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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Detective > Noir > Peeper (1975)

Peeper (1975)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C-     Film: D



I think Peter Hyams is an underrated director and with films like Outland, End Of Days, Narrow Margin and even the recent A Sound Of Thunder, he is a better filmmaker than he is often (and especially lately) given credit for.  However, sometimes his films do not work out as well as one could have hoped for or were too commercial (2010, Timecop, Sudden Death, Running Scared) even if they were sometimes hits.  One that was not a hit and in the cut offered here is a big disappointment is his 1975 Detective/Noir send-up Peeper.


The Neo-Noir movement of the 1970s had enough darkness and sometimes ironic humor in it that outright comedies were inevitable, yet did not always work.  Woody Allen in Play It Again Sam is still funny because it is not doing the genre entirely, while The Cheap Detective with Peter Falk did not work out as well overall as one would have hoped for.  However, even with a great cast that includes Michael Caine, Natalie Wood, Thayer David, Michael Constantine and Liam Dunn, the Keith Laumer/W.D. Richter screenplay is very mixed and never really funny.


The film was trying to take subtle jabs throughout the form of Gumshoe Detective stories, but it does this so indirectly that the film is endlessly choppy and never comes together in any palpable way.  Hyams says this is not his cut and we believe him, though he is happy he got the film make.  Too bad we may never see his cut, because it has to be better than this.


The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image was shot by Hyams cinematographer of the time, Earl Rath in real anamorphic Panavision.  He knows how to shoot a scope frame and so does Hyams, who eventually became his own cinematographer.  The transfer has decent color, but is not the best this film could look.  Maybe in ten years, a Blu-ray will reveal how good this was really shot, since it makes the film easier to watch.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is a bit better than the Mono version, but both show the film’s age.  Extras include a featurette on Noir, interview with Hyams and the original theatrical trailer for this film.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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