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Murder By Death  

Review: written 2006

Star Studded Spoof

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 literature’s 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 amusingly 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 let’s 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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