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‘Clue: Collector’s Edition’ 4K UHD (Blu-ray review)

Shout! Factory

Long before Hollywood regularly mined the toy aisle for movie ideas, Jon Landis (The Blues Brothers) and Jonathan Lynn (My Cousin Vinny) conceived the idea to bring the board game Clue to the big screen.

Set in the 1950s in the midst of the McCarthy’s Red Scare, six strangers are invited to a dinner with a mysterious host and murder on the menu.

The guests each have a secret that the dinner’s host, Mr. Boddy has been using for blackmail. Wadsworth the butler hopes to expose Mr. Boddy and end the blackmail of the guests and himself. Wadsworth reveals he has arranged for the police to arrive within the hour.  Mr. Boddy gives the guests a choice, face exposure or kill Wadsworth.

Each guest is gifted a deadly weapon and the opportunity to kill the butler when the lights go out. Mr. Boddy’s plan backfires when Mr. Boddy becomes the victim.

But who killed Mr. Boddy, with what weapon, in the study?

As our group searches to find out who murdered Mr. Boddy, the dead bodies start to pile up.

Jonathan Lynn directs a first rate comedy line-up that executes the physical comedy of the 1950s perfectly.  Tim Curry (Rocky Horror Picture Show) as Wadsworth the butler pivots between stiff butler to manic detective with all the glee of a child hyped up on a sugar high.  Madeline Kahn’s (Young Frankenstein) “pale and tragic” Mrs. White is sublime in her reserved performance which acts as a fantastic foil for Leslie Ann Warren’s (Victor/Victoria) purposefully over the top sexualized Miss Scarlet.  Eileen Brennen’s (Private Benjamin) Mrs. Peacock is the socialite you love to hate. Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future) creeps around as the cringe worthy Professor Plum, while Martin Mull’s (Jingle All the Way) Colonel Mustard blusters his way through even though he has no idea what is going on.  Only Michael McKean’s (This is Spinal Tap) Mr. Green is the voice of reason, and that reason is tested over and over by his fellow guests.

Throw them all together and you have old timey comedy gold.  The timing and play the cast have with each other is tons of fun to watch.  It sometimes has the feel of a really good stage comedy and I could see it being produced on Broadway.

The plot twists and turns, adding new characters and creating new victims.  The film is more than a nod to the 1976 mystery comedy Murder by Death starring Alec Guinness, which also spoofed murder mystery films of the 1940s and 1950s.

Clue is painstakingly crafted so that the murder is solved, the solution holds true.  When it was released in the theaters in 1985, there were three different endings that it was possible to see.  You would have to go back to see another ending.  Now, with the home movie market and streaming, the film has been packaged with all the alternate endings.  Because I could, of course I went back and paused the movie to see if everyone they said was in the room was where they were supposed to be.

Extras include featurettes and trailer.

Clue has become a pop culture classic.  At any given time you can pop on social media and someone is using Mrs. White’s “Flames” speech as a meme.  A piece that was all Madeline Kahn.  She ad libbed the dialog.

If you are looking for something fun to watch during the dark nights of winter, Clue is just the movie.

 

 

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