Clue: The Movie

Following in the vein of the absurd from last week, I’d like to share my favorite movie with you. On the surface, it looks like any other murder mystery, but if you actually sit down to watch it, you discover that it’s much more of a farce, and perhaps a bit of a character study.


I’m talking about Clue. Based on the board game by the same name (or Cluedo, for my lovely readers who live outside the United States), it’s set in a mansion in rural northeastern US, in the 1950’s. The first person the audience sees is the butler, Wadsworth, played by Tim Curry. He greets the cook and the maid, and then the dinner guests begin to arrive, eventually followed by Mr Boddy only after they’ve migrated from the library to the dining room. Mr Boddy appears to be the host, and if he does in fact know what’s going on, he’s not sharing that information. It is of course after he presents the six weapons, that things start to get complicated.

Conceptually, this movie has a surprisingly similar feel to the game experience (minus the travel time from room to room). All of the rooms on the ground floor are present with their respective secret passages, and they also added a basement, and upper floors by way of bedrooms and attic, and much of the time is spent trying to figure out who killed Mr Boddy. They took some liberties with the characters in order to round out the number of suspects and victims, but it probably wouldn’t have worked otherwise. For instance, in the game, Mrs White was the maid, but in the movie they were two separate people.

When Clue had its run in theaters, it had three different endings, each assigning blame to a different suspect. Unfortunately that tactic wasn’t very well received, and it ended up getting bad reviews as a result. We’re lucky now, though, because the version released for home viewing includes all three, the DVD actually giving the audience the choice of watching all three, or having the program choose one at random (I’ve never watched it with only one ending). Not only do I emphatically recommend seeing this film, if for no other reason than its comedic value and outstanding cast, I suggest you have as many showings as you have patience for. It’s one of those movies that’s so tightly wound on itself, that it’s easy to miss little things like the sound effect when Mrs White snaps Colonel Mustard’s suspenders. You may even find yourself wanting to try to find the evidence to support each ending!

Rating: 5th Gear

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