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September 2, 2013 9:50 PM   Subscribe


 
I absolutely love Eileen Brennan in this film. It's like she saw her wardrobe and said, oh, I know what I'm supposed to do, and then did it perfectly. Somebody from BuzzFeed apparently feels the way I do about this as well.

Of course, she was also in Murder By Death, a clear progenitor of Clue, and was also great in that.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:19 PM on September 2, 2013 [9 favorites]


I love that Madeline Khan's "flames on the side of my face" speech is considered the only improvisation in the film. I would have imagined a lot more of it was.

Lovely stuff about trying to get Stephen Sondheim and Anthony Perkins to write it. And that Carrie Fisher was cast as Miss Scarlet before going to rehab.
posted by crossoverman at 10:33 PM on September 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


For those of us in Los Angeles, Clue will be performed live in front of the film, Rocky Horror-style, at Midnight at the Nuart Theatre on October 4.
posted by mykescipark at 10:36 PM on September 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


The real question: will my children (aged seven and four-and-a-half) be marred by watching this film?
posted by newdaddy at 10:53 PM on September 2, 2013


Murder by Death is definitely far superior. Doesn't hurt that it was written by Neil Simon, someone with actual comedy writing chops.
posted by brookeb at 11:02 PM on September 2, 2013 [7 favorites]


Oh, this was a great article. Now I know what I'm going to watch this weekend. Thanks!
posted by kristi at 11:11 PM on September 2, 2013


For a brief period in the late 90s FLAMES, FLAMES ON THE SIDE OF MY FACE was like an all purpose gay-geek shibboleth. No idea why it latched onto us so, but it did. I read the Clue tie-in books. I read the clue tie-in books AIMED AT YOUNG ADULTS (they all just hung out at the house and solved crimes, it was weird)

why does it work? It's a fucking MACHINE. Farce runs best on formula and Clue is damned quadratic equation bam boom set up pay-off snap, retort, etc
posted by The Whelk at 11:23 PM on September 2, 2013 [10 favorites]


The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!
posted by The Whelk at 11:24 PM on September 2, 2013


And now, once again, I am reminded how much I enjoy Martian Mull.
posted by The Whelk at 11:28 PM on September 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


(also having slight revelation about how much of my childhood was filled with the 1980's version of the 1940s)
posted by The Whelk at 11:30 PM on September 2, 2013 [16 favorites]


On Tom Stoppard's abortive involvement:

The ordeal must have been quite painful for Stoppard; when I reached out to him for comment, he said via email, “I remember John Landis of course, but I can’t remember Clue. I don’t think I worked on it. I’ve never heard of Clue. Sorry not to be able to help.”

I wonder if the reason Stoppard might have trouble remembering is because the original British name for the board game is Cluedo, not Clue. /pedantry
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:46 PM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


So their next article is about The Princess Bride, right?

Right?
posted by GoingToShopping at 11:47 PM on September 2, 2013


I'm gonna go home and sleep with my wife!
posted by zardoz at 11:56 PM on September 2, 2013 [14 favorites]


Murder by Death is definitely far superior. Doesn't hurt that it was written by Neil Simon, someone with actual comedy writing chops.

While I can't really argue the history of Neil Simon and his comedy writing chops, I think it's a bit ridiculous to suggest Jonathan Lynn - the co-creator of Yes, (Prime) Minister - doesn't have comedy writing experience.
posted by crossoverman at 11:58 PM on September 2, 2013 [20 favorites]


I've seen it. I know I have. I probably saw it in the theater. I haven't seen it since, though I know I must have liked it. I... acquired... a copy of it somewhere along the way, though I haven't found time to watch it again.

It would seem I should make some time.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:04 AM on September 3, 2013


For a brief period in the late 90s FLAMES, FLAMES ON THE SIDE OF MY FACE was like an all purpose gay-geek shibboleth.

I wasn't involved in gay culture in my neck of the woods back then, so I don't know if it was more of a thing there, but it was definitely a nerd shibboleth with everyone I knew. You could shout FLAMES on a school bus and get ON THE SIDE OF MY FACE back every time. I've been doing it for almost 30 years. It's like shouting "bag of holding" in a crowded room -- whoever laughs is an instant friend.

The author's right, there's something unusual about that tiny bit of improv. There's the obvious comedy of it, of course, but more than that it's like a moment of pure joy. At that point it's not just a funny actor doing a funny line, it's more like a love poem to her character and the whole farcical mess.
posted by middleclasstool at 12:13 AM on September 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


That's a lot of words for "it was on Comedy Central 24x7 for a decade".
posted by gjc at 12:43 AM on September 3, 2013


It never even occurred to me that this movie was anything short of universally regarded as brilliant. I also saw it in the theatre when I was ten, so there's that.
posted by MoonOrb at 1:06 AM on September 3, 2013 [14 favorites]


I remember getting it from the video store on a weekly rental, falling in love with it and watching it every day that week. I couldn't have been much older than five.

I'm glad to hear it was as much fun to make as it is to watch. It's even educational - I learned about the World Health Organisation because Professor Plum works there, even though for years I thought it was just a very subtle UNO WHO joke.
posted by gadge emeritus at 1:18 AM on September 3, 2013


Reading about how half of the actors are dead or in the hospital kind of made me feel old.
posted by empath at 1:31 AM on September 3, 2013 [13 favorites]


But the movie was awesome in so many ways - wacky comedy, awesome cast (including the incredibly sexy SCOAT (Samizdata Crush of All Time) Madeline Kahn). The world was just not ready for it yet. Times change, people change, hairstyles change, interest rates fluctuate... And it's time came around finally...
posted by Samizdata at 2:35 AM on September 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


With Lee Ving as Mr. Boddy!
posted by AJaffe at 3:00 AM on September 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


(Curry suffered a major stroke in July and was unavailable to be interviewed for this story.)

Wait, WHAT?
posted by Optamystic at 3:04 AM on September 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


And Jane Wiedlin as the singing telegram girl!
posted by Gelatin at 3:04 AM on September 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


Obligatory post. Carry on, now.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 3:24 AM on September 3, 2013 [21 favorites]


I remember seeing it in a discount theater and laughing my fool head off. It's incredibly entertaining and I never really understood why it was so publicly reviled.

With the benefit of time and hindsight, I think it has to be chalked up to two things: First, it's merely a very good and very entertaining movie, neither brilliant nor innovative (setting aside the multiple-endings gimmick which, to be honest, is probably not going to mean a damn thing if the public wasn't giving the movie the word-of-mouth buzz it needed).

Second, maybe the industry hate-on was due to circumstances unrelated to the movie -- What brings this to mind was the preemptive negging against Pacific Rim (), which was apparently more than a little due to its production company's contract being up for renewal -- and distributors wouldn't want that company to have a fresh major hit to use as advantage in contract negotiations.
posted by ardgedee at 3:36 AM on September 3, 2013


I... had to stop her from screaming...
posted by Aznable at 3:50 AM on September 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


With Amelie and now Clue, the Blue has given me posts this week for two of my favorite movies during high school. All I need is a third one for Baraka and the trifecta will be complete.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 3:56 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Cluedo", dammit.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 4:04 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I watched it the first time a few months ago and I guess that I just didn't get it. Not much of a Tim Curry fan and he was way too Tim Curry in this movie. The whole thing seemed to be trying way too hard.
posted by octothorpe at 4:08 AM on September 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


" ...someone with actual comedy writing chops"

Have you seen Yes, Minister? The writing on that show is equal or superior to anything which came out at the same time.
posted by banal evil at 4:09 AM on September 3, 2013


"Cluedo", dammit.

Like that's even a word.
posted by middleclasstool at 4:11 AM on September 3, 2013 [17 favorites]


For those wondering why it didn't do well- in the US it hit the theaters about the same time as Jewel of the Nile, Spies Like Us, Brazil, the Color Purple, Out of Africa, Enemy Mine, & Ran, and even as a kid I felt it had the feel of a Murder by Death imitator with an inexplicable boardgame license tie-in and a cheap gimmick to try and get you to buy three tickets. Once you actually see it there's some decent bits underneath the dreck, but at the time it seemed like a good movie to pass over for better options.
posted by Challahtronix at 4:26 AM on September 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


The whole thing seemed to be trying way too hard.

I think that is part of the appeal.
posted by empath at 4:26 AM on September 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Jewel of the Nile, Spies Like Us, Brazil, the Color Purple, Out of Africa, Enemy Mine, & Ran

Brazil was a much bigger bomb than Clue was.
posted by empath at 4:29 AM on September 3, 2013


It's funny, but I never realized it was a bomb. I managed to see all three endings in the theater, which must really make me an outlier. Loved it at the time (being the perfect age for it), still enjoy it hugely, and recently introduced it to my kids, who also loved it.
posted by Ickster at 5:00 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


My sister and I watched this move once a week for YEARS. We had to make rules about who could say which characters lines along with. When I met my wife, I learned that she and her brother had done the same.

It was then I knew that was keeping something wahm foah me.
posted by DU at 5:12 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


The whole thing seemed to be trying way too hard.

I think that is part of the appeal.


No, I think it effortlessly mocks movies that try too hard. Like the splitting up scene. There's no way to read that as not a parody of horror movies.
posted by DU at 5:15 AM on September 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


It was then I knew that was keeping something wahm foah me.

I recognize most of these words as English...is this some kind of puzzle? Or just a red herring?
posted by C'est la D.C. at 5:26 AM on September 3, 2013


I hadn't seen it in a long time, so I showed Murder By Death to a new-ish group of friends on our movie night. Turns out it's surprisingly racist. I don't think Clue has the same problem, but there's only one way to find out.
posted by Jpfed at 5:27 AM on September 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


We schemed and schemed to see this in theater (not something that was done in our crowd) - to make sure we saw all three endings.

Alas, it was not to be, but once it hit HBO, man, we were all over it.

The next dark and stormy night, we're showing it to the kids. They're just about the right age ...
posted by tilde at 5:41 AM on September 3, 2013


Whenever I am down, this is the movie I watch. I have owned it on VHS, LaserDisc, DVD and now actually BluRay, though truth be told, I think they're all transfers from the VHS version. The premise is absurd, the script is witty, and the cast is perhaps the greatest assemblage of comedic talent ever on a single screen. I watch it for the chemistry between the actors.
posted by petrilli at 5:51 AM on September 3, 2013


There is also a so-bad-it's good Clue VCR game (remember VCR games) kicking around. It's full of serious scenery chewing pretty much from every actor in the bunch. My brother and I used to watch the tape to the point where we'd memorized literally every line of dialogue, but we maybe played the actual game a dozen times or so.

I keep hoping I'll find a copy of it somewhere, because it's basically Roger Corman's "Clue: The Cluening".
posted by middleclasstool at 6:11 AM on September 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Brazil was a much bigger bomb than Clue was.

It was also a better movie than Clue was. Don't get me wrong, I love Clue, but there's a reason Brazil keeps showing up on all time lists. Also in common between the two, Roger Ebert initially panned both of them.
posted by eriko at 6:23 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, I loved this movie so much. Always one of the default choices when you couldn't find anything else at the video store. One thing I thought I should mention in the thread is that the movie is streaming on Netflix, if you'd like to watch it again.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:34 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think Clue has the same problem, but there's only one way to find out.

None that I remember. Probably a little homophobic, but no more than many movies of today and probably a lot less (considering Mr Green's declaring of being unashamed).
posted by DU at 7:00 AM on September 3, 2013


It's set in the 50's and made in the 80's. Being gay's a reason for Mr. Green to be blackmailed, there's a few low gasps when he first comes out, the word fruit gets used later, but nothing is what I would call homophobic.

And Cantonese cuisine gets a pretty good shout-out, at least from Mrs. Peacock, so I wouldn't say racist either.
posted by gadge emeritus at 7:07 AM on September 3, 2013


Murder By Death isn't nearly as funny to people who aren't up on crime/detective fiction, I've found.
posted by griphus at 7:09 AM on September 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wait... Clue was a flop? I watched it when it came out and everyone I knew thought it was freakin' hilarious.
posted by linux at 7:09 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I remember my entire family basically pooh-poohing the whole idea of a movie based on a board game, and combined with the bad reviews and the multiple endings business I never did wind up watching Clue, even on VHS. I'm looking forward to watching it on Netflix tonight! According to Instantwatcher it's 96 minutes - does anyone know if that includes all three endings?
posted by usonian at 7:13 AM on September 3, 2013


Yes, usonian, it does.

Now I have that MUSIC in my head. Singing telegram interspersed with the finales' music ...
posted by tilde at 7:15 AM on September 3, 2013


Murder by Death, I discovered after Clue and I'm glad for it. Clue was perfect for an age when I still hadn't discovered Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett nor knew of the Charlie Chan films (sorry, I never got into Biggers so I only knew of the movies).

Thankfully, I discovered MbD after getting all that reading in and found the movie fantastic. I also don't find it that racist, given that the portrayals are over-the-top versions of characters that in many ways were bigots and portrayed as such.

Alec Guinness' denouement scene alone is worth the price of admission.
posted by linux at 7:17 AM on September 3, 2013


Lesley Ann Warren. Lesley Ann Warren. Lesley Ann Warren.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 7:21 AM on September 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Whenever I am down, this is the movie I watch. I have owned it on VHS, LaserDisc, DVD and now actually BluRay, though truth be told, I think they're all transfers from the VHS version

Speaking of, among all its other more well-discussed virtues, the movie Clue also provided a valuable lesson about media degradation, as I know at least 3 people whose VHS version of Clue was unwatchable by the time the DVD came out. Don't know if this was all the re-watching but it was considered a tragedy by all three.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:21 AM on September 3, 2013


According to Instantwatcher it's 96 minutes - does anyone know if that includes all three endings?


Yes - one of the things that article doesn't mention is that I think one of the reasons why it was shown so often on cable is because it's also the perfect length for TV movies even with commercials.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:23 AM on September 3, 2013


usonian: I'm looking forward to watching it on Netflix tonight! According to Instantwatcher it's 96 minutes - does anyone know if that includes all three endings?

It's a shame none of the recorded media versions of the movie ever did anything interesting with the multiple endings. Netflix could create a little poll/quiz that you'd have to take and then it would choose an ending to show you. You'd have to try the quiz multiple times to see all three. I also think, as the article mentions, that having multiple endings is so absolutely perfect given the source material that it didn't read as a gimmick to me at all. It's based on Clue, so of course anyone could have done it.

Wasn't there a Clue: The Movie: The Game released after the movie that included characters like Yvette and Wadsworth and added more locations and weapons or something?
posted by Rock Steady at 7:28 AM on September 3, 2013


I was amazed that it was a flop. I saw it when it first came out and I loved it. I'm glad it's being appreciated properly now.
posted by h00py at 7:30 AM on September 3, 2013


This movie assembles the greatest English-language comic actors alive at the time (not counting SCTV people) and letting them bounce off each other, and for that alone it is a masterpiece. It's like the Avengers of farce.
(and way better than the gears-turning clunkiness and joyless box-ticking of Murder By Death)
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:42 AM on September 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Huh, didn't realize the same guy directed My Cousin Vinny, which is another one of my favorite comedies.
posted by codacorolla at 7:52 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I, too, was surprised to find out Clue was a flop. I must have been like 7 when I saw it in the theater, which was probably the perfect age. McKean's observation about how it contains the perfect mix of "adult-like things" is spot-on. My friends and family all loved it, and some of us may have even seen it in the theater multiple times to catch the different endings. I don't know if they did this at every theater, but I remember them handing us little pencils and slips of paper (the same ones used in the game!) on our way in, so we could keep track of the suspects and make our own "guesses". The whole thing was just perfect. It was a joy to see it years later and finally get all the jokes I missed because I was too young. In a way, this gave the movie yet another "ending".

I totally get the comparison to Murder By Death, but at the same time, man, what a different movie. I saw MBD a few years ago and didn't laugh once. I dunno, maybe the cultural signposts in Clue were more legible to me or something. But whereas Clue comes across as a lighthearted romp through a mishmash of well-trod genres, MBD seemed full of the most obvious possible jokes strung together in a listless, interminable fashion. And yeah, there was the racism, although I couldn't tell if it was actual racism ala Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's, or if they were making fun of that kind of racism. Either way, it bored me to tears, and I couldn't wait for it to be over. Why Truman Capote chose it as his only (?) acting role I will never understand.
posted by evil otto at 8:05 AM on September 3, 2013


codacorolla: Huh, didn't realize the same guy directed My Cousin Vinny, which is another one of my favorite comedies.

Also Nuns On The Run which lead me down a IMDb rabbit hole wherein I found this hilarious (in retrospect) comment:

"No offence, but being on a movie database, perhaps you should expand your repertoire of watched films?

Member of the Stop Heath Ledger Before He Gets His Talentless Mits On The Role Of the Joker Society"

posted by Rock Steady at 8:12 AM on September 3, 2013


Huh, didn't realize the same guy directed My Cousin Vinny, which is another one of my favorite comedies.

You mean the last 10 minutes thereof.
posted by DU at 8:21 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I must have been like 7 when I saw it in the theater, which was probably the perfect age. McKean's observation about how it contains the perfect mix of "adult-like things" is spot-on.

I saw it for the first time when I was around the same age and completely agree. It plays almost like a child's idea of a movie for adults.
posted by seymourScagnetti at 8:32 AM on September 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


Not only that, but the Clue characters all act like Looney Tunes characters riffing on tropes from the 40s and 50s. Looney Tunes cartoons were still very much a part of kids' TV programming in the 80s. I didn't get any of the original references at the time, but they all seemed somehow familiar...
posted by evil otto at 8:44 AM on September 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


okay settle a childhood argument for me . While the they all did ending is the funniest, the ending were miss scarlet did it is the only one that makes sense in the context of the story, right?
posted by The Whelk at 8:49 AM on September 3, 2013


Wasn't there a Clue: The Movie: The Game released after the movie that included characters like Yvette and Wadsworth and added more locations and weapons or something?

I am not a huge fan of either the movie or the game, although I have found both modestly diverting. I have a vague recollection that there was a reissue of the game with photos of the characters taken from the film, but not new rules. It seems obvious in retrospect to do some tie-in marketing this way -- if you are hoping for the movie to spur sales, why not put Madeline Kahn and Martin Mull on the box? A google image search does mot reveal anything of the sort, but it does produce this, which seems oddly apropos. The search also reveals some deep oddness, such as a novelization and Clue D&D ("It was the druid in the Hall of Mirrors with the Vorpal Sword!")

In a way, I hope there is a game of the movie of the game: I enjoy the notion of recursive adaptation (in the sense of "I can't believe the marketing people thought this would be a good idea") and am secretly pleased by there being a movie adaptation of a stage musical based on a movie, or a novel based on a movie based on a novel.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:53 AM on September 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Uhh, mods, I don't think you should come in here. BECAUSE IT'S ALL TOO SHOCKING!
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:56 AM on September 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


why not, it's a free country.
posted by The Whelk at 8:57 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


One thing I thought I should mention in the thread is that the movie is streaming on Netflix, if you'd like to watch it again.

Dammit, I had *plans* for that 96 minutes!
posted by booksherpa at 9:00 AM on September 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


The "forgotten flop" part is just a red herring. I was 16 when it came out and saw it with my whole family and we all loved it. And then later saw it with all the endings on VCR and loved it even more. It's full of quotable lines, a wide range of humor (my teenage brain thought the "don't bury her at sea, her bosoms will float" poem was hilarious) and has a fantastic cast (although, even more embarrassing, I think all these years I've thought Ms. Scarlett was played by Susan Sarandon).
posted by straight at 9:01 AM on September 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I had no idea Rowan Atkinson was considered for the Butler before Tim Curry. Thinking about it, it would have really worked, too.
posted by phong3d at 9:17 AM on September 3, 2013


my teenage brain thought the "don't bury her at sea, her bosoms will float" poem was hilarious

I don't know what you are remembering, but it isn't Clue.

The line that made me watch it the second time was "PICKED up the dagger, RAN down the hall and nonchalantly joined us by the cook's body in the kitchen. took less than half a minute."
posted by DU at 9:29 AM on September 3, 2013


I don't know what you are remembering, but it isn't Clue.

Google says a movie called "Private Eyes"?
posted by DU at 9:29 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


The only thing I remember clearly about Clue was that it was in theatres at the same time as Back to the Future, and one Saturday me and the 4 other kids had to vote on which of the two movies we wanted to see. I didn't win, and we went to see Back to the Future.

I saw Clue years later and my vague memory of it was that the best candidate won that day.
posted by Hoopo at 9:44 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wasn't there a Clue: The Movie: The Game released after the movie that included characters like Yvette and Wadsworth and added more locations and weapons or something?

A little Googling suggests I was thinking of Clue Master Detective, which has more characters, weapons, and rooms, but doesn't appear to have any link to the movie.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:45 AM on September 3, 2013


Clue is definitely one of top 10 favorite movies of all time. It seems like whatever I watched in my teens sticks with me forever.
posted by desjardins at 9:50 AM on September 3, 2013


Also, Jane Wiedlin!
posted by Rock Steady at 9:51 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


My best friend/roomie is a Pretentious Artist who isn't ANTI-silly but has always gravitated towards the serious.

Since we've moved in together it's been a great joy for me to show her Clue, Forbidden Zone, and Mystery Train for the first time. Next up are Beetlejuce, Ghost Busters and Blues Brothers. How someone can be born in the early 80s and not even accidentally see either of those movies makes absolutely no sense to me. Especially in Chicago, in a house with a television.
posted by elr at 10:14 AM on September 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Today is the first time I've ever heard that there was anybody who didn't like Clue. I cannot hear the word "communism" in conversation without biting my tongue to keep from saying "Communism was just a red herring." I have a bit of a giggle every time I vacuum, because my machine is a Hoover. Whenever there's a sex scandal in the news, my sister or I will say to the other, "You know what [profession] aren't supposed to do with their [subordinate relationship]?" "Yeah?" "He/she did."

Nearly every year at the company Halloween do, there's a group dressed up as the Clue characters. But none of them have ever done the movie versions. If my costume buddies ever want to do Clue, we are DOING the movie versions. I will wear a voluminous hat and apron and be the cook if I have to. I will don a Nehru jacket and painted stubble and be Mr. Boddy if I have to. But we will DO the movie versions.

I see Murder by Death as more of a parody of different styles of mystery stories, although of course the similarities are easily seen, too. The characters of Clue all inhabit the same world, whereas those of Murder by Death would be in the same section of the library but possibly on different shelves.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:15 AM on September 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


my teenage brain thought the "don't bury her at sea, her bosoms will float" poem was hilarious
I don't know what you are remembering, but it isn't Clue.
Google says a movie called "Private Eyes"?


Yes, starring Tim Conway and Don Knotts. Very similar in theme to Clue, with the bumbling PIs trying to solve a series of murders in a sprawling mansion filled with secret passages, booby traps, etc. One of my all-time favorites as a child, but upon recent re-viewing, the comedy doesn't really hold up all that well.

Clue, on the other hand, still delivers.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:18 AM on September 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


So the bit with Wadsworth breaking into tears at he and his wife being branded "socialists" and everyone else tsking in disgust? Does anyone else think that line is even funnier today?
posted by Aznable at 10:21 AM on September 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Clue was great, but I could've used a little more Howard Hesseman.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:26 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Today is the first time I've ever heard that there was anybody who didn't like Clue

Well, that seems to be only me. I'm sort amazed by this thread, I had no idea Clue was a "thing". I only vaguely remember it being released in the eighties and never thought of it again until I watched it randomly on Netflix a few months ago. Comedy is such a utilitarian thing though, either it works for you or it doesn't. I don't think that I laughed once.
posted by octothorpe at 10:35 AM on September 3, 2013


While I love Clue, I still think that Battleship movie was a terrible idea.
posted by ckape at 10:42 AM on September 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Whenever I am down, this is the movie I watch. I have owned it on VHS, LaserDisc, DVD and now actually BluRay, though truth be told, I think they're all transfers from the VHS version. The premise is absurd, the script is witty, and the cast is perhaps the greatest assemblage of comedic talent ever on a single screen. I watch it for the chemistry between the actors.

Unless you're talking about Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, or *maybe* It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, you're mistaken.
posted by stenseng at 10:59 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


The only thing I remember clearly about Clue was that it was in theatres at the same time as Back to the Future, and one Saturday me and the 4 other kids had to vote on which of the two movies we wanted to see. I didn't win, and we went to see Back to the Future.

I saw Clue years later and my vague memory of it was that the best candidate won that day.


I'm pretty sure Christopher Lloyd won that day.
posted by MoonOrb at 11:14 AM on September 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


I saw Clue a few times when I was a kid -- this comment is only a mild exaggeration -- and then didn't see it again until I was in my mid-20s. Seeing it again as an adult who has watched a lot of films, I spent the first act repeating "hey, is that [actor name]?" as it slowly dawned on me that this was an ensemble cast.
posted by griphus at 11:18 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pretty much any time I'm in a group of people which dwindles down or separates such that I'm with one other person, I always, always, think, "It's you and me, honeybunch." More often than not, I say it out loud. This has not historically been received well.

Also, whenever I have trouble with a door, I think "Let us in! Let us in! / Let us out! Let us out!" Sometimes I say that out loud too. I have very understanding friends.
posted by Errant at 11:25 AM on September 3, 2013 [9 favorites]


One of the Fort Wayne libraries had Clue on VHS in about 1993 or 1994 and I remember renting it over and over and not getting all the jokes but thinking it was tremendously funny all the same.

Years later I got a DVD player and saw Clue for $5 and figured what the hell, Ghostbusters turned out to be even better as an adult. One of the best uses for $5 I've ever found.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:20 PM on September 3, 2013


Yet another impressionable youth here chiming in that this movie was absolutely hilarious and only gets better on repeated rewatching. In fact, I know what I'm doing tonight.

I also thought until getting it drilled into me in this thread that Scarlet was Susan Sarandon.

And to join in with the hilarious quoting of lines:

Cop: You're not going to drive home, are you?
Plum: He won't be driving home, officer, I promise you that!
Cop: Somebody will give him a lift, huh?
Scarlet: Oh, we'll...we'll...we'll get him a car!
Plum: A long black car!
Scarlet: A limousine!
posted by ish__ at 12:45 PM on September 3, 2013


I don't know what you are remembering, but it isn't Clue. Google says a movie called "Private Eyes"?
I've never been so embarrassed by one of my MetaFilter comments.
posted by straight at 12:53 PM on September 3, 2013


I played that Clue VCR game over and over again. As far as I know it's still at my mom's house, and for some reason I never thought to introduce my children to it. Just too hokey seeming to millennials, I guess. You can watch it on YouTube.
posted by Biblio at 1:03 PM on September 3, 2013


Just too hokey seeming to millennials, I guess.

heresy, after the stale dog poop jokes at the start it's just fine
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:31 PM on September 3, 2013


Google says a movie called "Private Eyes"?

Ah, yes, the Don Knotts/Tim Conway comedy. Back in the early 80s HBO played this movie a lot, and I think I saw it every time. I must've been pretty darn young because I remember that movie freaking me out, more than once. I'm sure it hasn't aged well at all but that one made a real impression on me.
posted by zardoz at 4:55 PM on September 3, 2013


Tomorrow night (Sept. 4th) at 10:00pm Eastern time I'm going to watch Clue on Netflix and liveblog it in this thread, if anyone wants to join me.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:04 PM on September 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Dude I can recite the movie for you right here and now.
posted by The Whelk at 6:08 PM on September 3, 2013


*cleans glasses set to shake rattle and roll*
posted by The Whelk at 6:08 PM on September 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Forgotten flop?! Nevar!!
posted by deborah at 6:51 PM on September 3, 2013


I think it'd be interesting to do a series on movies that bombed that constant airings on cable turned into beloved classics. I see the AV Club or The Dissolve doing it.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:54 PM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


To make a long thread short…
posted by klangklangston at 8:32 PM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


TOO LATE
posted by The Whelk at 8:36 PM on September 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Isn't It's A Wonderful Life the canon example for "became famous because it was on TV all the damn time cause of licenses issues?"

I wouldn't know, I know Clue form it always being at the VHS rental place and always available.
posted by The Whelk at 8:37 PM on September 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I never saw it at the cinema, but I remember seeing the VHS at my local rental store and thinking, "WOW, a film with three endings!" It appealed to both my love of detective stories and Choose Your Own Adventure.
posted by crossoverman at 8:43 PM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


You can watch it on YouTube.

Wait, WHAT?

*searches*

*rainbow explosion*
posted by middleclasstool at 1:38 AM on September 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh God I'm going to have to rip those and edit them all together and just never stop playing them until my wife threatens divorce. So much joy right now, thanks.
posted by middleclasstool at 1:41 AM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Someone has to bring up the fourth ending, so it might as well be me. Jonathan Lynn may not remember it, but it's in the novelization AND the photo book (which shows Tim Curry in a scene that doesn't occur anywhere else in the movie). Spoiler alert: it's the darkest timeline.
posted by roger ackroyd at 9:41 AM on September 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Holy crap! Yeah, I can see why they didn't do that one.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:44 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


So I just spent an hour or two wrestling with a bad wifi connection to watch the whole VCR game playlist on YouTube. It was every bit as gloriously terrible as I recall, and I recited a third of the dialogue from memory despite not having seen it since, oh, 1990. Which was 23 years ago.

I sent the link to my brother, who then confessed that he bought a copy of it on eBay five years ago.

So I have no point, other than what the fuck.
posted by middleclasstool at 2:15 PM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Spoiler alert: it's the darkest timeline.

Wow.
posted by crossoverman at 3:26 PM on September 4, 2013


*** Liveblog starts in 10 minutes ***
posted by Rock Steady at 6:49 PM on September 4, 2013


I'm at work but I am excited to be here with you. :D
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:54 PM on September 4, 2013


We'll see how it goes. I've never done anything like this before. I'm assuming having a little fun down at the bottom of a thread is OK and we won't get shut down by the mods.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:57 PM on September 4, 2013


OK, if you are playing along, press play now.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:59 PM on September 4, 2013


Credits over a cloudy sky.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:00 PM on September 4, 2013


Wadsworth drives up to the matte painting of the mansion in a great streamlined old car. A Packard?
posted by Rock Steady at 7:02 PM on September 4, 2013


Nice wordless gag with Tim Curry gloating over his superiority over the dogs and then stepping in a pile of shit.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:03 PM on September 4, 2013


Hahahaha. Yvette checks the soles of her pumps after smelling Wadsworth.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:04 PM on September 4, 2013


Martin Mull's Col. Mustard is the first to show up, followed by a very sophisticated Madeline Kahn. They each wrinkle their nose smelling what Wadsworth stepped in.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:06 PM on September 4, 2013


Amazing coat/hood on Leslie Anne Warren. Christopher Lloyd looks unbelievably young. Doc Brown seems a long way off.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:07 PM on September 4, 2013


Professor Plum tries to grope Miss Scarlet. The cad.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:09 PM on September 4, 2013


"I am but a humble butler"
"What do you do?"
"I butle, sir."
posted by Rock Steady at 7:10 PM on September 4, 2013


Mr. Green reveals that he knows who Mrs. Peacock really is.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:12 PM on September 4, 2013


The ladies are already sniping at each other...
posted by Rock Steady at 7:13 PM on September 4, 2013


They all have Washington, DC connections it seems, as Wadsworth lets Mr. Boddy in and locks the door, keeping the key. Mr. Boddy is kind of a douche to Yvette. He does seem like a bit of a strange casting choice, as mentioned in the article.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:16 PM on September 4, 2013


If it makes you feel any better the guy who plays Boddy is a well-known douchebag IRL.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:23 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wadsworth explains what brings them all here, and tells them that they may not leave. Mr. Boddy tries to escape through the Conservatory, but is restrained by a vicious Dachshund. They are all being blackmailed: Plum had an affair with a patient, Mrs. Peacock takes bribes on her husband's account, Scarlet runs a brothel (Plum is interested) and Mustard is a client. Mrs. White killed her husbands (great laugh Leslie Ann Warren). Green is gay and will lose his job if it is discovered.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:23 PM on September 4, 2013


Boddy just took a knee to the nuts from White white Yvette plays with a couple balls in the Billiard Room.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:24 PM on September 4, 2013


Mr. Boddy hands out gifts -- the traditional Clue weapons -- to the assembled. Really nice prop design.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:26 PM on September 4, 2013


He shuts out the lights so someone can kill Wadsworth, but gets killed himself. Poor planning, Boddy. *Bullet #1 breaks the vase*
posted by Rock Steady at 7:28 PM on September 4, 2013


On Mr. Green: In the 50's homosexuality was considered by the government to be so profoundly shameful that homosexuals could not hold security clearances, as logically any man would sooner sell out his country than be exposed.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:29 PM on September 4, 2013


"I'm not THE butler, but I am A butler."
posted by Rock Steady at 7:30 PM on September 4, 2013


Colleen Camp really is strikingly sexy as Yvette.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:31 PM on September 4, 2013


Wadsworth claims his wife was a victim of Mr. Boddy too, but I'm not buying it.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:32 PM on September 4, 2013


The police are going to arrive in 39 minutes.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:33 PM on September 4, 2013


The cook's been stabbed! ("Dinner wasn't that bad.")
posted by Rock Steady at 7:34 PM on September 4, 2013


"Husbands should be like Kleenex: Soft, strong and disposable."
posted by Rock Steady at 7:35 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


They take the Cook's body into the study, but Mr. Boddy's body is gone. Was he dead? It was the shrink who declared him dead.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:36 PM on September 4, 2013


There's Mr. Boddy. "He's dead! Again?"
posted by Rock Steady at 7:38 PM on September 4, 2013


The weapons are locked up, but they argue about the key. They go to throw it outside, and there's a stranded motorist at the door!
posted by Rock Steady at 7:40 PM on September 4, 2013


"Where is it?"
"The body?"
"The phone! What body?"
posted by Rock Steady at 7:41 PM on September 4, 2013


The key to the weapons cupboard (or at least A key) is thrown away.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:42 PM on September 4, 2013


Great exchange between Martin Mull and Tim Curry. "No there is?"
posted by Rock Steady at 7:43 PM on September 4, 2013


Mustard suggests they split up to search the house.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:44 PM on September 4, 2013


The teams are: Wadsworth/White, Plum/Peacock, Green/Yvette, Mustard/Scarlet.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:46 PM on September 4, 2013


"Looks like it's just you and me, honey... bunch."
*loathing*
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:47 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Great physical comedy around each person not trusting their partner. No one wants to turn their back on the other for a second. Trying to squeeze through doors and up stairways at the same time.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:50 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


A broken window in the ball room. Someone burns the evidence, gets the weapons and kills the motorist, whose "old boss" is at the house. The secret passages make their appearance.

"You go first."
"Oh what the hell, I've had a good life."
posted by Rock Steady at 7:53 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Never mind about the key, unlock the door!"
posted by Rock Steady at 7:54 PM on September 4, 2013


*Bullets 2, 3 & 4*
posted by Rock Steady at 7:55 PM on September 4, 2013


The police are early.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:56 PM on September 4, 2013


"Please help yourself to a drink. Not the cognac, just in case."
posted by Rock Steady at 7:58 PM on September 4, 2013


"Why is J. Edgar Hoover on your phone?"
"I don't know, he's on everybody else's."
posted by Rock Steady at 7:59 PM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Cannot believe I'm late to this party.

"I didn't know it was that free."
posted by MoonOrb at 7:59 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Some Weekend At Bernie's style action as they arrange the corpses to fool the cop.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:01 PM on September 4, 2013


"I am your singing telegram."

*bang*

...

"This is getting serious."
posted by MoonOrb at 8:04 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


And there goes Yvette.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:04 PM on September 4, 2013


And the cop.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:04 PM on September 4, 2013


Christopher Lloyd looks unbelievably young. Doc Brown seems a long way off.

And yet, the films were released in the same year :)
posted by crossoverman at 8:05 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


shit, I am about 2 minutes too early for you Rock Steady.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:05 PM on September 4, 2013


*Bullet 5 takes out Jane Wiedlin*
posted by Rock Steady at 8:05 PM on September 4, 2013


Close enough, MoonOrb.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:06 PM on September 4, 2013


Mrs. White looking pale and tragic.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:06 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wadsworth begins...
posted by Rock Steady at 8:08 PM on September 4, 2013


"And you'd had a letter, and you'd had a letter..."
posted by Rock Steady at 8:09 PM on September 4, 2013


"Mr. Green."

*slap*

"Well, I had to stop her screaming!"
posted by MoonOrb at 8:09 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Nao?"
"No."
posted by Rock Steady at 8:10 PM on September 4, 2013


I love Tim Curry throwing Michael McKean around like a rag doll.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:15 PM on September 4, 2013


"Can you keep a secret?"
"Yes!"
"So can I."
posted by Rock Steady at 8:15 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Well, let's put her in the study with the others."
posted by MoonOrb at 8:16 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Where's The Whelk, he could do this from memory.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:17 PM on September 4, 2013


This is great. We should have movie nights in mefi chat.
posted by desjardins at 8:17 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


"And then the doorbell rang --"
posted by Rock Steady at 8:17 PM on September 4, 2013


Oh God, Mrs. White's little scream.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:18 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you."

"Well, you're a bit late for that!"
posted by MoonOrb at 8:18 PM on September 4, 2013


This is great. We should have movie nights in mefi chat.

Remember when we were all hanging out in the Food Fight stream? Something like, but less horrifying, would rule.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:19 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


"No Mr. Green, communism was just a red herring."
posted by MoonOrb at 8:21 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


"I'm only a guest!"
posted by Rock Steady at 8:23 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


ENDING #2!
posted by Rock Steady at 8:23 PM on September 4, 2013


That's how it could have happened.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:23 PM on September 4, 2013


Communism is still a red herring.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:25 PM on September 4, 2013


For she's a jolly good fellow...
posted by MoonOrb at 8:26 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mrs. Peacock was a man?
posted by MoonOrb at 8:27 PM on September 4, 2013


But here's what really happened!
posted by MoonOrb at 8:27 PM on September 4, 2013


Mrs. Peacock was a man!?
posted by Rock Steady at 8:27 PM on September 4, 2013


I'm going home to sleep with my wife!
posted by The Whelk at 8:27 PM on September 4, 2013


posted by The Whelk

Finally!
posted by crossoverman at 8:29 PM on September 4, 2013


Not yet, Whelk!
posted by Rock Steady at 8:29 PM on September 4, 2013


Everyone together now: flames... on the sides of my face...
posted by Rock Steady at 8:29 PM on September 4, 2013


"it it the flames. flames. on the side of my face. heaving breaths. heaving breasts."
posted by MoonOrb at 8:30 PM on September 4, 2013


I do prefer the final ending. I love the way everybody was in on it.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:31 PM on September 4, 2013


That was the one I saw in the theater. It was several years before I saw any of the others.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:32 PM on September 4, 2013


"If you want to know who killed Mr. Boddy, I did. In the hall. With the revolver."
posted by MoonOrb at 8:32 PM on September 4, 2013


Netflix thinks if I enjoyed Clue I'll like The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and....Eddie Izzard: Dress to Kill.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:33 PM on September 4, 2013


Yay! Thanks for coming. We really should do it again in chat sometime. My wife is out of town for a few days, and I could use the entertainment, so if someone wants to pick a film to do this weekend I'm up for it.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:34 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Miller's Crossing!
posted by MoonOrb at 8:34 PM on September 4, 2013


I've never seen it, actually. Sounds good to me.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:36 PM on September 4, 2013


I choose to expose myself.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:37 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]




So, consensus: while the They All Did It ending is *funnier*, Scarlet doing it is the only one that makes the most story sense?
posted by The Whelk at 9:28 PM on September 4, 2013


Stop introducing sense!

I gave up on story sense when the motorist, cop, and singing telegram girl were introduced. I can think of no earthly reason how they'd all end up in that house in the manner that they did.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:41 PM on September 4, 2013


The singing telegram makes sense- she was just going where she was told to go. The cop, given sufficient pull in the department could be caused to be on that beat that night, but without sabotaging Scarlet's car, he couldn't be directly caused to show up at the house. The motorist... I have no idea.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:43 PM on September 4, 2013


None of them make sense to me since they are all ostensibly from Washington DC yet the house is somewhere in New England, right?

And if the motorist was invited like Wadsworth claimed, why wouldn't he have said so?

Agreed the singing telegram makes the most sense but for the fact that it's set many states away from where she should have been living.

Or am I wrong about the New England thing? Is this some spooky house in Annandale?
posted by MoonOrb at 9:47 PM on September 4, 2013


Well we know that the singing telegram girl has been around Plum but we don't know where she lives now.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:50 PM on September 4, 2013


I just assume they where all paid hefty sums of money to appear and or given shadowy instructions by a vast network of spies and informants.
posted by The Whelk at 9:54 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


(like the cop acts lik he just stumbled upon it, but the only it makes sense is if he was told "go to this house and act like you have a reason to be there" but that's not ...supported in the dialogue.)

Whatever, it fits the idea that the movie is a child's idea of what a grown-up movie is like.
posted by The Whelk at 9:55 PM on September 4, 2013


Hey don't look at me I wasn't the one who brought up sense-making in the first place
posted by MoonOrb at 10:00 PM on September 4, 2013


So, consensus: while the They All Did It ending is *funnier*, Scarlet doing it is the only one that makes the most story sense?

Peacock certainly makes the least. Scarlett may have an edge sensewise over the everybody did it ending, but not by much, I don't think. On the other hand, I still remember reading Murder on the Orient Express as a kid and my mind being blown right out of my face, so I may be biased by nostalgia here.
posted by middleclasstool at 1:07 AM on September 5, 2013


So, consensus: while the They All Did It ending is *funnier*, Scarlet doing it is the only one that makes the most story sense?

I think it makes the most sense from a traditional whodunit standpoint. I think the "real" ending is more in keeping with the tone of the movie and the source material. The Miss Scarlet ending also lacks the "monkey brains are not common in Washington DC" clue, which is one of my favorite bits in the movie.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:46 AM on September 5, 2013


Having watched Clue for the first time the other night as a late-30s adult, I think that "kid's idea of a grown-up movie" is a perfect description. It's a pleasantly silly movie with a good balance of banter and slapstick. The dialog feels stilted at times, but somehow deliberately so. I would have loved it as a kid, although even as an adult part of me was bothered that none of the characters look like the ones from the 1950s edition of the boardgame, which is what I grew up with.
posted by usonian at 8:41 AM on September 5, 2013


This may be influenced by it coming first in the multiple-endings playlist, but the Scarlet/Yvette ending does make the most sense, to my eyes.

But then, I may have watched the film enough times to check to see who is and isn't in certain scenes that make the timelines work...
posted by gadge emeritus at 5:48 PM on September 6, 2013


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