Miss Scarlet in the billiard room with the rope? Or did the butler do it? Prepare for murder, madness, mystery and mayhem as the killer comedy Clue made its Blu-ray debut on August 7, 2012 from Paramount Home Media Distribution. Based on the world-famous Parker Brothers board game, Clue boasts an all-star cast including Tim Curry, Christopher Lloyd, Madeline Kahn, Eileen Brennan, Martin Mull, Michael McKean and Lesley Ann Warren. When six guests arrive at a strange house they soon discover that they have more in common than they suspected, including the fact that they are all being blackmailed by the mysterious Mr. Boddy. But when their host turns up dead and the accusations fly, it’s anyone’s guess who done it. With seven suspects, six weapons, five bodies and three endings, Clue is an uproarious mystery that will keep you guessing—and laughing—until the very end.
Note: Based on the age and popularity of the movie, my review is full of spoilers. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it, and then come back and read the review.
A group of supposed strangers have all received letters inviting them to a dinner party. They are given aliases to protect themselves and are promised that they will eventually be grateful for the anonymity. The guests are Col. Mustard (Martin Mull), Miss White (Madeline Kahn), Miss Scarlet (Leslie Ann Warren), Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd), Mrs. Peacock (Eileen Brennan),and Mr. Green (Michael McKean). Soon it’s dinner time. As Mrs. Peacock can’t stop talking, fearful of an embarrassed silence the guests learn they all have a connection to Washington, D.C. which they will later learn is just the tip of the iceberg. Mr. Boddy arrives and they adjourn to the study for coffee and brandy. Wadsworth then explains why they are there. Each of them has been blackmailed by Mr. Boddy, who is threatening to expose their secrets.
At this point, another of my favorite dialogue exchanges occurs as follows:
Col. Mustard: Are you trying to make me look stupid in front of the other guests?
Wadsworth: You don’t need any help from me.
Col. Mustard: That’s right!
Another favorite line occurs while they are sharing their their histories and Miss White has a line about her late husband, saying “it [was] a matter of life after death – now that he’s dead I have a life.
In any case, by now Wadsworth has called the police and wants each person to reveal the blackmail and put Mr. Boddy behind bars. Mr. Boddy has another plan. He fetches a bag from the hall and hands each person a black box of varying sizes, all with purple bows. A candlestick for Miss Scarlet, a rope for Miss White, a Lead pipe for Mr. Green, a wrench for Col. Mustard, a gun for Prof. Plum, and a dagger for Miss Peacock. Mr. Body suggests that someone should kill Wadsworth and no one will ever know. He reminds the guests Wadsworth has the key to the front door, which he said would only be opened over his dead body, and suggests they take him up on that offer. Mr. Body then turns out the lights. When the lights come back on, Mr. Boddy is lying on the floor. Prof. Plum declares him dead. Everyone argues and no one admits to the killing.
A scream from Yvette the buxom maid brings the group into the billiard room. She is frightened and they bring her back to the study to figure things out. At that time Wadsworth revealed he wrote the invitation letters. Wadsworth was in fact Mr. Boddy’s butler. He and his wife were being blackmailed and she eventually took her life. The group understands that it is imperative that they find out who killed Mr. Boddy before the police arrive. At that point they remember that the cook is also in the house so the group rushes to the kitchen to find her dead with the dagger in her back. Miss White gets in another great line as she explains that “husbands should be like Kleenex, soft, strong and disposable.” When the group returns to the study Mr. Boddy is gone. Mrs. Peacock asks Yvette if there is a ladies room and Yvette answers oui oui madame, and Mrs. Peacock replies no I just want to powder my nose. Mrs. Peacock then discovers Mr. Boddy – dead for the second time.
So just like the game, it’s a matter of who killed him, where, and with what. A stranded motorist arrives looking to use their phone. While he makes his call they decide to split up and search the house. They cut up match sticks to draw lots for partners and begin the search when Col. Mustard literally stumbles into a secret passageway. He agrees to search it saying “What the hell, I’ll go first. I’ve had a good life.” Through the passage they discover the motorist is dead which sets up another funny situation with the group on the outside screaming “let us in, let us in,” while the people inside are screaming “let us out, let us out!” Yvette grabs the gun and shoots the door. The doorbell rings again and this time it’s a cop passing by who spotted the motorists abandoned car.
The cop is killed and soon after a singing telegram girl is also dead before she finishes singing her first line. When Yvette is discovered strangled and laying on the pool table, the guests barely react as the body count has already gone sky high. Wadsworth says he knows who did it and will explain how it was done. He takes the group through the events of the evening, step by step physically acting out what occurred throughout the night in each room of the house. It turns out everyone was involved either as accomplices or as a victim and the killer is among them. Who the killer is depends on which ending you choose since there are three different endings to choose from. I prefer the third ending personally.
A true Clue fan knows what I mean when I ask what’s 1 + 2 + 2 + 1? It’s not an equation to answer it’s Wadsworth’s explanation of the shots fired throughout the evening in Clue. As far as I’m concerned this movie is the best thing that happened in 1985. Clue is by far the best board game turned movie in history. It’s one of the most quotable films, as you can see from all of the lines in my review. Clue is funny, well written and perfectly cast. Every actor in this ensemble cast has done their best comedic work and I can’t say enough good things about this film, and for once I have nothing to complain about.
Clue is not just a game, it’s a movie and a pretty good looking one for a film from 1985. Clue is presented on Blu-ray in 1080p high definition. Imperfections are noticeable on lighter shots, and particularly Miss Scarlet’s pasty white skin, or the white kitchen walls. However, detail is sharp enough that you can see the runs in Miss Scarlet’s stockings at one point in the film – something I never noticed on DVD. Watching the trailer gives you a true appreciation for what the film originally looked like and I’m pleasantly surprised at how much better this Blu-ray looks.
Clue’s DTS-HD Master Audio Mono mix is acceptable. The viewer/listener can easily hear and distinguish all dialogue, including whispers. This isn’t the type of film you would want to test your surround sound with but I found nothing specific worth complaining about. I’m happy to report that there are no age-related issues like hissing to be found. While the score could have sounded better, this is still a decent mix for a catalog title.
The three possible endings to Clue can be viewed from the extras menu individually or as a trilogy. It’s disappointing to see that there are no other features. With movies this old and beloved, I would have liked to have seen what any of the surviving cast members thought about the film. I’m sure at the time they had no idea what a classic they were a part of.
- Ending A
- Ending B
- Ending C
- Trilogy Ending
- Theatrical Trailer
It’s rare I bother to look and see who wrote a film. Clue is an exception, and Jonathan Lynn’s (My Cousin Vinny) screenplay and a story by John Landis (yes that John Landis), deserves recognition. Clue is silly in all the right ways and full of memorable lines. The casting was also superb – I can’t imagine anyone else in those roles. Tim Curry is the star of this movie and this is by far my favorite thing he’s ever done. Clue itself is at the top of my list of favorite comedies along with National Lampoon’s Vacation, so I highly recommend this movie!
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