Monday, January 21, 2008

Remembering Clue

I've been a vocal proponent that in the right hands, video games could be made into good movies, though I didn't really have very much evidence to support this claim. Yet, whenever this line of discussion arises, I've always failed to remember that back in 1985, Paramount made the board game Clue into a movie, and ended up doing a more than serviceable job at that.

I mean, look at the casting of the six main characters: Christopher Lloyd as Professor Plum, Madeline Kahn as Mrs. White, Eileen Brennan as Mrs. Peacock, Martin Mull as Colonel Mustard, Lesley Anne Warren as Miss Scarlett and Michael McKean as Mr. Green. Having these six people just show up for a movie in 1985 was a good sign. And add to that the wondrously comic performance of Tim Curry as Wadsworth the Butler, as well as a story written in part by John Landis, and you have a great screwball comedy.

The movie recounts the story of the six game characters above on a particularly dark and stormy night at a country manner house, where they've been gathered under those oh so colorful pseudonyms by the promise that they would finally be able to confront their mutual blackmailer, their host, Mr. Boddy(Lee Ving). But when Mr. Boddy ends up dead after the lights go out, they are all suspects, and as the body count rises, the mystery of whodunit deepens.

Of course, with this cast, you know that even in the midst of all these murders, there are still a lot of jokes, innuendo and slapstick. And because the main cast is very good at what they do, the movie has really stood the test of time. Granted, it is set in the late 1950's, so that may also have something to do with it as well, but to me, it feels very much like it is a comedy from an era other than the 1980's.

And at the time the movie was released, the filmmakers also added a gimmick to the whole experience by filming three endings to the movie, and then distributing the film with those different endings during the winter of 1985, so if you liked the movie, you could see it again, and see the clues come together in another way. When the movie was released on video, they put all three endings together at the end of the movie, in a creative way, and as a package I think it came together very well. Apparently the DVD versions have a feature where you can start the movie and it will randomly choose one of the endings, so you can have a little bit of the theatrical experience.

All in all, if you haven't seen Clue, you should pick it up the next time you see it. And, I'll certainly have to remember it the next time the subject of game based films pops up.


Mayren said...

Ok I think this Movie is classic and I own it on DVD. When the media changes I will own it again on the new medium. Tim Curry is a phenom and the other actors/actresses are classically awesome.

I own the board game/origninal pieces. The new classic version so I don't mess up the old one...
AND I used to be addicted to Clue online. Once upon a time you could play others in an interactive Clue game online. We had a Leagues at even, and we'd compete with each other to get the top spots.
Sadly the free game was taken from and I don't think another free online version exists. Clue-do does not count because it's not in the true spirit of Clue.

Have I mentioned I love Clue?

Bart said...

Clue is the shit. I love everything. It's a lot like The Importance of Being Earnest, but with death. In the sense that theres all this slapsticky stuff going on at the same time as some intricate wordplay.

It probably works better than video games because there was a lot less to work with. Video games have more of a plot to begin with.

MC said...

Mayren: I used to have a nice clue set myself, but unfortunately, it didn't make a trip with me on a particular move, and well, I don't have one anymore. :(

Bart: Well that or the fact that they actually, you know, wrote a script.

Semaj said...

I remember watching this movie with my family back in the day. We would get a good laugh out of it. I loved the various endings the movie had.

BTW, have you seen the recent picture of the extremely hot maid in the movie? Time hasn't been kind to her.

MC said...

A couple of interesting facts: Colleen Camp has played more cops than any other actress... and her career in the 1970's looks like a virtual tour of s/exploitation movies... including the classic She Devils in Chains.

Megan said...

Ah, Clue. The shortcut from the Conservatory to the Lounge was always the best for ferretting out the Who and the What With. Only problem was, some goon like your little brother was hitting all the other rooms like the Library and the Billard Room while you were busy doing that, and then he'd sneak over to the Hall before you could get there, and use the Who and the What With that YOU had figured out, and win...

Anonymous said...

OMG, I *love* this movie. I can't believe you blogged about it. I thought I was the only person in the world who bought this DVD, but judging by the comments, I'm totally not. This movie is a *classic* comedy. I've seen it a ton of times over the years and it never fails to make me laugh. Thanks for bringing it up!