Murder By Death [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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A collection of the finest detectives in the business have been invited to a mysterious mansion. Once gathered, they are tasked with solving an even more mysterious case, in a manner that spoofs nearly every literary and screen detective.
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 --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
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Top customer reviews
Alec Guinness is peerless as usual, although David Niven and Maggie Smith are close favourites. In fact, I like almost the whole cast. Some of the characters/pairs have not dated so well, since the film was made. How PC you are will dictate your tastes in that department.
PS: you'll never guess......
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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Most recent customer reviews
great acting by some of the GREAT actors of the past.
Good twist .
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