6.8/10
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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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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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'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) (21 May 1982)

Gross:

$16,959,911 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While Steve Martin's character is at the bar in Carlotta, a clip is used of Charles Laughton from The Bribe (1949) asking, "You know who I could be?" and Martin replies, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame?" Laughton played that role in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939). 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

Rigby Reardon: [on the phone] Hi. It's me, Rigby. Sorry, Hot Legs, I've been busy. Look, you sashay over to your New York Times file and read me what's on page one, column six of the August 2nd issue... maybe I'll wine and dine you some night soon. I'll wait.
Juliet Forrest: You'd wine and dine her for information?
Rigby Reardon: Her? Him.
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Crazy Credits

After the Cast there comes the dedication: Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid was Edith Head's final film. To her, and to all the brilliant technical and creative people who worked on the films of the 1940's and 1950's, this motion picture is affectionately dedicated. See more »

Connections

Edited from In a Lonely Place (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
Along with "The Jerk," one of Steve Martin's top two finest films
19 July 2005 | by See all my reviews

I remember reading reviews in The New York Times and elsewhere in 1983 fawning over Woody Allen's brilliant and wholly original idea of inserting himself into old film footage in "Zelig." They'd not noted, of course, that everyone from Ernie Kovacs to John Zacherle had already done that "brilliant and wholly original idea" on television -- and, most notably, Steve Martin did it in a feature film, "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid," one year prior to "Zelig." While "Zelig" has its moments, it is ultimately tedious, running about twice as long as it's one-note gag treatment can sustain. In sharp contrast is the far more clever, inspired, fully developed, insightful and witty DMDWP, which, as noted. came out one year earlier. As often happens with groundbreakers set somewhere outside the norm, DMDWP was not exactly a box office hit -- a key reason why no sequels were ever made. That's unfortunate, as Martin's character was one of his finest creations and could have sustained more installments in the series. (Steve was never better on film than he is here.) It's good that the people behind "Police Squad" did not give up on it after it failed to fit within the confines of standard TV concepts around the same time. Reborn as "The Naked Gun" series of feature films, the "Police Squad" concept turned into three of the greatest comedy motion pictures of all time. DMDWP deserved a lot better than it got in 1982 as well, and I'm glad to see that it has finally found respect and its audience through television exposure (much like a previous box office bomb, "It's A Wonderful Life"). The kind of creativity Martin, Carl Reiner and the rest of the DMDWP crew put into their project needs to be strongly encouraged -- as it represents excellent comic film-making, as opposed to the witless parade of routine crudities that Hollywood ordinarily churns out.


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