This is topic Murder by Death (1976) in forum « 70's Movies at iRewind Talk.

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Posted by Ronnie (Member # 465) on :
speaking of movies that never get old...
i thought i would talk about one of my favorite comedies of all time.. the hilarious, whodunnit - Murder By Death.


5 of the world's greatest detectives get invited to a mansion for the weekend for dinner, and to solve a murder mystery. (a plot that's been done many times before and after, i know!)

it has a great cast and brilliant performances, including,the late and great truman capote who plays the odd, yet funny millionaire/host Lionel Twain:

and especially the talented Peter Sellers as the chinese detective , Sydney Wang....along with Alec Guinness (who we know as Obi Wan Kinobe in the original star wars line-up), playing capote's blind butler!

the movies includes other great noticeable actors such as Eileen Brennan, who would later go on to star in 1985's Clue, another favorite of mine, with a similar plot, of course [Wink] and Nancy Walker, (of Rhoda and the Bounty paper towel commercials) playing a deaf & mute maid. [Big Grin]

it's filled with witty, sarcastic, and sassy humor, while it's definitely flawed, it's still very enjoyable. [Smile]

the quirky opening credits can be seen here:

i hope i'm not the only one who appreciates this silly movie [Smile] . it's one of those films i can watch anytime, and not get tired of it.

if you haven't seen it, i hope you do, especially if you are fans of these actors. they are an absolute crack up and the lines never get old. [Big Grin]

[ 13. December 2010, 11:14: Message edited by: Ronnie ]
Posted by Ronnie (Member # 465) on :
the rewind wouldn't let me post more pictures so others i wanted to share are...

these 3 give some of the best lines and could be the funniest characters in the movie.
Peter Falk, David Niven and Maggie Smith:


and Alec Guinness as the blind butler:

[ 13. December 2010, 11:12: Message edited by: Ronnie ]
Posted by Ronnie (Member # 465) on :
and the amazing Peter Sellers:

 -  -
Posted by logan5 (Member # 1467) on :
I'm a big Neil Simon fan. I've only seen this once, but it never struck a cord with me. Maybe I'll try it again.
Posted by Ronnie (Member # 465) on :
thanks, logan. i hope you do, i know the humor is wonky..perhaps not for everyone. i first saw it as a teenager, by accident on cable. and checked the listing for the next viewing, then recorded it on a blank vhs tape.
i also forgot that the actual title is 'neil simon's murder by death.' [Smile]
Posted by Valley (Member # 1322) on :
Ronnie.. excellent write-up and outstanding pics! Such a hilarious movie and "Clue" does remind me of it a bit. The cast was a great combination that really made for memorable characters.
Posted by Ronnie (Member # 465) on :
val...thanks my friend. i was only trying to copy what you do when you start new topics. [Smile]

when i was a clerk at the video store back in my late teens, i would close the store, and play this movie on all the monitors, while i cleaned up. [Big Grin]
Posted by StevenHW (Member # 509) on :
Nice movie for movie buffs. The fictitious detectives are all parodies of other sleuths from earlier generations of movie fans (especially from the 1930's and 40's).

Maggie Smith and David Niven's characters are based on The Thin Man series.

Peter Falk's Sam Diamond is based on Humphrey Bogart's Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon, and probably another detective, Philip Marlowe.

Peter Sellers' Sydney Wang is obviously based on Charlie Chan.

James Coco's Milo Perrier is modeled after Agathie Christie's Hercule Poirot.

Elsa Lanchester played Jessica Marbles, a parody of Christie's Miss Marple.

Ronnie, if you like that movie, you also might like The Cheap Detective (1978), which was also written by Neil Simon, and starred Falk as a San Francisco private eye. It's a parody of several Humphrey Bogart movies.
Posted by Chris the CandyFanMan (Member # 3197) on :
A very good one; the interaction between Guinness's blind butler and the deaf want-to-be maid is priceless. One also can't help crack up at Sellers everytime he starts another bizarre faux Oriental soliloquy; although not quite as good as Clouseau (but then again, what crimefighter is?), he brings a memorable character to life.
Posted by Muffy Tepperman (Member # 1551) on :
I'm watching this right now on tv.......I'd remembered it was one of Ronnie's favorite movies!! [Smile] ........Peter Sellers and Alec Guinness are already cracking me up! I'm a Neil Simon fan too.
Posted by Crash (Member # 7484) on :
I saw "Murder by Death" in a theatre when it opened back in 1976. (Yeah, that really dates me.) It's just brilliantly written and performed with so many hilarious lines and Oscar nominees/winners in the cast. The thing that strikes me about Neil Simon's writing here is that it lets everyone shine, no matter how small the part. And when this was made, a lot of people had forgotten that the great Alec Guinness was the finest comedic actor of his generation. He's just wonderful here, as is everyone else.
Posted by Ronnie (Member # 465) on :
So glad you watched it, Muffy. [Smile]

I watched it, myself, a few nights ago. Terrific little movie.

Originally posted by Crash:
The thing that strikes me about Neil Simon's writing here is that it lets everyone shine, no matter how small the part.

Well said!
Posted by Valley (Member # 1322) on :
Yay! This movie is on Netflix instant watch for anyone that might like to watch it.
Posted by The Good Package (Member # 9492) on :
conversation like television set on honeymoon, unnecessary
Posted by Chris the CandyFanMan (Member # 3197) on :
IS, IS like television set, Mr. Wang; say your blasted pronouns!!
Posted by The Good Package (Member # 9492) on :
im not a frenchie, im a belgie!
Posted by Ronnie (Member # 465) on :
"No wives! I refuse to discuss this with wives!"
Posted by xchazx (Member # 7158) on :
i would love to see this again. i remember watching this on hbo in the early 80's. the only character i knew then was charlie chan.
Posted by The Good Package (Member # 9492) on :
this is the hottest that i have seen maggie smith, she looks quite fetching in the picture above
Posted by Lovers with Cassie (Member # 7794) on :
I have heard of it but I have never viewed it.

I would do so if the opportunity for this came my way.

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