Murder by Death, 1976 – ★★★½

While on my binge of old-school whodunits, this is a classic I’d seen and somewhat forgotten about. Enjoyed re-watching it a lot though. The mechanics of this clearly laid the foundation for Clue and subsequently the recent success Knives Out.

I’m keen to see what re-invention, if any, goes into the upcoming sequel.

Peter Falk (Columbo) is the standout performance hands down in a star cast that rivals Sholay and Naseeb.

Peter Sellers (Closeau) as a Chinaman with an adopted Japanese man-child would so not fly in the woke world we live in today. His fortune cookie wisdom splurts were quite good though. “Conversation, like TV on Honeymoon, unnecessary.” — I’m totally using that. David Niven (Phantom, almost 007 before Connery got it) oozes class like he’s made of it. Paired with a young Maggie Smith. Truman Capote as the host of the detectives, who gives them all a lesson or two in writing.

Seriously, could not get over the cast.

The whodunnit is well sort of silly, but that’s sort of the intent. A subversion of the Agatha Christie genre tropes, which it does magnificently. Apparently, the film wasn’t received too well by audiences back then, which I can understand if seen with a more conventional whodunit expectation, but I felt it was a treat.


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