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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 28 October 2001
Steve Martin isn't one of my favourite actors, but this movie is, I think, his best. Otherwise it wouldn't be getting 5 stars from me :-)
Martin plays the private detective Rigby Reardon, who takes on a mysterious case from a beautiful client...
The film is redolent of classic detective noir, and includes a lot of "borrowed" material, cleverly inter-cut to (for example) engineer conversations between Martin and his side-kick Bogart. Trying to spot as many of the films used as you can is part of the fun.
The music score is a complete joy, and perfectly captures the atmosphere of this genre: it wouldn't have been out of place in a real 40s movie.
Definitely recommended for any fans of classic black and white movies, who aren't so po-faced as to object to a loving send up of their faviourite genre.
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on 3 December 2010
Now some twenty eight years old this film is still a total hoot. Before falling in to remake purgatory "the pink panther & sergant bilko Steve Martin was probably the best movie star / comedian around. The Man With Two Brains, The Jerk, All Of Me, The Lonely Guy, Parenthood, Roxanne. Being a fan I can honestly say the last funny Steve Martin film I saw was Bowfinger which I felt didn't get the plaudits it deserved.
If I remember things correctly I think Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid spawned a series of very funny lager commercials which incorporated the merging of old films with contemporary artists. I love all of the scenes notably the ones with Humphrey Bogart and the drag scene from Double Indemnity with Fred Macmurray. Im so glad I watched this again as I had forgotten how funny and for its time technically good it was. The DVD was a bit short of extras only having a scene selection and a trailer. The trailer is however very funny and like the film as a whole, well worth a watch if you fancy a good old stupid laugh. A total bargain at less than five pounds.
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on 13 June 2001
It stars Steve Martin as rigby reardon in his best performance ever. Rigby is a private detective who gets mixed up in a nazi plot to take over the world using...'cheese mould.' It is shot in black and white and ingeniously mixes clips from classic black and white crime thrillers. Martin's one liners and the countless inuendo provides way more than a laugh a minute, i really can't praise this enough. As a classic noir comedy and a gift to humanity that really is a materpiece, i strongly urge you to buy this film.
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VINE VOICEon 4 November 2005
This is Rob Reiner's comical tribute to the great Hollywood Film Noir classics. Steve Martin plays Rigby Reardon, a hard-bitten L.A. private eye. All the jokes depend on placing Rearden's character into scenes from black and white movies of the forties and fifties, making him appear with Bogart as Sam Spade, in drag as Jimmy Cagney's mother and much else besides. The story is absurdly stitched together and is hardly seamless, but works best if you try to name the film clip as you go along. It can also be enjoyed for its own sake, especially with the running gags. But I can't give the game away. This is a film for film buffs and for anyone just looking for a good laugh. It was a very clever concept, and works pretty well.
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on 27 August 2003
Rigby Reardon (Steve Martin)embarks on his most exciting adventure yet in this hommage to film noir of the 40s.Rachel ward plays your archtypal femme fatale with a knack for bullet removal and a body to match! Ably assisted by stars of the past such as Humphery Bogart, Vincent Price, Burt Lancaster, Jimmy Cagney, Bette Davis, Ava Gardner etc this film cracks along with its with its rediculous storyline in a hilarious but completely deadpan manner.
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VINE VOICEon 4 November 2010
DMDWP is a black and white film noir comedy that uses footage from real film noir from the 40s and 50s and intercuts them with the plot to make it appear that Steve Martin is really talking to/acting with the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, James Cagney etc. The effect is not quite seamless but for a movie made in 1982 it's quite impressive.

Martin plays the wonderfully named Rigby Reardon, a typical, gritty private eye who narrates the story with sarcastic observation and gets involved in the usual femme fatal plot and a conspiracy surround the death of a cheesemaker. Yes, it's nonsense, and towards the end it becomes a bit hard to follow and the silliness gets out of control. But it's all played straight and for most of the film you could believe you were actually watching a classic film noir.

Steve Martin should have done more of these movies. Rigby Reardon was a great character and could have lasted for a few sequel.The humor is frequently hilarious and he certainly retains a lot of the integrity he has lost in recent years since he went the way of Eddie Murphy and sold himself out to family audiences. Either way, I say you should give this movie a go if you're a fan of his older work.

The Region 1 DVD is sadly in non-anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen with Dolby 2.0 surround (the UK DVD is in fullscreen). It still looks quite good for a black and white film and the sound has that limited sound-space effect to it to make it fit in with the older footage. A Dolby 5.1 remix would have been totally unnecessary. Though I think the b&w photography would look brilliant in 1080p. But I have a feeling you'll be waiting forever on a Blu Ray.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 January 2009
This is a very clever take on the classic 1940's film noir movie, which stars Steve Martin as a hard-boiled private eye investigating a typical film noir mystery.

The brilliance of this film is the way it interlinks clips from old movies, so also starring in the film are James Cagney, Vincent Price, Kirk Douglas, Humphrey Bogart, Alan Ladd, Barbara Stanwyck and many others. Although some of the old clips work better than others, even the ones that don't work usually have some sort of funny punchline to compensate.

Director Carl Reiner (who also has acting role) does a fine job getting the best out of Steve Martin who at the time this was made (1982) was at a peak in terms of his comedic film roles. Without Martin this movie wouldn't have worked, of that I am sure.

At its current price (cheap) this is an absolute steal.
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on 27 March 2012
Rachel Ward and Steve Martin battle the impossible (cast and plot) to find friends of Carlotta. This loves its many sources, and is wonderfully daft. (except for the C*****+g W@@@@n- which is inspired).
Rachel makes a beautiful Ava, Rita, Gene substitute.
Carl - looks like he just left Sunset Blvd.
Steve- harder than Bob Mitchum, more heart than Bogie and more smarts than Dick Powell - but that one "2 word" problem... = Genius, with a capital Comic in front.
Dead Men dont wear Plaid does for noir what Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein did for the classic Universal creature, and both these and Carry on up the Khyber beautifully pastische and cherish what they so deftly ridicule. A work of love.
Another 9 out of 5 picture.
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Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Ingrid Bergman, Vincent Price, Barbara Stanwyck, Kirk Douglas, Ava Gardner, James Cagney, Lana Turner, Burt Lancaster and countless other classic stars.

Oh yeah, "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" has the most impressive all-star cast of all time... and it almost doesn't matter that most of them were dead by the time it was made. They still steal the show in this hilariously twisty noir parody, which cleverly pastes in footage from classic movies to enhance the wacky detection of Steve Martin.

Private eye Rigby Reardon (Steve Martin) is approached by Juliet Forrest (Rachel Ward), the sexy daughter of a brilliant scientist/cheesemaker. She believes her father's recent death was not an accident, and she wants him to investigate -- and soon he discovers two lists that Forrest left behind, naming the friends and enemies of the mysterious "Carlotta."

So Rigby bumbles through a bizarre tangle of odd clues (jewelry soup, a dollar bill, a key, a cruise ship), sinister characters, and bizarre situations (he impersonates a woman TWICE) in his search for the truth. Can he uncover the truth about the "Friends of Carlotta" and find true love for Juliet, or will this be Rigby's final case?

"Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" is an amazing movie. The main story itself is pretty funny but not exceptional, but they somehow managed to cobble together all these classic movie clips into that story. Oh, there are a few clips that don't really work -- Joan Crawford's appearance -- but most of them are perfectly woven seamlessly into Martin's story.

Example: when Rigby finds himself on a train with Cary Grant, he decides to knock out Grant with a harmonica... and the look of disbelieving annoyance on Grant's face is ABSOLUTELY PERFECT.

I don't usually enjoy Martin's movies, but this movie has the right balance of sly spoof and strait-faced comedy. There are some fun running gags ("CLEANING WOMAN!") and some fun lowbrow comedy (the puppy scene), but the most entertaining part of this is seeing Martin "interacting" with stars of yesteryear. It's just so funny when he does stuff like throttle Bette Davis or woofs at Ingrid Bergman.

"Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" isn't quite Mel Brooks material, but it takes its one overriding joke and milks it for all it's worth. Sly, smooth and very funny.
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A lot of ‘highly rated’ comedies let you down, however, I found this one genuinely funny and it tickled me pink! Great on the eye, due to all the old cameos from the stars & films of the past, (great to see Bert & Humphrey, among others), it is also shot in a very clear B&W.
The main draw of the film for me was the brilliant rapport between Steve Martin (Rigby), and Rachel Ward (Juliet) – who is an English rose from Oxfordshire. I found them quite a compelling duo - their comedy acting just mesmerizingly brilliant! Come on … we all wanted them to be an item in the end!
Lots of classic gags, a zany story line, and as I say, just wonderful comedy on the eye and inter-play between the two main protagonists. The opening sequences are so funny and it just rolls on from there. Any thing less than 5 stars would be an insult!
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