Sleuth ... what's with the rain coat?

This must really be my week for not getting it.

I watched Sleuth for the first time last night and enjoyed it thoroughly, though I think I missed some dialogue due to the combination of 1972 recording technology and a well-used library videotape. What I really missed, though, was what exactly was the deal with the red rain coat and hat which Milo (whoops, I guess that’s a little spoiler, isn’t it? ;)) places so purposefully on the coat rack while Andrew runs around collecting clues? There’s a theory here, but it seems thin to me.

Any Dopers want to share your ideas?

P.S.: I was remembering a discussion of this topic on these very boards, but have been unable to locate it. Maybe I was having one of my clairvoyant moments.

Can’t help you with your question, but did you know that in the scene where Olivier knocked over the tray with the glasses/bottles on it he allegedly really did cut his hand? He was such a pro he kept acting and the take made the final cut.

Great movie.

I don’t know. I saw the play on Broadway with Patrick MacNee as Wyke, and I’ve read the script so many times I’ve lost track of the number, and the bit of business with the raincoat wasn’t in either of them. It’s certainly not essential to the plot.
If you liked Sleuth, then I highly recommend The Last of Sheila, the illegitimate half-brother of Sleuth. As with Sleuth, the plot involves a wealthy games-player who invites people over for mind-bending games that ultimately prove deadly. The movie starred James Coburn as the Wyke-like character, Raquel Welch, Dyan Cannon, Richard Benjamin, and Lames Mason. It was written by Anthony Perkins (Yes! Norman Bates Himself!) and Stephen Sondheim (Yes! The Songwriter/composer!) As I heard it, Anthony Schaeffer was inspired to write Sleuth after a visit to Sondheim’s game-filled apartment. TLOS was Sondheim’s response.

It’s my all-time favorite mystery. It gives you all the clues, but I guarantee that you won’t solve it – it’s more convoluted than Sleuth, yet – this is what’s wonderful – largely believable. The confusion and complexity come from a plausible setup, not screenwriter’s smoke and mirrors.

I saw you recommend that one about five or six times when I was searching for the previous thread, CalMeacham, so I’m planning to watch it tomorrow.

Oh, I did have another thought on this. Perhaps he was setting up for another turn of events and then didn’t have a chance to pull it off?

I get the feeling I’m standing in the rain talking to myself on this, but it never hurts to give it a try. :slight_smile:

There are two coats of significance, actually: the raincoat, and the fur coat. (The fur coat being the one MIlo retrieves from Marguerite’s room in the end.)

As I see it, the coats were symbolic: the rain coat was symbolic of the relationship Marguerite had had with Wyke-- stormy, cold, unpleasant. The fur coat was symbolic of the life she planned / hoped to lead with Milo-- pleasant, comfortable, rich (but in a different way).

Also, Milo himself (and not Marguerite) bringing the raincoat back to Wyke’s home serves a purpose. The act drives home to Wyke that 1) she’d been very unhappy with him (the whole raincoat-symbolism thing), 2) that she had no intention of coming back for any reason, and 3) that she’d found someone else.

That is, of course, assuming the raincoat belonged to Marguerite. (I forget if it was said who it belonged to.) If it wasn’t Marguerite’s, then perhaps it belonged to Téa, and was placed there to serve as further evidence she had been murdered on Wyke’s property.
Forgive me if this post’s a mess. I’m operating on two hours’ sleep. :slight_smile:

CalMeacham, that was quite a movie!

I’m sorry to say that I saw a good deal of the ending coming from quite a ways off (let’s just say that certain kinds of suspense require there being more than one person who demonstrates certain skills), but I did like the little twist right at the end, which I didn’t see coming but should have.

I think one of the problems I have with movies like this (and it may be the result of having seen too many of them, or maybe of watching too much Remington Steele) is that too often, you can figure out what’s important by what gets shown only once. It’s like the director tries too hard to call you attention to something and then hopes you’ll forget about it. Obviously, I won’t go into details here. If you’d like to start a Last of Sheila appreciation thread with spoilers, I’ll be happy to, but this isn’t the place. :slight_smile:

I also have to wonder what persuaded the director to cast Richard Benjamin in the role Anthony Perkins so clearly intended for himself.

Anyway, thanks for that theory, AudreyK, sleep-deprived though it was. :slight_smile: I hand’t thought about the connection between the two coats. Perhaps there was a switch coming up or something like my previous suggestion that Milo never got around to.

I don’t remember there being any indication of who the raincoat belonged to, nor of who put it in the closet to begin with, but it was getting late when I was watching the movie and I may have missed a line of dialogue here or there. My recollection is that Andrew went to the closet looking for a clue, pushing several things out of his way, the raincoat among them, and then went on to another location; Milo saw the raincoat and took it out of the closet very purposefully and placed it in that prominent position on the coat rack, with the rain hat.

Saw this again this morning and, I have to say, that question still rings in my ears, all this time later.

I don’t want you to think I’m dense, you know – it was clear to me that something was going on it just wasn’t clear what. They certainly give you enough cues to show that things are out of kilter. I picked up, for instance, on the card that Richard Benjamin crumpled up right away, but I couldn’t integrate it into a coherent solution.

(I know…I’m reviving a 13 year old thread)

The raincoat move stood out for me too. The coat was there the first time Milo was at the house, but missing in the final act. Milo purposefully removes it from the closet and hangs it and the rain hat on the coat rack.

According to this, it was just a filming mistake.