So you might be sitting there, thinking to yourself "A movie about a board game? How stupid is that?” You also might be sitting there thinking to yourself "Self...it's about time you do yourself a favor and plop that toaster into the bath tomorrow morning". Regardless, this next article might just save your life or at least change your stupid mind.
I first saw Clue as a child. I wasn't old enough to appreciate the humor and (as I've established in my other articles) pretty much everything scared me as a kid, so a movie about the violent murders of a cop, a motorist, a singing telegram, a greasy blackmailer and a hussy maid went straight into the "nightmare" section of my little brain. Nightly I would make the 20 ft. trek up to our second floor, certain that Tim Curry was there, waiting to stab me or strangle me or bludgeon me to death with a candlestick. Shortly thereafter I became inexplicably obsessed with the board game for about 3 months (I used to play it alone! Hmmm...what are you doing with that toaster later?) Later on, in high school, I used a tape recorder to record the audio track of the entire movie to use as background noise as I slept. Once, I spent an entire day on a road trip in my best friend's truck listening to the tape over and over again and to this very day he and I have the entire movie memorized. Yeah. That's right. Make fun. Just you wait until they come up with the Clue: Quote the whole movie and win $100M game show and we'll see who's laughing then. Turd.
The movie is pretty much hysterical from the beginning, when Wadsworth (played brilliantly by LaCurry) steps in poo, to the three different endings and Mrs. White's infamous "flames" speech. The movie starts out by introducing us to the little colored play pieces we're so fond of (or at least...fond of the smell they make when we gleefully dumped them one-by-one down the heating vent until the smell of the little plastic rope melting in the furnace alerted our parents and thusly the local psych ward). Each and every member of the ensemble was cast brilliantly.
Martin Mull plays the irritatingly clueless and semi-dumpy Col. Mustard.
Madeline Kahn is the bizarrely twitchy, pale and tragic Mrs. White.
Mrs. Peacock is played to exquisite perfection by old-lady-kook actress Eileen Brennan.
Michael McKean takes a dorktastic turn as the bumbling, klutzy and queer Mr. Green.
Prof. Plum, the smarmy and over-sexed psychiatrist is played by Christopher "Doc Brown" Lloyd.
Last but not least, Leslie Ann Warren takes a vampy turn as the seductress and brothel Madame, Ms. Scarlet.
The clothing alone wants mentioning, specifically the ladies.
Ms. Scarlet is positively stuffed into an off-the-shoulder, slinky satin number (oddly Ms. Scarlet is wearing green), which shows off just about every curve Leslie Ann Warren has. Sadly, this dress creates a bizarre effect on her stomach, making her look like she's got a belly, which she clearly does not (we'd be able to see at least a roll while she's sitting on the desk in the study...but there isn't one!)
Jacketed with the rest of the cast
Haltered and alone
Mrs. White wears all black as she's been twice widowed in the story. Her entrance into the movie is accentuated by an over-the-top music cue as she takes off her overcoat, revealing a smart looking dress and jacket combo. It's fun to watch the ladies shed their clothing bit by bit as the movie carries on. Eventually, Mrs. White ends up in a black halter dress with a lightly bejeweled bodice and 3/4 sleeves. Madeline Kahn can be seen several times during the movie stuffing her breasts back down into the halter as the top threatens to slide down and show us "the twins".
The knife she used to slaughter her rooster ass-hat
And then we have Mrs. Peacock. When we first see her on screen...one is taken aback. Eileen Brennan is already kind of...toad/bird looking. So to have her appear suddenly on screen as a gold-lamée ostrich is pure physical comedy itself.
Mrs. Peacock, seconds before her face gets slapped off
Her dress looks like Liberace's favorite orange, lamée and sequined shower curtain coupled with a fluffy orange skirt, an overly large peacock broach fastening some sort of scarf/old-lady-boob-accentuator to her midsection. The finishing touch to the ensemble is what looks to be a hat made from an exploded rooster, which flaps dangerously as Mrs. Peacock gestures wildly throughout the course of the film. No wonder Mrs. White appears in constant fear of her.
The film continues on tense and uneasy, everyone doing everything nervously (worst of which is Mr. Green, who keeps spilling crap all over the place).
While eating dinner, Mrs. White and Prof. Plum have some kind of slurping contest with their shark's fin soup (much to the horror of the other guests).
Yvette's breasts are used several times throughout the movie as sight gags, not the first of which is in the dinner scene when Christopher Lloyd practically stuffs his head down Yvette's cleavage.
After dinner, everyone heads to the Study, Wadsworth reveals all their dirty secrets (Mr. Boddy ends up being their blackmailer) and they are given murder weapons (which mostly look like crap from my parent's attic, save the knife and revolver which were kept in our china hutch). The lights are turned off, a shot goes off in the dark and we've got our first dead body of the night. Actually...it turns out that he's not really dead, but just pretending to be dead because, hey, he was shot at.
They rush off to find Yvette screaming in the billiard room, realize there's no way she's the killer (as she's been listening in on their conversation) and then realize that the cook is the only one left in the house. Upon entering the kitchen, they see nothing, but Mr. Green "the accident magnet" bumps up against the meet freezer and her plus-sized body falls out crushing him slowly into the floor.
They return to the study dropping the cook's body upon their discovery that Mr. Boddy's body is gone (with a glorious THUD). After that, the random guests start arriving at the house: the cop, the motorist (in a spectacular little scene at the front door), the singing telegram (I...am...your singing telegram! BANG!) and an evangelist played by that guy from "Head of the Class".
Poor, unwitting extras...
The group deciding whether or not the motorist can use the telephone in the um...er...um...lounge
My absolutely favorite part of the movie happens after all of the murders take place ("Six murders...this is getting serious") and Wadsworth, like some kind of manic Deus Ex Machina, runs us through the events of the evening while that cheery running music plays in the background. Everything goes at a breakneck pace as he reveals whodunit.
As it turns out...lots of people ‘dunit’. In the original theatrical release of the movie, three different endings were cut on to the film (starting from when Wadsworth shuts of the electricity).
The first ending has the shiny ostrich as the murderess. The second ending has Yvette committing the first two murders and Mrs. Scarlet killing everyone else. The last ending is probably my favorite, if only for the great quotes. Everyone killed someone else in the third ending. Plum killed Boddy, Peacock killed Mrs. Ho (the cook), Scarlet killed the cop, Mustard killed the motorist, White killed Yvette and Wadsworth killed the singing telegram. Green also ends up being an undercover cop and straight in this ending.
The movie has some AMAZING quotes in it, the most memorable is perhaps a line that was ad-libbed by Madeline Kahn regarding her murder of Yvette:
Yes . . .
Yes, I did it.
I killed Yvette.
I hated her . . . so . . . much . . .
I-It-It--flame--flames . . . on the side of my face . . .
breathing . . . breathle--heaving breaths . . .heaving--
Classic bits include the bitch-slapping of Mrs. Peacock,
Mrs. White's theory on husbands:
"Husbands should be like Kleenex: soft, strong and disposable"
"For She's a Jolly Good Fellow" sung to the murderous Mrs. Peacock, and Mrs. Peacock's denial of wrongdoing ("No! It's a vicious lie!") just to name a few.
Also fun to watch are the bizarre mannerisms of some of the guests, particularly Peacock and White. Mrs. Peacock often continues moving her mouth once finished speaking ("Now why have
we all been dragged up here to this horrible place?" mumblegrumblewumble). Mrs. White, during the "is there anyone else in the house" scene, smashes her champagne glass against the mantle and tosses the remainder into the fire. If you watch Madeline closely though she starts to twitch and scratch the air with her eyes closed.
Madeline unhinged, just moments before her twitchfest
So, if you haven't seen this little gem, go out and rent it. You'll be hooked and quoting it in no time. Or else.
So...apparently the Swedish version is called "The Murder is Free". I like to imagine it was dubbed entirely by the Swedish Chef.