“What’s it all about, Moseby?”
When a private investigator (Gene Hackman) is hired to bring a runaway (Melanie Griffith) back home to her mother (Janet Ward) in L.A., he unexpectedly finds himself embroiled in a multiple murder mystery.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Arthur Penn Films
- Detectives and Private Eyes
- Gene Hackman Films
- James Woods Films
- Murder Mystery
Arthur Penn’s Night Moves is smart ’70s noir — a psychological thriller with multiple twists and turns. Gene Hackman is perfectly cast as Detective Moseby, and is surrounded by fine supporting actors — including Susan Clark (Webster’s mom in the 80’s television show “Webster”) as his philandering wife; Jennifer Warren as the mysterious, earthy blonde who uses Moseby in unexpected ways; young Melanie Griffith as a runaway teen; and James Woods (ever smarmy) in an early bit part. Alan Sharp’s screenplay makes good use of settings in both Florida and L.A., and never gets stale — we’re continually kept guessing as to what will come next. Definitely worth checking out.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Gene Hackman as Moseby (nominated by Peary as one of the Best Actors of the Year in his Alternate Oscars)
- Susan Clark as Moseby’s wife
- Jennifer Warren as the mysterious, over-tanned Paula
- Melanie Griffith as the sexpot runaway
- Good use of distinctive settings in both L.A. and Florida
Yes. This edgy detective thriller is one-of-a-kind. Listed as a Cult Movie and a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.
- Important Director
- Noteworthy Performance(s)