A courier (Vic Vallaro) takes a briefcase from Julius Limeway (Victor Buono), a notorious underworld figure and the owner of the “The Top Hat” nightclub. He buys a bus ticket for Montery and boards an outbound bus. An Army man boards after him. He sits next to the courier and annoys him with small talk during the bus ride. At Santa Barbara, the private shoots the courier, takes the briefcase, and gets off the bus.
Francis Hogan (Richard Boone) is a hardboiled detective in 1946. His partner is Arthur Boyle (Michael Dunn). Low on funds they spend most of their time trying to scrape up enough money for lunch. While trying to figure out where their next meal is going to come from, a shapely blonde walks into the office. She says her name is Susan Lakely (Barbara Bain) and she wants to hire them. She says her fiancé, Michael Tarlow (Gianni Russo), is missing and she wants Hogan to find him. Hogan doesn’t like chasing down errant boyfriends but for twenty-five dollars a day, he will make an exception.
The duo goes to Tarlow’s apartment where they are attacked by someone already there. Searching the apartment, they find nothing but racing forms. Hogan knows that Susan is less than forthcoming with them. When Susan contacts them, Hogan tries to get more information from her. She plays dumb. The only clue they have are the racing forms. At the track they find out that Tarlow hangs out with Limeway and that a couple of Limeway’s goons are looking for him. Then they hear about the courier that was killed and the missing collection money. Another of Hogan’s sources tells him that Limeway put the hit on Tarlow before the courier was killed.
When Tarlow turns up dead, and that the last person to see him was a shapely blond, Hogan realizes that there is something fishy about Susan, Limeway and the whole story. Things go from bad to worse when Limeway thinks that Hogan knows more than he does.
“Goodnight, My Love” was released in 1972 and was directed by Peter Hyams. It is a made for television crime mystery with comedy undertones. The movie was shown as an ABC Movie of the Week.
The film is an homage to the film noir and Raymond Chandler style detective story. Even Buono puts on his best Sidney Greenstreet impersonation and Boone does Philip Marlowe. In fact, everyone in the film decently represents every noir character ever, down to the pithy dialogue and sober countenance. It is a highly entertaining walk down memory lane. There’s nothing deep in the plot but that’s not the point.
There are a couple short person jokes, but not as many as you would think. Michael Dunn is probably best known for playing Dr. Miguelito Loveless in the “Wild Wild West” television series. Barbara Bain’s real name was Mildred Fogel. She is best known for playing Cinnamon Carter on “Mission Impossible” and Dr. Helena Russell on “Space 1999”. The cast includes some great character actors that are right at home playing minor crooks and minions.