Friday, October 5, 2012

Clue (1985)

In 1954, an ordinary butler named Wadsworth (Tim Curry) invites six strangers to a spooky, old gothic style mansion. Wadsworth receives assistance from the maid, Yvette (Colleen Camp), and The Cook (Kellye Nakahara), and together, they provide the proper setting for their guests. The strangers must use aliases to protect their identities. Eventually, Wadsworth will reveal their dirty secrets, and the guest list features a group of sneaky characters:

-Colonel Mustard (Martin Mull)

-Mrs. White (Madeline Kahn)

-Mrs. Peacock (Eileen Brennan)

-Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd)

-Miss Scarlet (Lesley Ann Warren)

-Mr. Green (Micahel McKean)

The six strangers are tied to the government in many different ways, and all of them have one thing in common: they are being blackmailed by Mr. Boddy (Lee Ving). Wadsowrth’s original plan was simple enough: invite the strangers to the mansion, confront Mr. Boddy for his crimes, and turn him over to the police. But Mr. Boddy disrupts Wadsowrth’s plans with a tempting
offer. Promising to humiliate his victims in court, Mr. Boddy gives the six strangers two options:

Option A- Turning Mr. Boddy over to the police will save the strangers a lot of money, and they can put a stop to the blackmailing. But if Mr. Boddy testifies in court, the six strangers will have to endure embarrassing scandals.

Option B-
Mr. Boddy provides the strangers with six weapons: a revolver, a lead pipe, a rope with a noose, a dagger, a wrench, and a candlestick. The strangers can destroy the evidence, use the weapons to kill Wadsowrth, and to protect the identity of the murderer, Mr. Boddy will turn off the lights, when he signals the kill.

Fearing the fallout of an embarrassing scandal, one stranger chooses option b. The gun goes off in the dark, but when the lights come back on, Mr. Boddy is laying motionless on the floor. Mr. Boddy only suffered a grazed bullet wound on his ear, so the strangers try to solve the mystery of his death. After discovering the dead body of The Cook, the strangers return to the study, but Mr. Boddy has disappeared.

The strangers, Yvette, and Wadsworth will have to solve the murder mystery before the police arrive, but unexpected visits from a motorist, a cop, and a singing telegram girl complicate the sticky situation.

Clue features an outstanding cast, and each character has their own unique sense of humor. Colonel Mustard is an ass. Miss Scarlet is a sultry and arrogant madam. Mrs. Peacock is a stuck-up snob. Professor Plum fits the profile of shady shrink, and he’s a pervert. Mrs. White is a dark, disturbed woman, who hates men. And Mr. Green is a nervous and hyper, accident-prone wimp. For the most part, Yvette is just eye candy, but her character is so hilariously over the top, and the exaggerated French accent provides the icing on the cake. Wadsworth is proper. He’s a sympathetic character, but Wadsowrth is hiding some serious secrets. And Mr. Boddy provides the necessary presence of a slimy antagonist.

Clue is loaded with colorful characters, and the acting is just superb. It’s hard to pick a true star from this cast, but I’m going with Madeline Khan. Her performance as the psychotic and quiet widow is fantastic. Khan provides a strong sense of subtlety, but Mrs. White can snap at any moment, and Khan’s performance is so fun to watch. I love Khan in this film, but Tim Curry deserves an honorable mention, and Lee Ving could’ve easily taken the spot for the best performance here, but his character doesn‘t last long.

Technically, every character in the mansion is a real scumbag, but you aren’t suppose to take them seriously. The lighthearted approach is wonderful, and the entire cast is more than capable of providing some great laughs.

The acting is top notch, and Johnathan Lynn’s directing really pulls everything together. Lynn provides the gloomy atmosphere of a haunted house style horror film, but at the same time, Lynn adds a comical touch. Lynn’s goofy style of storytelling and the atmosphere of the creepy old mansion are a perfect match for a superb black comedy.

This story will throw a good amount of twists and turns at you, but confusion is never a problem, because Wadsworth’s lengthy and hectic explanation of “Who killed who?” will tie up any loose ends. For those of you who are unaware, Clue features three separate endings:

1. The Miss Scarlet ending

2. The Mrs. Peacock ending

3. The REAL Mr. Boddy ending

Each ending provides a nice surprise, but the Miss Scarlet and Mrs. Peacock endings are a little bit too far-fetched for my taste. If I had to pick a favorite, I would easily go with the real Mr. Boddy ending.


 In this ending, Wadsowrth reveals himself as the real Mr. Boddy, and five of the six guests are responsible for the murders. Expect for Mr. Green, who is actually an undercover FBI agent, and Green’s homosexuality was apart of his cover. Mr. Green kills Mr. Boddy with one shot, and Tim Curry’s facial expressions during Mr. Boddy’s death are just priceless. Also, Green actually takes a little jab at himself with the “I’m going to go home and sleep with my wife” zinger.

The real Mr. Boddy ending makes a lot more sense, because all of the killers had believable motives. Plus, Wadsworth revealing himself as the real Mr. Boddy provided a great shock, because nobody would’ve suspected the ordinary butler. The real Mr. Boddy ending really is the best one, but you have to see it to believe it!

**End spoilers**

Clue is a phenomenal black comedy, and this film provides a hilarious spoof of the mystery film genre. Clue is loaded with some fantastic comedic performances, and I never get tired of watching this one. It’s ironic, because I love the movie, but I HATE the board game. I can always watch Clue over and over again, and I enjoy it each time, but the board game always bored me to death. I tried over and over again, but I could never get into it.

Of course, Universal Studios is planning a remake of this film. It’s supposed to hit theaters in 2013 (no specific date just yet), and I hope they don’t botch this one. Clue is one of my all-time favorites. Please, Hollywood, I’m begging you, don’t fuck it up!

Final Rating: 9/10

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