The Movie Waffler We already got a <i>DIE HARD</i> prequel... in 1968! | The Movie Waffler

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We already got a DIE HARD prequel... in 1968!

It's just been announced that the sixth Die Hard movie will be a prequel, but we already got one in 1968's The Detective.



Words by Eric Hillis (@hilliseric)



Despite the fifth installment being one of the worst products to escape Hollywood in the last decade, a sixth Die Hard is on the way, and it's strongly rumoured to be a prequel that looks at John McClane's time as a cop in New York City. As Frank Sinatra fans will tell you, we already got that movie.
Between 1967 and ’68, Sinatra made three movies with director Gordon Douglas. Tony Rome and its sequel, Lady in Cement, were fun romps featuring Sinatra as a wise-cracking, cynical, gambling obsessed private eye. Sandwiched in between those movies was a more interesting, if not entirely successful thriller – The Detective, the movie most consider Sinatra’s last worthwhile role.
As New York detective Joe Leland, Sinatra finds himself confronting corruption within the police force, and is torn between keeping his mouth shut and accepting an overdue promotion, or doing the right thing and kissing his career goodbye. The recent abolition of the Production Code saw Hollywood free to explore previously forbidden subjects, and The Detective sees Sinatra investigating a killer targeting homosexuals.
The most interesting aspect of the film is how it explores, through Blue Valentine style flashbacks, the doomed romance between Sinatra and his cheating wife, played by Lee Remick. The contrast between Sinatra’s young, confident beat cop and his older, embittered detective is played with conviction by the actor. The movie doesn’t quite stand up to scrutiny, thanks to a problematic third act, but it’s worth watching for Sinatra’s performance alone. 
At the age of 73, Sinatra was offered the chance to reprise the role for a 1988 sequel. He declined, and the reworked role went to a much younger Bruce Willis in a movie that would become one of the decade’s biggest hits - Die Hard!
The Detective was adapted from a novel of the same name by author Roderick Thorp. In 1979 Thorp penned a sequel, Nothing Lasts Forever, which became Die Hard nine years later, changing the protagonist's name from Joe Leland to John McClane.
Whether Die Hard 6 looks to Thorp's books for inspiration remains to be seen, but until then, go check out 1968's The Detective!