The film is set in L.A. during 1946
Richard Boone and Michael Dunn play a pair of world-weary private detectives in this superb television movie. The two are down to their last nickel and wondering where their next meal is coming from. There is a knock at the door and in strolls Barbara Bain.
"Would it be possible to hire you?" It seems her husband to be, Gianni Russo, is missing and Bain wants to find out why. A quick cash advance and Boone and partner are on the job. They head for the missing groom's rooms where not two steps inside, Boone's head is on the receiving end of a pistol butt.
Once Boone has recovered, they pay a return visit to Miss Bain. While a simple case of finding a man is OK, a pistol whipping is not what they signed up for. They quit! Bain doubles their fee and back on the job the two go. A little digging and they find that Gianni is mixed up with mobbed up club owner, Victor Buono.
Buono pulls out all stops as he gives a great Sydney Greenstreet imitation. Someone has bumped off a mob courier and helped himself to a suitcase with $400,000. And it seems that Bain's missing beau is the prime suspect.
The mob is not amused and has put out a contract on Gianni. Boone and Dunn find that double cross on top of double cross is the order of the day with this bunch. Buono is short of cash due to some large gambling losses. He hires Gianni to bump off the courier with the suitcase and then return it to him. Gianni instead takes the suitcase and goes into hiding.
Every time Boone gets close to finding Gianni, he finds himself on the wrong end of various fists, boots and gun barrels. Boone is not amused. When the boys do find Gianni, it is after he has taken a six story fall off a roof. Witnesses describe a woman who sounds a lot like Bain leaving the area just after her now ex's failed flight.
Now it all comes clear to Boone. Bain was in on the scam with Gianni. Buono crosses the mob, Gianni crosses Buono, then Bain crosses Gianni. The only problem for Bain is that the suitcase was empty. Buono, assuming that he was going to get the suitcase back had given the mob courier an empty suitcase. When Gianni returned, Buono had intended to dispose of him, then use the cash he had kept to pay down his gambling debts. Buono's perfect plan goes all to hell because of a dame.
Needless to say the mob soon figures this out as well. Soon Bain is added to the body count and the mob comes looking for Buono. He is next on the list for the long sleep. Boone and Dunne return to their office to wait for the next fool to walk in.
This is one great film! The dialogue is superb with the back and forth between Boone and Dunn being utterly priceless.
Directed by Peter Hyams whose work includes, Outland, Time Cop, Sudden Death, Narrow Margin, (the remake) and the strange P.I. film Peeper.
It is up on You-Tube