With the help of a talking freeway billboard, a "wacky weatherman" tries to win the heart of an English newspaper reporter, who is struggling to make sense of the strange world of early-90s Los Angeles.
Richard E. Grant
Juliet Forrest is convinced that the reported death of her father in a mountain car crash was no accident. Her father was a prominent cheese scientist working on a secret recipe. To prove it was murder, she enlists the services of private eye Rigby Reardon. He finds a slip of paper containing a list of people who are "The Friends and Enemies of Carlotta." Searching for answers, Rigby encounters assorted low-lifes: dangerous men and women who were the hallmarks of the classic detective movies of the 40's and 50's. Filming in black and white allows scenes from old movies to be cut into this film. It is through this process that Rigby's assistant is none other than Philip Marlowe himself. Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>, Ed. by Peter Victor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One of two early-mid 1980s black-and-white movies which were collage pictures edited with adding new footage into old material. The other film was Woody Allen's Zelig (1983). See more »
At one point Reardon references the Kinsey Report; the first volume was published in 1948, but the movie is set in 1946. See more »
[Reardon has dressed up as a blonde woman and gone to a grocery store to find Neff, who allegedly hunts for blondes there every Thursday]
Neff's favorite hunting ground was Jerry's Market on Melrose. I spotted him right away and sidled down the aisle opposite him. I was wearing a special perfume called Fondle Me. Its aroma drew Neff to me like fat to a mother-in-law. He was a lady's man, all right. He made me feel beautiful, alive. He asked me up to his place, and I didn't play hard ...
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There is a spelling mistake with the Composer. In the credits at the beginning he is spelled: Miklos Rosza. In the credits after the end he is spelled correct: Miklos Rozsa. See more »
I first saw this in the theater with my dad, at the age of 13, when it was first released - he was a huge fan of classic movies and usually suffered through the stuff he took me to. Not this one - we were both in hysterics, and I'd have to say I owe my huge love of classic Hollywood (and global) cinema to this film. CITIZEN KANE it may not be but no matter - I dug the humor and the atmosphere at the time, and even then was aware of how much work this must have been.
I still watch this one on occasion, and it is the rare comedy that has held up very well with the passage of time - critics at the time seemed to write it off as a stunt, but I've noted that at least a little reevaluation of DEAD MEN DON'T WEAR PLAID has occurred over the years. The performances - as both a spoof and a love-letter to film noir - are top notch, with Steve Martin at his best here. The dialog gets deep into Raymond Chandler/Dashiell Hammett hard-boiled private-eye stylishness, serving up gumshoe-with-dame clichés just juiced up enough to give Steve something to run with, while still offering an a solid story. The finale is magnificent, Martin and Carl Reiner jousting their way through an avalanche of every two-bit dime-store whodunnit game-over cliché to ever grace the big screen, cheap alibis falling like drunken angels across the naked city as the big heat descends... Or - ahem -something like that...
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