Shamus (film)

Shamus is a 1973 American comedy thriller film directed by Buzz Kulik, and starring Burt Reynolds and Dyan Cannon.

Directed byBuzz Kulik
Produced byRobert M. Weitman
Written byBarry Beckerman
StarringBurt Reynolds
Dyan Cannon
John Ryan
Joe Santos
Giorgio Tozzi
Ron Weyand
Music byJerry Goldsmith
CinematographyVictor J. Kemper
Edited byWalter Thompson
Robert M. Weitman Productions
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
January 31, 1973 (January 31, 1973)
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3,300,000 (US/ Canada rentals)[1]

Plot summaryEdit

New York private detective Shamus McCoy is called to the house of Hume, an eccentric diamond dealer, and is given the task of recovering some stolen diamonds. His investigation is thwarted at every turn and it is only when he is beaten by a gang of thugs to warn him off the job that he realizes that he's onto something really big. Using his friend Springy as well as Alexis Montaigne, the sister of a nightclub owner, McCoy digs for the truth about the robbery.[2] The trail leads to an Army colonel called Hardcore who is in cahoots with Alexis's brother, then full circle to Hume, who is behind the plot all along.




The film was produced by Robert M. Weitman, who had a multi-picture deal with Columbia, the first of which was The Anderson Tapes. Reynolds' signing was announced in February 1972. By this stage Buzz Kulik was attached as director and Sam Pessim was writing the script.[3]

Weitman had known Reynolds since the 1960s when he tried to get the actor to appear in a TV series The Lieutenant. Weitman discovered Barry Beckerman's script when he was at MGM in the 1960s. It was then set in the 1940s. Weitman took the script with him when he went to Columbia and set it up as his second film there, getting Beckerman to rewrite it so it was set in the 1970s. Steve McQueen was suggested for the lead but Weitman wanted to go with Reynolds. "To me", he said, "Burt had always worked. I looked at things he'd done and said 'He's funny. He throws away lines like a Kleenex. He was like a hidden iceberg'."[4]

It was the first film Reynolds signed for since publication of the Cosmo centerfold.[5]

Dyan Cannon had been in semi-retirement since her bad experience on Such Good Friends but agreed to make the film after seeing Reynolds perform on stage in The Rainmaker. "It's Bogart and Bacall all over again", said Weitman.[4]

Filming locationsEdit

Filmed in New York City, military scenes filmed at Headquarters 1/101 Cavalry NYARNG (New York Army National Guard) located at 321 Manor Road, Staten Island, New York. End credits mention special thanks to The 42nd Division (Rainbow Division) 1/101 Cavalry

During filming Reynolds was mobbed by 3,000 fans.[6]

Military vehiclesEdit

The "combat ready" (not props) vehicles featured in these scenes – Medium Tank M48A1, Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) M113, Command Track M577 and Truck Cargo 5 ton 6X6 M54. Other vehicles in the background Truck,Utility 4X4 M106 Recoilless Rifle, Truck, Wrecker 6X6 5 ton M62, Truck Cargo 2 1/2 ton 6x6 M211, Truck Cargo 2/12 ton 6X6 M35A2


Variety wrote a negative review of Shamus stating that the film is "confusing...scripter Barry Beckerman drags in an assortment of mostly unexplained characters but some dandy rough work – and finales in a fine fog. Perhaps something was lost in translation to the screen."[7] Roger Greenspun wrote that the film "is full of appealing New York locations and much inventive action, ultimately amounts to little more than the kind of situation melodrama that the movies these days offer for excitement. On this level it is workmanlike, well paced, modest, sometimes scary, and sometimes genuinely funny."[8]

Burt Reynolds said it was "not a bad film, kind of cute. If the picture had been as good as the title sequence it would have made millions. As it was it made $5 million."[9]


Robert M. Weitman produced a TV movie about the same character titled A Matter of Wife... and Death (1976) with the role played by Rod Taylor. It was a pilot for a prospective series that did not come to be.[10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1973", Variety, 9 January 1974 p 19
  2. ^ Fountain, Clarke. "Shamus: Overview". Allmovie. Retrieved August 4, 2010.
  3. ^ Murphy, Mary (Feb 11, 1972). "MOVIE CALL SHEET: 'Shamus' Next for Reynolds". Los Angeles Times. p. h12.
  4. ^ a b Haber, Joyce (Apr 8, 1973). "A Phi Beta Producer Who Goes With the Public". Los Angeles Times. p. q19.
  5. ^ Eliot, Marc (27 July 1982). "The infamous Cosmo centerfold: Burt takes it all off--and career takes off". Chicago Tribune. p. b1.
  6. ^ Kramer, Carol (May 21, 1972). "The naked truth is Burt'll stay clothed". Chicago Tribune. p. m8.
  7. ^ "Shamus Review [subscription required]". Variety. January 1, 1973. Retrieved August 4, 2010.
  8. ^ Greenspun, Roger (February 1, 1973). "Burt Reynolds Recalls Era of the Private Eye in 'Shamus'". New York Times. Retrieved August 4, 2010.
  9. ^ Siskel, Gene (Nov 28, 1976). "Workaholic Burt Reynolds sets up his next task: Light comedy". Chicago Tribune. p. e2.
  10. ^ "ROD TAYLOR STARS IN PILOT BASED ON 'SHAMUS' PICTURE". Los Angeles Times. Apr 6, 1975. p. l3.

External linksEdit