Night and Day: Wednesday, August 18, 2004
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Watching the Detectives

Murder by Death was released in 1976, a time when Hollywood was putting out many Agatha Christie adaptations studded with A-list stars. This movie is similar, except that here every murder suspect is himself a detective, specifically a thinly veiled version of a famous character from detective fiction.

Writer Neil Simon and his frequent collaborator, director Robert Moore throw in everything but the kitchen sink. When the Charlie Chan knockoff (Peter Sellers) sees a downpour out of a window, he steps outside the front door nearby and finds no rain at all. (“Strange weather,” he notes.) For better or for worse, you never know what you’re going to see — rooms change dimensions, literary references co-exist with penis jokes, and a hundred plot twists and hidden motivations surface at the last minute. The high-level cast plays it all nimbly, except for an appallingly self-indulgent turn by author Truman Capote as the eccentric millionaire who invites the detectives to his mansion. David Niven and Maggie Smith do an impressively assured take on Nick and Nora Charles, and a young James Cromwell turns up as a lanky French chauffeur. Funniest of all is Peter Falk, delivering genuine Bogart-like toughness as a Sam Spade clone, but also firing off non sequiturs and insinuating that his character might be a closet gay. He embodies the spirit of this unpredictable and frequently entertaining film.

Murder by Death screens at 7pm Wed at Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St, FW. Tickets are $5.50-7.50. Call 817-738-9215.


Email this Article...

Back to Top


Copyright 2002 to 2017 FW Weekly.
3311 Hamilton Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76107
Phone: (817) 321-9700 - Fax: (817) 335-9575 - Email Contact
Archive System by PrimeSite Web Solutions