Clue - 1985
Director(s): Jonathan Lynn
Writer(s): Jonathan Lynn
Cinematography by: Victor J. Kemper
Editor(s): David Bretherton and Richard Haines
Cast: Eileen Brennan ,Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, Lesley Ann Warren and Colleen Camp
Movies based on video games have a horrible track record, with the top of the crop being described as "fine" at best. So, to think that a movie based on a board game has created such a huge cult following and is one of my favorite movies of all time is a bit mind boggling to me. This is the type of film you can pop in any day at any time, and you have a wonderful time with Tim Curry and his crew. So come along and let's talk about this cult classic.
The story took place in 1954, and it follows six strangers who were invited to a mysterious dinner party. They are greeted by the butler, Wadsworth (Curry), and all are given pseudonym names to go by, as the host does not want their identities revealed. Quickly they realize they all have one thing in common; the host is blackmailing them. After all the inner workings of the blackmail are explained, the host turns up dead, along with many others outside the group, and they must find the murderer before the police come knocking at the door. Jonathan Lynn’s script takes the whodunit format that the board game embodies, and adds slapstick comedy element that works most of the time. Like most comedies of this nature, they take the approach of throwing one-hundred jokes at the audience in each scene, hoping to have a positive hit to miss ration. The mystery eventually becomes secondary to the interrelationships of the characters stuck in the situation and their banter is what makes this film endlessly rewatchable.
The film does take a few minutes to get going, as the introductions of both the characters and the conflict are needed for the audience to buy into the world being presented. But once the first murder occurs, and the characters are unraveling the film picks up significant steam towards the fantastic third act. This act is taken over by Tim Curry recreating the events that took place in the first two acts, and the rest of the cast is racing behind him trying to keep up. And the best one to react to everything Curry is screaming is Michael McKean as Mr. Green since he is always in the crosshairs of the frantic Curry. The film's comedy certainly has moments that did not age well, that comes with the territory, but in overall it is beyond funny and entertaining.
I've mentioned two cast members already, but each actor is correctly cast for each role they embodied — Eileen Brennan as the fast-talking nervous Mrs. Peacock. Her long-winded speech during the dinner scene is the highlight of the slow start of the film. Madeline Kahn as the soft-spoken yet deadly mysterious Mrs. White Her hatred towards Yvette (Camp) slowly grows till it boils over that she can barely speak. Lesley Ann Warren as the seductress and confident Miss Scarlet has an excellent repartee with Christopher Lloyd's shady Professor Plum. And Martin Mull as the "straight-laced" Colonel Mustard has the best dry humor of the entire cast. But as stated above this film belongs to Tim Curry as the Butler and Michael McKean as Mr. Green. The duo is perfect.
Clue is a slapstick comedy filled with running jokes and great comedic performances, wrapped up in a whodunit plot that pays off even if you don't care about the murders. With three alternate endings shot and released, it pays homage to the board game it was inspired by, but also adds to the fun of the mystery and the possibilities. The cast is incredible, and Tim Curry is a national treasure. I honestly have lost count on the times I have watched this classic. Go watch it.
Clue is Why I Love Movies.
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