“The Late Show!” Brilliant Film Noir! Art Carney And Lily Tomlin Are Perfect In This 70’s Gem!

Lily Tomlin’s Greatest Role!

I love Lily Tomlin – everyone knows her now for her successful TV show “Grace & Frankie” with Jane Fonda – but from her breakout role on the TV show “Laugh-In” to her breakout role in Robert Altman’s “Nashville”, she’s always been an Icon – and here is one of her greatest performances ever!

“The Late Show!”

This 1977 film noir has an incredible cast, terrific direction and a great script – a look at Hollywood and the colorful characters who inhabit it…


“You wanna know somethin’, punk? You were born dumb and you’re gonna die dumb.”

While he achieved stardom as the goofy neighbor Ed Norton in the classic TV comedy “The Honeymooners”, many don’t know that he won the Best Actor Oscar in 1974 for the film “Harry And Tonto.”

Now, he’s an aging Private Detective in a town filled with dumb punks!

classic cult films

“The Nicest Movie You’ll Ever See About Murder And Blackmail!”

Time to celebrate one of the greatest 70’s films ever:

The Late Show

The Late Show!

Director Robert Benton created one of the best films of the decade – with a terrific cast including Art Carney, Lily Tomlin, Bill Macy and Joanna Cassidy. Benton would go on to win the Best Director And Best Screenplay Academy Awards – and the Best Picture Oscar two years later for “Kramer Vs. Kramer”, but this late 70’s film noir look at LA is his neglected gem.

Here is the trailer:

obscure classic films

Director Robert Benton would go onto write the screenplay for “Superman” the next year, and would win the Screenplay Oscar for “Kramer Vs. Kramer”, but he delivered a “sharp as a knife” script here as well – as Carney explains to Tomlin his jaded point of view of young wannabe Actresses who flood Hollywood:

“Back in the Forties, this town was crawlin’ with dollies like you. Good-lookin’ coquettes tryin’ their damnedest to act tough as hell. I got news for you: they did it better back then. This town doesn’t change – they just push the names around. Same dames… screwin’ up their lives just the same way.”

Art Carney is incredible as a broken down gumshoe struggling to make rent, who has seen it all. He gets a new client, Lily Tomlin, who needs help finding her cat – and finds herself caring too much about Carney:

Lily Tomlin the late show

“Boy, it’s really lucky for you that I just happen to be a very self-destructive person.”

Tomlin has never been better as a woman full of self-doubt, paranoia and big big dreams! What happens next is one of the best tales of Hollywood noir ever, with terrific acting and a ton of recognizable faces in small roles.

classic Lily Tomlin performance

“The Late Show” is poignant, touching, full of action and twists, and oozing with the smell of Hollywood glitter and grime. Director Robert Benton was oscar-nominated for his script…

greatest film noir

There are SO many great supporting characters in this film, but none more memorable than Bill Macy, a veteran character actor from TV’s “Maude”, who is pitch perfect as a small time Hollywood hustler…

legendary actor bill macy

Macy captures perfectly the kind of Hollywood low life that Carney has to deal with as he tries to find Tomlin’s cat…the plot, however, is much much more than that…


“The Late Show” is now on DVD, and you can also find it on various ondemand services…it’s a great example of an Actor playing against type…

Such is the case with legendary Comic Actor Walter Matthau: while know for his comedic films like “The Odd Couple” and “Grumpy Old Men”, he had a run of great 70’s action films as well!

Here are three of his best – all 70’s action classic – you can see them by clicking on my story here:

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Let me know if you’ve seen this great film!

Categories: 70's Cinema, Academy Awards, Action Films, Art, Books / Media, Cult Movies, Film Fight Club, Film Noir, Great Films, Hollywood, Movies, Obscure Movies, Revenge Movies, Talent/Celebrities

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13 replies

  1. Really enjoyed The Late Show. Was surprised.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tomlin is an underrated comic and actress. I loved her in “Nine to Five” with Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I need to see this movie. Lily Tomlin and Art Carney are among the best. Thanks, John!


  4. I have not seen this film, John, but your recommendation is excellent so I will try to find it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ooh, I never saw this and I’m going to find it

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, this is one of my favorites. And as I’ve grown older, I relate to it more and more. Great one to highlight, John. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good call, John. That’s a memorable film indeed. Nice to see Charley Varrick mentioned too. That deserves a modern audience.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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