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Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982)

PG | | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | 21 May 1982 (USA)
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Film noir parody with a detective uncovering a sinister plot. Characters from real noirs appear as scenes from various films are intercut.

Director:

Carl Reiner
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve Martin ... Rigby Reardon
Rachel Ward ... Juliet Forrest
Alan Ladd ... The Exterminator (archive footage)
Carl Reiner ... Field Marshall VonKluck
Barbara Stanwyck ... Leona Hastings-Forrest (archive footage)
Ray Milland ... Sam Hastings (in 'Lost Weekend') (archive footage)
Ava Gardner ... Kitty Collins (archive footage)
Burt Lancaster ... Swede Anderson (archive footage)
Humphrey Bogart ... Phillip Marlowe (archive footage)
Cary Grant ... 'Handsome' (in 'Suspicion') (archive footage)
Ingrid Bergman ... F.X. Huberman (archive footage)
Veronica Lake ... Monica Stillpond (archive footage)
Bette Davis ... Doris Davermont (archive footage)
Lana Turner ... Jimmi-Sue Altfeld (archive footage)
Edward Arnold ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 May 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dead Men Wear No Plaid See more »

Filming Locations:

Pasadena, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,289,601, 23 May 1982

Gross USA:

$18,196,170

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$18,196,170
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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. See more »

Goofs

After drinking the "Micky" , Rigby is in the bathroom to shave his tongue. The electrical outlet next to the sink is a modern grounded (3 prong) model that wasn't in use until many years after the movie's 1946 time period. See more »

Quotes

[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]
Rigby Reardon: [voice-over] 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 ...
[...]
See more »

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 This Gun for Hire (1942) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
So they don't
20 July 2001 | by andy stewSee all my reviews

An incredible achievement. My mind boggles at the amount of thought, time and effort that must have gone into this superb film. The plot is brilliantly and hilariously convoluted, with screen legends from the 1940s making appearances in amazingly edited scenes, and Steve Martin's trademark absurd humour is present almost all the way. Steve and Rachel Ward have remarkable chemistry, and each of their performances are highly impressive. If it weren't for the bundles of humour employed, one would almost think at times that this actually is a film noir from the 1940s, so legitimate and believable is the 'feel' or the atmosphere of the film.

I cannot believe that some people who commented on this film have said that the plot is merely an excuse to hang old movie clips onto, and not much use at all; and the person who claims that Steve Martin overacts in this movie mustn't realise that this is regarded as one of Steve's more restrained, deadpan comedic performances (the 'cleaning woman!' device turns out to be an important part of the plot and also seems to be a way of using the strangling scene that is taken from the Bette Davis movie - it is also a chance for Steve to get in a very tiny element of his 'wild and crazy guy' persona, which he substituted with a more suitable [for parody] 'straight' performance).

A rousing and side-splittingly funny success - they don't make 'em like this anymore!


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