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Murder by Death (1976)

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Five famous literary detective characters and their sidekicks are invited to a bizarre mansion to solve an even stranger mystery.

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

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Storyline

Despite not knowing him, the world's most famous detectives can't pass up the offer of a "dinner and murder" invitation from wealthy Lionel Twain. Each has no idea until their arrival at Two Two Twain who else will be in attendance. Those detectives are: amateur sleuths and New York socialites Dick and Dora Charleston, accompanied by their pet terrier, Myron; Belgian detective Monsieur Milo Perrier, accompanied by his chauffeur, Marcel; Shanghainese Inspector Sidney Wang, accompanied by his Japanese adopted son, Willie Wang; frumpish Brit Miss Jessica Marbles, accompanied by her invalid nurse, Miss Withers; and San Francisco gumshoe Sam Diamond, accompanied by his femme fatale sidekick, Tess Skeffington. The dinner part of the invitation runs into problems due to the non-communication between Twain's blind butler, Jamesir Bensonmum, and Twain's new deaf-mute and non-Anglophone cook, Yetta. On the murder side, the guests initially believe Twain will try to kill each of them. However, ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

By the time the world's greatest detectives figure out whodunnit... you could die laughing! See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

23 June 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Neil Simon's Murder by Death  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Neil Simon remained on the set to take care of re-writes, as he did with this picture's sequel, The Cheap Detective (1978). Simon took such a shine to Alec Guinness during the picture's production that he told him if he did not like anything in the film, he'd immediately rewrite it for him, but Guinness assured him it was great fun for him. See more »

Goofs

When the Gargoyle falls on Inspector Wang and son, the position of the debris changes between shots. The first time the large "chunk" is on the steps. On the next shot it is down the steps next between Wang and son. See more »

Quotes

Jamesir Bensonmum: Tell me, as the only survivor, how did you deduce it was me?
Sidney Wang: Went back to theory seldom used today: Butler did it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the opening credits begin, a pair of black-gloved hands come into frame to unlock and open a footlocker containing the cardboard cutouts of the characters. These characters are displayed with their respective name credit. As the closing credits end, the same pair of black-gloved hands come into frame to close and lock the footlocker. See more »

Connections

Spoofs To Have and Have Not (1944) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Sellers Shines In This Wild Spoof
10 January 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

One of the most fun movies I've ever watched but I liked it better 20 years ago, frankly, than today. In a recent viewing, it seemed a bit sleazier than I had remembered. Nonetheless, it still has tons of laughs.

This film has one of my all-time favorite characters: Sidney Wang, played by Peter Sellers. The late English actor did a fabulous job of imitating Charlie Chan. He is the highlight among a very talented cast that includes Peter Falk, David Niven, James Coco, Elsa Lanchester, Alec Guinesses, Maggie Smith, Nancy Walker and Truman Capote.

Today, the character oddest for me to view is a young Cromwell who speaks with a French accent! I've never seen him in any role remotely resembling this. The other actors play roles typical of them, such as Niven and Smith's dapper "Thin Man" couple and Falk's, Columbo/Mike Hammer-style American detective.

This a spoof of all the great detectives and the story has a purposely exaggerated amount of twists, particularly at the end....but, despite some of the typical crude 1970s type sexual innuendos, it provides entertainment start-to-finish with absolutely no lulls. It's a classic!


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