Director: Jonathan Lynn
Writers: John Landis (story), Jonathan Lynn (story)
Stars: Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn
Was it Mrs. White in the dining room with the candlestick? Or perhaps it was Professor Plum in the kitchen with the lead pipe? Do we really care though when we can sit back and watch this classic madcap comedy? Absolutely not!
Jonathan Lynn has written and directed some of my favourite comedies over the years, but I still can’t help wonder what this film may have been like if writer John Landis (American Werewolf in London, Trading Places) had directed it instead. Surely a lot darker with some more humour perhaps? As it is he didn’t, but it is still brilliantly directed and with a script from Landis the dialogue is top notch in its sharpness.
Ok, so well all know the board game right? Good! Here, our unwitting guests have all been invited to a mystery house for a dinner party. One by one they turn up to be greeted by the deliciously manic butler Wadsworth (Tim Curry). This role was perhaps made for Curry, but then perhaps maybe that can be said of most of his roles over the years. He really is a class act. And he shines here and is certainly the star and highlight of the film.
Madeline Kahn (Mrs. White), Eileen Brennan (Mrs. Peacock), Christopher Lloyd (Professor Plum), Lesley Ann Warren (Miss Scarlet) and the rest all play their parts wonderfully as per their descriptions from the game. My only personal gripe is with Michael McKean. He is a great actor indeed, he just never really won me over here. As great is Curry is though, I do think Yvette (Played perfectly by Colleen Camp) steals the show. We even get a small cameo from the marvelous Howard Hesseman.
Anyway, once dinner has finished, Wadsworth reveals the real reason and connection they all share and why they have been invited. If you have not seen this classic gem, then I won’t reveal anymore. The script is sharp, the lines are delivered impeccably from the cast and the directing is tight. The set location is simply perfect with a wonderfully accompanied score. The highlight of the whole film is undoubtedly when Wadsworth reveals how it was done. Or how it could have been done. Or who did it…or didn’t do it…or well, just go and watch it. Solid, classic comedy. I hear the troubled remake has finally gained momentum again from Hasbro. This film (like the majority) does not need remaking and it won’t need remaking in another thirty years either. it is brilliantly perfect as it is.
The Sage’s Rating: