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 ... Johnnie Aysgarth (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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Did You Know?

Trivia

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. See more »

Goofs

The movie is set in 1946 but the small revolver that Rigby grabs out of Vincent Price's waistband in the bed fight scene towards the end of the movie is a nickel plated Smith and Wesson model 36 which did not go into production until 1950. See more »

Quotes

Rigby Reardon: All dames are alike: they reach down your throat so they can grab your heart, pull it out and they throw it on the floor, and they step on 'em with their high heels, they spit on it, shove it in the oven and they cook the shit out of it. Then they slice it into little pieces, slam it on a hunk of toast, and they serve it to you. And they expect you to say, "Thanks, honey, it's delicious."
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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

Referenced in EastEnders: Episode dated 14 March 2000 (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
Film noir was never this funny!
22 October 2005 | by jotix100See all my reviews

Carl Reiner, the multi-talented director of this film, is the only one that could have pulled it off. Working with George Gipe, and Steve Martin in the screen play that serves as the basis of the movie, Mr. Reiner has done the impossible with "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid".

Of course, this film is blessed with the magnificent editing by Bud Malin, who meshed the present images against those film noir masterpieces we see, blending the characters of this movie with the stars of the past, in what seems to be a seamless product. It also helps that Miklos Rozsa was the man composing the music, as everything shows a cohesiveness that is hard to distinguished in what was shot in 1982 and the old movies.

This spoof to the film noir genre is a pure delight. The main character, Rigby Reardon is the P.I. from hell, but thanks to the creators of this movie, he is perfect as the man at the center of the action.

Not being a Steve Martin fan, one has to recognize that when this actor is inspired, he can do excellent work. It would appear that with a director like Carl Reiner, he would have gone off the top, but instead, Mr. Martin gives a good reading of Rigby. Rachel Ward, as the typical woman of those films, is charming. Reni Santoni, Georege Gaynes and the rest of the supporting cast do wonders under Carl Reiner's orders.

The film brought back memories of those timeless masterpieces of the past and the stars that shone in them. We get to see Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner, Ingrid Bergman, Vincent Price, Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Barbara Stanwyck, Fred McMurray, Edward G. Robinson, and the others at the height of their fame playing against the present cast and making the viewer happy watching all the antics which Mr. Reiner and his team have created for our amusement.

This is a funny look at the old movies!


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 May 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dead Men Don't Wear 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
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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