Murder By Death

“Murder By Death” stars Eileen Brennan, Truman Capote, James Coco, Peter Falk, David Niven, Alec Guinness, Elsa Lanchester, Peter Sellers, and Maggie Smith. It’s directed by Robert Moore and the screenplay was written by Neil Simon.

A millionaire named Lionel Twain (Truman Capote) invites five of the worlds greatest detectives to solve a murder that has yet to happen. During the nine o’clock dinner, Lionel Twain tells his guests that the murder is to occur at exactly twelve o’clock by someone sitting at the dinner table. The detective that solves the murder shall receive the large sum of one million dollars. Before long, a silent scream leads them to the body of the blind butler. Will the world greatest detectives be able to solve a crime that hasn’t occurred yet?

This parody of the earlier murder mystery detective stories of the 30’s and 40’s is sometimes funny, but not hilarious. The story has many twists and turns that will keep you guessing, even when you think you have solved the mystery. A goofy mystery that has many jokes, some of which hit the mark, while others fall flat. The acting was on par for satires like this one. The movie does seem to drag on, making it feel like a two hour movie. It does have a few laugh out loud moments, but for this film to work, it has to be funny constantly.

“Murder By Death” doesn’t have enough laughs to keep the viewers throughly entertained. I did enjoy Truman Capote’s role, which was the most engaging character in the movie. Director Robert Moore failed to show compassion for the actors and their character, creating a film that was later made into a better parody of mystery stories titled “Clue”. Unlike “Clue”, this film has a script that is mildly funny as to being consistently funny.

Would I recommend “Murder By Death”? I don’t think so. This is a dated version of the widely popular game turned to movie “Clue”. I found out the hard way that it isn’t worth sitting through the whole movie to get to the numerous twist and turns at the end. It’s not a bad film, just a tired one. A slightly funny, yet dragging movie that is far from the spectacular spoof it tries so hard to be. Good effort, but it doesn’t succeed in delivering top-notch humor.

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