

English chick shows up at Leland’s office saying her hubby didn’t commit suicide.  No one will investigate, they just called it suicide and she wants Leland to investigate.

They just showed two guys kiss.  How did I not even realize this film exists?  The voiceover of the suicide dude talking about how horrible the gay life is and how he just needed to get it out of his system, while sounding a little hokey is probably exactly how men felt back then…hell how many gays probably feel now.  Frank Sinatra, not afraid to tackle the big issues huh?

Ooh, suicide guy killed original dead guy whose penis he cut off and Felix was executed for.  This is good stuff.  Poor, crazy Felix.  And suicide guy felt worse about being gay than he did being a murderer.

So if the tapes of the confession gets released, Leland loses face.  What to do, what to do?

Leland calls everyone “baby” in this movie.  He just tapped Jack Klugman’s cheek and said “Keep the faith, baby”.

Because everyone ELSE sucks, Leland turns in his badge. “Because there are things to fight for and I can’t fight for them while I’m here”.  So much for a sequel.

Jacqueline Bisset has hit boyish short haircut.  Google tells me that this role was supposed to go to Mia Farrow but she was still working on Rosemary’s Baby.   So they made Bisset look like her?

Bisset doesn’t seem to be too broken up that her dead husband is also gay and a murderer.  Just anther day.

Honestly?  It’s another film I think I need to see again to really appreciate it.  I really dug Sinatra, though.

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