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Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Mystery  |  21 May 1982 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 15,538 users  
Reviews: 102 user | 28 critic

Film noir parody with a detective uncovering a sinister plot. Characters from real noirs appear as scenes from various films are intercut.

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Title: Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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The Exterminator (archive footage)
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Field Marshall VonKluck
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Leona Hastings-Forrest (archive footage)
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Kitty Collins (archive footage)
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Swede Anderson (archive footage)
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Phillip Marlowe (archive footage)
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(in "Suspicion") (archive footage)
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F.X. Huberman (archive footage)
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Monica Stillpond (archive footage)
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Doris Davermont (archive footage)
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Jimmi-Sue Altfeld (archive footage)
...
Altfeld (archive footage)
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Storyline

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 <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>, Ed. by Peter Victor <thevictor99@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Laugh... or I'll blow your lips off!


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 May 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dead Men Wear No Plaid  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$4,289,601 (USA) (21 May 1982)

Gross:

$16,959,911 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The studio number breakdown of the nineteen movies that this film used for footage to edit into this movie from was as follows: both Warner Brothers and Universal Pictures provided five films, four were used from MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), Paramount Pictures and RKO Radio Pictures both supplied two titles each and one came from Columbia Pictures. No titles were sourced from the United Artists or 20th Century Fox studios, the only two majors from the eight Golden Age of Hollywood movie studios not to have a film used for this picture. See more »

Goofs

Rolodex card file wasn't marketed until 1958, yet appears on a desk in scene set in Forties. See more »

Quotes

Rigby Reardon: If you want me to investigate your father's death, I get ten dollars a day - plus expenses.
Juliet Forrest: Will two hundred dollars be enough in advance, Mr Reardon?
Rigby Reardon: Two hundred, I'd shoot my grandmother.
Juliet Forrest: That won't be neccessary.
Rigby Reardon: Never can tell. In my last case, I had to throw my own brother out of an airplane.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Edited from The Bribe (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

Dead Men's Bolero
Music by Miklós Rózsa (as Miklos Rozsa)
Lyrics by Steve Goodman
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Mostly fun, but loses its way a bit
13 April 2005 | by (The Penumbra) – See all my reviews

DMDWP is a black and white film noir comedy that uses footage from real film noirs from the 40s and 50s and inter cuts them with the plot to make it appears that Steve Martin is really talking to/acting with the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, James Cagney etc. The effect is almost seamless but for a movie made in 1982 it's quite impressive.

Martin plays the wonderfully named Rigby Reardon, a typical, gritty private eye who narrates the story with sarcastic observation and gets involved in the usual femme fatal plot and a conspiracy surround the death of a cheese maker. Yes, it's nonsense, and towards the end it becomes a bit hard to follow and the silliness gets out of control. But it's all played straight and for most of the film you could believe you were actually watching a classic film noir.

Steve Martin should have done more of these movies. Rigby Reardon was a great character and could have lasted for a few more movies. The humor is frequently hilarious and he certainly retains a lot of the integrity he has lost in recent years since he went the way of Eddie Murphy and sold himself out to family audiences. Either way, I say you should give this movie a go if you're a fan of his older work.

The DVD is sadly in non-anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen with Dolby 2.0 surround. It still looks quite good for a black and white film and the sound has that limited sound space effect to it to make it fit in with the older footage. A Dolby 5.1 remix would have been totally unnecessary. Some boring extras (trailer, cast bios) are included.


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