I’m convinced that Detective Story was part of the inspiration for the TV series Barney Miller. In the parts not involving Kirk Douglas’ character, you get a picture of life in a police precinct where everything is low-key and skews weirdly humorous, probably the way it seemed in Real Life to the cops who worked there. It probably came as a surprising change and revelation to the people who saw it first as a stage play and later as a movie. It’s so completely removed from the hard-edged police dramas and shoot-em-ups that were standard fare.
In one episode of Barney Miller that involves a bunch of actors, some even calls them “Detective Story rejects”,. I’ll bet most people missed this reference to this particular play/movie, and thought they were referring to the genre itself.
I saw Cats on Friday night. It disappeared from the theaters before I had a chance to see it, and then COVID came along. The movie has gotten a severe thrashing by critics and the public. It won both Worst Picture and Worst Director in the Razzies.
I liked it. I’ve seen the show on stage twice, once during its original Broadway run and the Winter Garden theater. For years people have talked about how difficult it would be to film, and at one point they were going to do it as an animated film. I think that the blend of live actors and CGI elements (chiefly the cats’ ears and tails) freaked too many people out. It wasn’t really “uncanny valley” territory, but it was close enough to make too many people uneasy simply because of the appearance.
There’s a lot I didn’t like. I hated director Tom Hooper’s love of looking directly into bright lights. I didn’t much care for Jennifer Hudson’s rendition(s) of the signature song “Memory” They made changes in the plot and script. But, overall, a well-done interpretation. My chief complaints are really complaints about the original stage show.
I got more from reading the Wikipedia page and the IMDB “Trivia” page. I wondered why, for the first time I know, Old Deuteronomy was played by a female actor – Judi Dench – and learned that she had been in the very first London company that performed the show. Was sought out for it, in fact. Ian McKellen had been in the cast of Six Degrees of Separation, where the characters discussed how it would be very difficult to make a film version of Cats, and his said he wouldn’t mind being an extra in it. I completely missed the fact that Taylor Swift’s Bombalurina riding on a crescent moon and distributing catnip was an homage to the logo of a Woman in the Moon sprinkling cocaine used by Studio 54 in its heyday.
One thing I did catch on my own was a lit-up sign in the background that at first reads “Moriarty” before changing to “Macavity”. As devoted Sherlock Holmes fans know, poet T.S. Eliot (on whose collection of poems Cats is based) was a Holmes fan himself (His poetic play Murder in the Cathedral , about the murder of Thomas Becket, contains lines lifted from the Holmes story The Musgrave Ritual. From the ritual itself, in fact.). His description of Macavity is taken directly from Doyle’s description of Professor Moriarty, and both are called “The Napoleon of CRime”.
Ultimately, it seems to go on a little too long, and is at times a little too silly. But I certainly don’t think it was bad.