Tuesday, April 03, 2012

"Clue": in the 80s, Paramount made a comic movie out of the famous board game

I recall family board games from the 1950s, and particularly “Clue” (called “Cluedo” outside the US) from Parker Brothers.

In 1985, Polygram Pictures and Paramount presented the comic film based on the game, “Clue”, directed and written by Jonathan Lynn, written with John Landis.

The movie actually resembles some other independent films (like “Exam”) where people are brought together under mysterious circumstances.   In “Clue”, the six characters (corresponding to the six tokens in the game) are summoned to a Gothic New England house, for dinner, and then a confrontation. All were being blackmailed for behavior commonly ostracized during the McCarthyism years of the 1950s.  Mr. Green even says “I am a homosexual” and fears losing his job with the State Department.  The dress of the characters does not match the color of the tokens.  (“Mrs. White” wears black, and “Miss Scarlet” wears green.) 

The film turns into mayhem, where all of the mansion staff and other visitors (like a singing telegram) are murdered with the various weapon instruments that are packaged as presents.

The DVD presents all three endings (actually there were four); in theaters, one ending was chosen at random.  
John Landis, remember, had written “An American Werewolf in London” (1982) – the two American tourists really love each other – with smooth men turning into wolves – and remember the decapitations at the end.  I remember the black comedy well from seeing it in Dallas.

This is a good place to mention another “rotation” black comedy, by Peter Greenaway, “The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover”, from Miramax (1989), with its climatic scene involving cannibalism.

Wikipedia attribution link for Cluedo arms.  

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