HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Song to Song
Lady Macbeth
Pecking Order
Straight Story, The
Monster Calls, A
Red Turtle, The
Fire Down Below
Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins
Cold Moon
Split
Pirates, The
Life is Sweet
Ladybird Ladybird
Mephisto Waltz, The
Raining Stones
Black Widow
Villainess, The
Burroughs
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Suntan
Heal the Living
Riff-Raff
Midwife, The
Mirage
Lady Bloodfight
Property is No Longer a Theft
Dick Spanner, P.I.
Cooley High
Orchard End Murder, The
Boy and the Beast, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Let's Get Harry: Repo Man and Paris, Texas
Shut Up, Crime! The Punisher at the Movies
Thunderbollocks: The Golden Age of Bond Rip-Offs
Creatively Speaking: James Scott's Art Films on DVD
Computer Love: WarGames vs Electric Dreams
Dream Big: Elm Street vs Dreamscape
Whicker's Slicker: Whicker's World Vols 3&4 on DVD
Ladies First: Girls on Film 2 on DVD
Rock Back: 3 Cult Millennium Music Movies
Possession Obsession: Exorcist vs Amityville
   
 
  Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid Just Like Old TimesBuy this film here.
Year: 1982
Director: Carl Reiner
Stars: Steve Martin, Rachel Ward, Carl Reiner, Reni Santoni, Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner, Lana Turner, Alan Ladd, Cary Grant, Bette Davis, Vincent Price, Burt Lancaster, Ray Milland, Ingrid Bergman, Veronica Lake, Edward Arnold, Charles Laughton, Joan Crawford
Genre: Comedy, Thriller
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: Rigby Reardon (Steve Martin) is a private eye who thinks he's seen it all until Juliet Forrest (Rachel Ward) walks into his office. Or rather, falls into his arms when he opens the door, fainting at the the sight of the headline on the newspaper Rigby has been reading. Holding her, he steals a few kisses then lets her lie on this couch; while he cops a feel she wakes up and asks him what he's doing - he bluffs and tells her he was adjusting her breasts, but wants to get to the point. What does she want? It turns out her father, as mentioned in the paper, has died yet she thinks there was a conspiracy behind it... she doesn't know the half of it.

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid could have been a one note movie, and to some extent it is, but it's a good one: edit Steve Martin into old movie clips to create a whole new film. To the credit of Martin, director Carl Reiner and George Gipe who wrote the script, and especially editor Bud Molin, the gag is obvious enough to be apparent to the audience while still making narrative sense: it's ridiculous to be sure, but the story still holds together as a mystery. Not that many would take the time to follow it, but as with the old film noirs it spoofs, there's a complex series of twists and hidden motives here.

One thing that has the film rise above a simple sketch that you might have seen on a television comedy show is that the humour is faithful to it's essential absurdity. So even in the scenes that don't involve classic movie stars adapted into something different, there's a consistent stream of ludicrous laughs with Martin playing up the tough guy, world weary detective to the hilt. Ward, too, makes a decent heroine who may not be a femme fatale (something the film lacks), but is suitably glamorous in the gleaming black and white photography.

In his last days before his car went flying over a cliff, Juliet's scientist father (who made cheese as a hobby) became increasingly paranoid and created lists of "Enemies of Carlotta" and "Friends of Carlotta" on every scrap of paper he could find, including a dollar bill that she has a fragment of. Not that it matters when Rigby tracks down some of the lists as he can't make head nor tail of them, never mind knowing who Carlotta is. Another reason it doesn't matter is because what will really grab your attention are the succession of stars cleverly inserted into the plot.

So Martin goes to a party held by Ingrid Bergman, gets shot by both Alan Ladd and James Cagney, strangles Bette Davis when she mentions the trigger phrase "cleaning woman" (this sends Rigby into a psychotic rage) and in the film's nicest touch, has a believable relationship with fellow private eye Humphrey Bogart. Along with that there's a lot of smoking, drinking and bullet sucking as Rigby's investigation leads him to dress up as a woman where he is seduced by Fred MacMurray (!) and finally end up in South America where he discovers the plot is orchestrated by... well, that would be telling. You don't have to be a film buff to appreciate the clips, although it's fun to see how they're used if you do recognise them, because it's funny enough regardless. Notably this is one of those films that announced a sequel in its last scene that never arrived. Spot-on music by Miklós Rózsa.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3085 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Carl Reiner  (1922 - )

American actor, writer and director, a comedy specialist. He got his break writing for Sid Caesar's television show in the 1950s, then created the Dick Van Dyke Show in the 1960s. He moved into film with the autobiographical Enter Laughing, followed by the more serious The Comic and the controversial Where's Poppa?

In the 1970s he scored a hit with Oh God!, and then directed a string of fine quality Steve Martin vehicles: The Jerk, The Man with Two Brains, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid and All of Me. He continued to direct into the nineties, and had a good role in the Ocean's Eleven remake. Father of Rob Reiner.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Bernard Cribbins
Tom Cruise
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Vikki Sanderson
Darren Jones
Tom Le Surf-hall
Mark Le Surf-hall
  Michael Joy
Andrew Pragasam
   

 

Last Updated: