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Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982)

PG | | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | 21 May 1982 (USA)
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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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The Exterminator (archive footage)
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Leona Hastings-Forrest (archive footage)
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Sam Hastings (in 'Lost Weekend') (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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'Handsome' (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)
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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  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$4,289,601 (USA) (23 May 1982)

Gross:

$18,197,170 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Universal Pictures logo seen at the start of this film, naturally, was not the current color one that was in use at the time of the early 1980s, but one of the old black-and-white Universal logos, from the period of the 1940s. See more »

Goofs

When Rigby is talking on Juliet's phone to her sister Leona, the handset and coiled cord to the phone are from the 1960's-80's, and not the straight cloth-covered phone cords in use in the 1940's when the story is taking place. See more »

Quotes

Field Marshal Von Kluck: It is customary in zese situations for ze developer of ze plan to describe it.
Rigby Reardon: I beg your pardon. It's also customary for the private eye to tell how he figured it out.
Field Marshal Von Kluck: No, it is my right! We were able to dupe Dr. Forrest by posing as a humanitarian organization who planned to wipe out hunger, by ageing cheese faster.
Rigby Reardon: But when your father finally saw what they were doing, he...
Field Marshal Von Kluck: He started to assemble lists of our agents...
Rigby Reardon: And seemed about to go to the FBI...
Field Marshal Von Kluck: So we were obliged to kidnap him, ...
[...]
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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 »


Soundtracks

Dead Men's Bolero
Music by Miklós Rózsa
Lyrics by Steve Goodman
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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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