Without A Clue

Michael Caine is, and always has been, an excellent comedian. He has done his fair share of action (the original ‘Get Carter’) and adventure (‘The Man Who Would Be King’) movies, so his obvious comedic inclinations seem to be lost in the shuffle… unfortunately! THIS (and NOT ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ – good as that Frank Oz movie is, Caine is NOT cast in the comedy role, even though he plays Steve Martin’s frantic Freddie off the screen!) is the movie which brings it all back to us Caine admirers… the fact that when it comes to comic timing and delivery of hilarious one-liners, Michael Caine is the King par excellence. It also helps that he has a straight man such as the proud and majestic Ben Kingsley to bounce jokes off as well as a hilariously bumbling Lestrade (brilliantly played by American Jeffrey Jones – the scene where Kingsley directs Caine to ‘go through the routine’ with Lestrade in tow while he (Kingsley) does some proper investigating is near pain-inducing funny) in the background all add up to a marvellously hilarious comedy. What’s refreshing about this gem of a movie is the original angle from which the Sherlock Holmes persona is perceived. We realise that Dr John Watson (Kingsley), rather than Holmes (Caine), is the real brains of the outfit. Holmes is, in fact, down-on-his-luck-and-always-drunk-out-of-work-actor Reginald Kincaid. The funny scenes come thick and fast… the dead body near the lake which Caine kicks and prods with a branch in turn, slow crescendo of music in the background stopping dead for him to say “It is MY opinion… that this man is dead!” and the crowd mutter in awe “He’s a genius!”; playing the violin to a record; his ‘love-hate’ relationship with Kingsley’s landlady; final scene on the stage fencing with an umbrella (“Buffoon, is it?”) …these and many, many more too numerous to mention make this possibly Michael Caine’s best movie yet… but that’s just MY opinion!

Originally released: 1988

Starring: Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley, Jeffrey Jones, Lysette Anthony

Directed by: Thom Eberhardt

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