The Private Eyes
Synopsis of Movie
Knotts and Conway of the Yard? Breathe easy; it’s a comedy. The final feature team-up of the two funnymen (aside from a cameo in Cannonball Run II) was also one of the most entertaining, a send-up of Sherlockian mystery movies.
Set in 1920’s London, The Private Eyes was a return to spooky comedy and haunted houses for Knotts, who had starred in 1965’s The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. Both comedians also had the important training of busting phantoms with Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby on the animated The New Scooby-Doo Comedy Movies.
Knotts plays Inspector Winship of Scotland Yard, and Conway is his assistant, Dr. Tart. The Yard sends the two men to a supposedly haunted mansion to investigate the murders of Lord and Lady Morley, wealthy British aristocrats.
The two find a friendly face in the Morley’s attractive daughter Phyllis, but the staff is considerably less helpful: samurai chef Mr. Uwatsum, tongue-less butler Jock, chesty maid Hilda, and others. The case gets even more complicated when the staff begins dropping off one by one, with no clear suspect in sight.
Taking advantage of its two stars’ talents, The Private Eyes gave Knotts and Conway plenty of opportunities to show off the nervous, bumbling shtick that made them famous. Acid tea, an overcoat full of pigeons, and the almost-rhyming clues left by the murderer were but a few of the highlights. And a soundtrack that was easily as memorable as the film thanks to a hit song from Hall & Oates. It was a fitting last hurrah for one of the great 70’s comedy teams, as Knotts and Conway went off to pursue individual projects. Maybe further down on the list of memorable splits than Martin & Lewis but still an earth-shattering event for, uhh, well, for Knotts and Conway. Or was it Conway and Knotts?
Movie Release History1980 - The Private Eyes
Movie Sub Categorieslive-action
Movie StudioLang Elliot - Wanda Dell, New World, Tri-Star
CastDr. Tart Tim Conway
Inspector Winship Don Knotts
Mistress Phyllis Morley Trisha Noble
Justin Bernard Fox
Nanny Grace Zabriskie
Mr. Uwatsum John Fujioka
Tibet Stan Ross
Jock Irwin Keyes
Hilda Suzy Mandel
Lord Morley Fred Stuthman
Lady Morley Mary Nell Santacroce
Gas Station Attendant Robert V. Barron
Roy Patrick Cranshaw
Doll Voice Russi Taylor