Murder By Death

In Uncategorized on June 28, 2010 at 1:02 am

Millionaire Lionel Twain (Truman Capote) invites the five most brilliant private eyes to a dinner that turns into a murder investigation with a million-dollar prize going to the one who solves the case. The all-star cast (working with an Oscar-nominated script by Neil Simon) includes Peter Falk, James Coco, Elsa Lanchester, David Niven, Peter Sellers, Maggie Smith and Eileen Brennan, all playing characters based on famous literary detectives.

I will say one thing before I dive into my review of this film: I would not suggest watching it if you do not have at least a workable knowledge of old time detectives. The entire premise of the movie is based on spoofing Sam Spade, Charlie Chan, Nick and Nora Charles, Portoit and Miss Marple. The film will not be nearly as enjoyable or funny if you are not familiar with these characters.

That being said, I LOVED this movie. From the first opening scene with the blind butler to the closing credits, I was laughing. Being written by Neil Simon, it very much as a play feel to it, and because of the material, this works well.

The cast could not have been more perfect, and is a who’s who actors from this time period. Everything about this movie works on every level, and anyone who enjoys the “who done it” style of movies of the 30s and 40s with be in stiches at the parodies that run throughout the film.

Be sure to watch the interview with Neil Simon in the special features section as well. He gives away some great little bits of info (Orson Wells was who he originally wanted for the Truman Capote role, and Alec Guiness was reading the script of Star Wars while on the set during breaks).

The only bad thing I will say about this movie is that, even at an hour and a half, the last quarter of it kind of drags a little, and is not nearly as crisp and on the mark at the first 3/4.

4 out of 5 stars.


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