Wicked, nasty, delicious fun. Laurence Olivier is a wealthy, veddy English mystery writer. He invites Michael Caine to his elaborate country house, in order to settle some rather unpleasant business between them: Caine is ... more »having an affair with Olivier's wife, and she is about to divorce the older man. Olivier, smooth as brandy, suggests that there might be a way the two men can help each other, but what appears to be an intriguing proposition escalates into a deadly cat-and-mouse game. Sleuth boasts a twisty script by Anthony Shaffer, calculated to drive an audience to distraction; and director Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve) shows a keen eye for the telling detail. But the real fun is watching Olivier and Caine go at each other hammer and tongs, a virtuoso wrestling match between two splendid actors (both were Oscar-nominated, but lost to Marlon Brando in The Godfather). Alec Cawthorne is also quite good as the inquisitive inspector on the case. --Robert Horton« less
"This is a great movie - I have it on VHS and I saw it on Broadway. The DVD version is shovelware! No bonus material at all. No subtitles - no alternate languages - no bios - nothing! It is listed as the widescreen version, but it is presented in standard format with the picture and credits running off the side of the screen. To add insult to injury, you have to turn the disc over midway though the movie. Wait for somebody to bring out a better pressing."
Still marvelous despite technical flaws
M. Nichols | West Chester, OH United States | 07/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Reading the reviews here, they all seem to make two points: 1) this is a wonderful film, and 2) this is a terrible DVD.
Well, #1 is definitely true. This is a wonderful film, deliciously dark. Marvelously written, directed, and acted. To tell much would endanger giving away the plot, but the basis of the story is a proposition by Olivier's aging writer to Caine's virile salon owner (who happens to be sleeping with Olivier's wife)of a scheme to rid Olivier of his wife for good and guarantee Caine financial security. The ride starts there and never stops. Cynical viewers (like myself) who think they're clever enough to stay two steps ahead will think they can anticipate all of the twists and turns, and they may catch a few ahead of time, but I can guarantee that any viewer will be delighted with the surprises this film has in store. Just when you think you know which way it's going it turns again. Just when you think it's over, there's a bit more.
As far as #2 goes, I don't have too many bad things to say about the DVD presentation. Yes, the ratio is barely 1.66:1. Yes, the sound is of middling quality. And, yes, you do have to flip the disc halfway through. BUT - it appears as if this DVD has fallen out of print, so I'm sure an improved reissue is around the corner. This film is worth having in any form regardless - it's the type of picture you won't mind paying for twice."
THIS IS THE NEW & IMPROVED DVD EDITION!!!
J. Fredricks | 02/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Most of the reviews here refer to the OLD DVD edition (notice they are all from 2000 or before). The edition offered here is NEW, and a vast improvement. Don't let the old reviews prevent you from buying this new DVD."
New and Improved DVD!
William M. Begert | New York, NY USA | 02/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For those of you who have been disappointed by the version of Sleuth in the white box, take heart and trade up to the black one. The film is widescreen, entirely presented on one side, and the sound is excellent. In addition, the DVD includes an interview with playwright Andrew Shaffer about the conception, original staging and film adaptation of "Sleuth." If you haven't already seen this most brilliant of screen thrillers, please kill yourself now."
The viewer can only watch and be enthralled
Joseph Haschka | Glendale, CA USA | 01/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The 1972 release, SLEUTH, is one of those movies that one watches, and then exclaims, "Wow!"Michael Caine plays Milo Tindle, a lowborn, cheeky hairdresser called down from London to visit Andrew Wyke on his rambling country estate. Andrew, played by Sir Laurence Olivier, is a class conscious, game-addicted, petty snob who writes award-winning detective stories. Milo also happens to be having an affair with Andrew's wife, Marguerite. On the other hand, Andrew is currently dallying with a local masseuse, Téa. Both men have cash flow problems. Milo hasn't enough to keep Marguerite in the lifestyle to which she's become accustomed, and Andrew has been beggared by ruinous British taxes. So, Andrew, being a self-proclaimed expert on crime whose literary detective creation, Lord Merrydew, always manages to make the official constabulary look like fools, invites Milo to join him in a mutually lucrative scam. The Plan: a suitably costumed Milo will "burgle" jewelry from Andrew's safe, fence it for an enormous sum, and be free to marry Marguerite, while Andrew happily collects the insurance money and enjoys his Siren of the moment. Andrew is not completely happy about his wife's adultery, but, after all, true gentleman can come to some convenient arrangement. Quite right!Thus begins an intricate series of role-within-role-playing games played magnificently by these two phenomenal English actors. From the viewers' perspective, the challenge is to determine when the make-believe ends and real life reasserts itself. Thus, not only is SLEUTH an absorbing mystery story, but the roles within roles also create a resounding paean to the profession of acting. After SLEUTH, I don't think it was quite so cleverly done until 1997's FACE-OFF.Both Caine and Olivier were nominated for Best Actor Oscars for their performances in this film. Sadly, neither won. In despite of that appalling injustice, this is one of those films that I can watch over and over again, and never fail to be delighted."