Old 02-28-2013, 05:51 PM
The Detective (1968) - the "prequel" to Die Hard

So, some people may know that Die Hard was based on a book called "Nothing Lasts Forever." Well, that book was a follow up to a book called "The Detective" - one that was made into a movie in 1968 starring Frank Sinatra.


I watched it last night, and it was a pretty good movie. The main character's name was originally Joe Leland (later it was changed to John McClane for Die Hard), and even though it is a very different kind of story (no terrorists to speak of), early on in the movie, you can really see some elements that would later fit the John McClane character. This is almost what it would be to see a mundane Die Hard movie.

It's a pretty interesting movie - way darker than you would expect for that era. Supposedly it was one of the first movies to get a, then new, R rating. The first half of the movie centers on investigating the murder of a gay man, then the second part is about him investigating a suicide that may have been murder. At first, they don't seem related at all, but eventually it twists in a way that is pretty unexpected.

But during all this, there are a couple extended flashbacks showing Leland's love life that eventually results in a failed marriage.

While not being explicit, there is a lot of sexual material in this movie that is surprisingly progressive for the time period: Leland has no problem with the gay men while all the other cops treat them like shit; Leland's wife is a habitual cheater, but her promiscuity is not shamed, etc.

Anyway, I say check it out, if only to see an interesting footnote in film history.

(And according to EW, the producers technically had to offer Sinatra the role in Die Hard because of this movie, but as he was 72 at the time, he obviously declined.)
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:33 PM
It's definitely an interesting movie. It was surprising to see how violent the movie was and the manner in which the guy died.

I think his penis was cut off.

Frank Sinatra is solid as always and Lee Remick gorgeous as always.

I pretty much agree with you and would say to anybody else interested that this isn't the usual police actioner. Don't expect shootouts. This is more character driven, but like Badbird said, it's still worth seeing to see how it all unfolds involving the two cases.
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