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Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982) Poster

Trivia

In the later Steve Martin movie ¡Three Amigos! (1986), Martin's character receives his first gunshot wound in his left arm, which is the same place Martin keeps getting shot at in Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982).
Final film of legendary costume designer Edith Head. There is a tribute to her and the personnel who worked on films from the Golden Age of Hollywood in the closing credits. Head died a short time after production on the movie had wrapped. Fittingly, the film features many of her earlier designs in cleverly edited clips from old movies.
When Rigby Reardon (the character played by Steve Martin) finds the "Top Secret" Nazi packet labeled "Final Instructions", the date on the packet is 14 August 1946. Steve Martin's actual birth date is 14 August 1945.
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).
The movie was initially planned by Steve Martin and Carl Reiner to be a '30s-era film titled "Depression". After Reiner incorporated some footage of a '30s star into the movie, he and Martin decided that the entire movie should be done that way, and re-wrote it into a mock-detective story.
Rigby Reardon (Steve Martin) tells Lana Turner he left her sitting at a counter at Schwabs. Turner is rumored to have been discovered sitting at the counter in a Schwabs drugstore.
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.
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).
First of two back-to-back genre spoofs for both actor Steve Martin and director Carl Reiner. This picture parodied film noir and detective films mostly from the 1940s whilst their immediate next movie, The Man with Two Brains (1983), spoofed science fiction and horror films. Both pictures had longish titles which were both five words long.
The car accident at the beginning of the movie (the killing of the scientist) is taken from Keeper of the Flame (1942). That movie, however, is not listed in the credits as the source of the footage.
Initially, Steve Martin's character was written to tell off Humphrey Bogart's "mentor" character as an old has-been. The scene in which Martin did this was restored for network-TV showings.
Steve Martin suggested using footage of William Hartnell, Red Skelton, Jerry Lewis, Jack Benny, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. But Carl Reiner refused, because he felt it would be funnier if they used footage of actors who spent their careers mostly away from comedies.
Second of four films that actor Steve Martin has made with director Carl Reiner. The other movies are The Jerk (1979), All of Me (1984) and The Man with Two Brains (1983).
The movie was part of, if not arrived shortly after, the end of a cycle of a number of 1970s spoofs of film noir and hard-boiled detective films of the 1940s from the likes of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, some of which starred Humphrey Bogart, who was the main target of the parodies. The films included Murder by Death (1976) and The Cheap Detective (1978), both from Neil Simon, Peeper (1976), The Long Goodbye (1973), Woody Allen's Play It Again, Sam (1972), and The Man with Bogart's Face (1980).
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.
Some promotional materials for this picture declared that the movie was "Filmed in Detecto Vision".
Actor Steve Martin sports dark hair in this movie.
Carl Reiner's Nazi character of Field Marshall Von Kluck was based on Otto Preminger.
The name of the earlier case that gumshoe Rigby Reardon (Steve Martin) had worked on was "The Case of the Murdered Girl with the Big Tits".
Actress Rachel Ward was cast in the lead female role of Juliet Forrest in this 1980s film noir detective spoof of old 1940s b&w movies having recently starred in a movie related to this genre, the Burt Reynolds urban cop thriller Sharky's Machine (1981), where Ward had played a "femme fatale". After Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982), Ward would soon be cast in Against All Odds (1984), a 1980s remake of the classic "film noir" picture Out of the Past (1947).
Final film of legendary composer Miklós Rózsa. This was ironic since Rózsa was also asked to re-score music for original images that he had worked on in the 1940s.
When Carlos Rodriguez asks Rigby Reardon where he's staying, Reardon replies, "Hotel Guano". "Guano" is Spanish for "dung", specifically the dung of sea birds and cave-dwelling bats.
Five of the old black-and-white movies used for footage in this film were owned by Universal Pictures who were the studio that made this movie. The five Universal titles, all from the 1940s, were The Killers (1946), The Glass Key (1942), The Lost Weekend (1945), Double Indemnity (1944), and This Gun for Hire (1942).
The movie marked the return to comedy for actor Steve Martin who had just appeared in his first ever straight dramatic non-comedy role in his previous picture Pennies from Heaven (1981).
Debut screenplay and the first of only two ever produced scripts that were co-written by screenwriter George Gipe who co-wrote this film along with director Carl Reiner and actor Steve Martin. This same writing team then re-united very soon after for Reiner and Martins' next movie, The Man with Two Brains (1983).
Actor Steve Martin didn't watch any old movies nor the types of classic film noir and detective films that this picture featured or referenced because Martin, according to the picture's production notes, "didn't want to act like Humphrey Bogart ... [he] didn't want to be influenced".
Of the almost twenty old movies that were used as footage and edited into this picture, all were from the 1940s except for one, from the 1950s, that film being In a Lonely Place (1950), which had debuted pretty close to the 1940s in May 1950.
The picture was predominantly shot on the sound stages of Culver City's Laird International Studios which had hosted a number of classic Old Hollywood movies on its lot, many from the era that this collage film homaged. Such pictures included Suspicion (1941) (which featured some of its footage in this film), Rebecca (1940), Spellbound (1945), Duel in the Sun (1946), and Gone with the Wind (1939).
Eighty-five sets were constructed for this movie overseen by production designer John DeCuir. The number of sets built was considerably much larger than the average picture due to the high number of scenes required to edit into the movie from the old film footage that needed to be merged.
Second of three cinema movies that actor Reni Santoni made with director Carl Reiner. The first had been around fifteen years earlier with 1967's Enter Laughing (1967) whilst the third and final film was Summer Rental (1985).
Second consecutive back-to-back movie which referenced the Golden Age of Hollywood for actor Steve Martin whose previous picture, Pennies from Heaven (1981), was an MGM musical in the style of that studio's Old Hollywood musicals.
The number of credited old movies that were used for footage in this film was eighteen but it's nineteen if one counts the unbilled Keeper of the Flame (1942).
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According to show-business trade-paper Variety, star Steve Martin interacted "with eighteen Hollywood greats by way of inter-cutting of clips from some seventeen old pictures".
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The name of the cruise ship, "Immer Essen," is German for "always eating."
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