Murder by Death (1976)


Comedy, Mystery


Robert Moore




Peter Sellers, David Niven, Maggie Smith, James Coco, Alex Guinness, Peter Falk, Elsa Lanchester, Truman Capote, Nancy Walker, Richard Narita, James Cromwell, Eileen Brennan, Estelle Winwood


Millionaire Lionel Twain (Truman Capote) has invited the five greatest detectives, Sidney Wang (Peter Sellers) from China, Dick Charleston (David Niven) from New York, Jessica Marbles (Elsa Lanchester) from England, Milo Perrier (James Coco) from Belgium and Sam Diamond (Peter Falk) from San Francisco, to a dinner and murder, and promises a million dollars to the one who will solve the murder.


I've been reading a lot of detective books lately (mostly Poirot and Sherlock Holmes) so I figured it'd be nice to see the film many claims to be the best comedy mystery film ever. And those many people are right because Murder by Death is just as great as I've heard/read. It's a pretty silly screwball comedy, but it's fun as hell.

Although it's pretty ridiculous, the story is the typical detective story, only it's a parody and that's what makes it so interesting and engaging. Because it's an exaggeration, there are tons of plot twists, some good, some just silly but most of them pretty unpredictable that are very funny and entertaining; and they all make fun of the genre in a very delightful way.

The story is then filled with some fabulous characters that are nothing more than stereotyped detectives - actually, to be honest, they are parodies of well-known detectives. This, however, doesn't prevent them from being incredibly interesting and memorable characters, and it will be very easy to sympathize with (at least) one of them. The most memorable are the eccentric millionaire Lionel Twain played by Truman Capote, and the hyperactive blind butler played by Alec Guinness, easily the highlight of the film.

The script also features marvellous dialogue and exaggerated and yet great humour delivered beautifully by the cast, no exception made. Not to mention all the hilarious scenes in this film that made me laugh out loud. My favourites? The interactions between the blind butler and the deaf and dumb cook. Simply spectacular.

1 comment :

  1. I love this film from Nick and Nora Charles parody to all these greats. You are right about that scene-priceless