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Murder By Death [DVD] [1997]

115 customer reviews

Price: £6.18 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Peter Falk, Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, Eileen Brennan, Truman Capote
  • Directors: Robert Moore
  • Writers: Neil Simon
  • Producers: Ray Stark, Roger M. Rothstein
  • Format: Subtitled, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Arabic, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish
  • Dubbed: French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 10 Mar. 2003
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000085RPZ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,328 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

The world's greatest detectives have been invited to dinner. But when murder is on the menu, who will make it to dessert? You are cordially invited to join an all-star cast featuring Peter Sellers, David Niven, Peter Falk, James Coco, Elsa Lanchester, Maggie Smith, Alec Guinness, Eileen Brennan, Nancy Walker, James Cromwell and Estelle Winwood for Neil Simon's hilarious murder-mystery spoof MURDER BY DEATH. The isolated mansion of eccentric millionaire Lionel Twain (celebrated author Truman Capote in a Golden Globe(r) -nominated performance) is the setting for the twisted puzzler. Twain informshis guests that one of them will be murdered at the stroke of midnight. The pay-off: $1 million to whoever lives through the night. MURDER BY DEATH neatly lampoons both the mystery genre and the characterizations of these instantly recognizable gumshoes. Match wits with the super sleuths, but remember, you can't win if you end up dying from laughter!

From Amazon.co.uk

Neil Simon wrote this 1976 spoof in which virtually every famous fictional detective of the 1930s and 1940s congregate at the home of a mysterious fellow (Truman Capote) to try and solve the mystery of who's trying to kill them all. Simon's jokes are mostly obvious, and the film's real appeal is the clever concept matched with fine--sometimes legendary--actors. Peter Falk plays a very Bogart-like Sam Spade equivalent, James Coco is a Hercule Poirot wannabe, Peter Sellers does a Charlie Chan bit, David Niven and Maggie Smith are reflections of Nick and Nora.... You get the picture. Light-hearted and silly, this is cotton-candy comedy for the cast as well as viewers. --Tom Keogh

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Stephen Kennedy TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 Dec. 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A rich millionaire invites the greatest living detectives to his castle (complete with fog, lightning and rain etc) for dinner - and a murder. The surviving detective who figures it out is promised one million dollars.

OK, so it is not the plot or the inherently stagey nature of the movie that is classic - but the mixing of such a fine ensemble cast. A brilliant cast play similes of literatures great detectives - Peter Falk playing Bogart's Sam Spade crossed with Columbo (Sam Diamond in the movie), David Niven playing The Thin Man, Peter Sellers playing Charlie Chan (Wang in the movie), and Agatha Christies Poirot and Marples give rise to the hysterically monikered Milo Perrier and Miss Marbles. Add to that the iconic Truman Capote as the millionaire, and Alec Guinness as the blind butler as well as various sidekicks, and you have possibly the biggest set of scenery chewers crammed into one dining room.

The jokes are thick and fast, always farcical, but never straying too far into slapstick. Any misses are quickly forgiven as the next joke comes along.

Predictably perhaps the ending is not entirely satisfactory - a simple but clever ending would have been more effective than the over elaborate series of revelations which don't quite tie up. But lets face it, when you're having this much fun, who cares.

The 91 minute running time makes this a satisfactorily tight little movie that is ideal for a rainy Sunday evening...
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By "jello_girl" on 16 Aug. 2003
Format: DVD
This is a classic parody of most dark-haunted-castle, Agatha Christie-type murder mysteries. You can see in this film that they took no pains in adding all the stereotypical elements that come with your typical murder weekend- a gothic castle, rain, lightening, a strangely spooky suit of armour, etc. Throw in a couple of great all time detectives, a mad host and some pretty shocking-yet-amusing jump shots and you have yourself a good film. At times I found it very surreal but as a comedy, it cannot fail. I first watched it when I was 9 or 10 (oh so definitely the best age to have watched it) and thought it was pretty cool that Columbo had his own feature film (but wondered why he had a different name). But after watching it again a few years later and a couple of notches wiser, you really get to appreciate the originality of the film, its twists and turns, and its truly truly great cast. I cannot understand why so few people I know have never seen it though. Don't be one of them.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Pip Petrie on 25 Mar. 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The title says it all, Murder by Death. This film will make anyone laugh and fall in love with the all star cast including Maggie Smith, Peter Sellers, David Niven, Elsa Lanchester, Peter Falk, Alec Guinness and Nancy Walker. From the opening scene to the very last scene when you discover that the murderer is actually...... this film is pure comedy. The DVD's special interview with Neil Simon is also an added bonus, telling us that the cast wasn't really the cast he wanted. With Peter Sellers' one liners, the relationship between the blind butler and deaf, mute maid, Maggie Smith's comedic timing and Truman Capote's evil voice this film is one of 1976's classics.
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By Arch Stanton on 19 Nov. 2014
Format: DVD
A group of world renown detectives are unwittingly gathered to the mansion of a wealthy madman. The idea being that there will be a murder, so diabolically ingenious, that the detective(s) clever enough to work out the 'who' and 'why', stands to not only win $1 million, but also will cement their place as the greatest sleuth of all time.
But of course there are some big unexpected twists to match some of the big egos present, so rest assured, it stands to be one long stormy night...

This is a fairly classy production of a Neil Simon script. The characters are well written and the performers, hugely enjoyable to watch in their given roles. It's quite difficult to pick out a star turn here, but I was probably most amused by Sellers' lampoon of Charlie Chan, and Maggie Smith, the latter's delivery (she's ripping off Hammetts/Loy's 'Nora Charles' from The Thin Man..) with lines like "Oh, that's tacky! That's REALLY tacky!" being nothing short of supremely smirk~worthy! With a well put together, fast paced feel, that houses some corny, madcap gags and one liners, that are indeed very entertaining.
On the downside the plot doesn't really do a great deal, which is a little frustrating, meaning that before you know it (due to the aforementioned pace), it's the end of the film! Unfortunately giving everything a slight air of being unnecessarily rushed. It's also probably worth mentioning that although I found it amusing enough, even laughing out loud once or twice, this probably won't be for all tastes, and I suspect, that some maybe more modern audiences wouldn't enjoy it at all. As admittedly, some of the jokes simply miss the mark, or just aren't that good, so silly they're almost bordering unfunny. .
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By M. Joyce TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 Jun. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is another film that I saw at university and which I have decided to become reacquainted with more than thirty years later. I found it hilarious then and particularly enjoyed such distinguished actors letting their hair down in what is after all an inconsequential piece of froth. But would I still find it funny today?

The answer is a resounding "yes", even though the film is clearly of no lasting artistic merit. It could hardly be described as one of Neil Simon's most literate works, but the gags come thick and fast and the all-star cast deliver them with obvious relish.

The setting is a country house, where the world's greatest detectives (hilarious parodies of Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, Charlie Chan, Sam Spade and Nick and Nora Charles) are assembled to witness and solve a murder. All of the cast do well, but my special favourites are Peter Falk as a decidedly dodgy Sam Diamond (complete with Bogart accent) and Alec Guinness as the blind butler. The host is played by the celebrated author Truman Capote; he is decidedly odd and his performance certainly adds to the enjoyment, but how he was nominated for a Golden Globe is beyond me!

This is a very pleasant way to spend 90 minutes, especially at this bargain price; if you haven't already seen this film, give it a go!
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