© 1985 Paramount Pictures

Clue (1985)

Clue is a guilty pleasure of mine. I am almost as embarrassed by confessing how much I love this film as I the characters in it are by revealing the reasons for which they are being blackmailed. It is based on the lowest form of literature imaginable, a board game. I remember seeing a newspaper ad for the film when it was first released that explained that it was being showed with A, B and C endings at different theaters, and even though I was quite young at the time, I remember thinking that it was a pretty cheap trick for making more money. There a good names in the cast, but the acting is not consistently stellar. The story is a bit silly and the jokes are corny.

Still, I love this film. I did not see it for the first time until about 3 year ago, and was instantly hooked. Since then I have to watch it every few months or so. I happened to meet another fan who told me she had a friend in college who would listen to the soundtrack in her car. “No way!” I said, excited to find someone who shared my inexplicable love of this film. “The soundtrack has been out of print for years and is really hard to find.” “No,” she explained. “It wasn’t the score of the film. She just made an audio recording of the full movie and would drive around listening to it.” I understood instantly. I myself sometimes listen to the film to cheer myself up while doing housework or some other drudgery.

Tim Curry does a lot to make this film, and he is perfectly cast as the fastidious butler of a New England mansion in the ‘50s, who greets six confused guests who have been summoned together by mysterious letters. The basis of the board game is fleshed out with a tale involving blackmail and the communist witch hunts of the McCarthy era. But this hardly matters as the point of the movie is enjoying the corny dialogue and the somewhat overdone performances by Curry, a very funny Eileen Brennan, a sassy Leslie Ann Warren and an austere Madeline Kahn. Somehow an ‘80s film set in the ‘50s makes these caricatured roles acceptable. The weak links are some of the male characters, especially those played by Christopher Lloyd and Martin Mull, but the movie moves so quickly it hardly matters.

Since I am writing about Clue today, I can’t make it “movie of the day” again, but I will definitely return to it when I need a little light entertainment.

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