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

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". See more »

Goofs

When Rigby is sitting in a chair with a drink while talking with Huberman (Ingrid Bergman)the film was reversed during editing resulting in Rigby appearing as a mirror image. Specifically, holding the glass in his right hand with his breast pocket and pocket square appearing on the right hand side of his suit, instead of the correct, left side. Between cuts, the image reverts to normal. See more »

Quotes

Philip Marlowe: Can you get a map of South America?
Rigby Reardon: Yeah. You got something?
Philip Marlowe: Look up Peru.
Rigby Reardon: Got it!
Philip Marlowe: There's a little town on the coast called Paita. Tell me where it is.
Rigby Reardon: It's right next to a tiny island called - son of a gun! Carlotta! Damn. It's not a woman's name, it's a place.
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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 The Big Sleep (1946) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
Steve Martin's Affectionate Parody of 1940's Thrillers
11 December 1998 | by stryker-5See all my reviews

Rigby Reardon, private eye, runs the gauntlet of hoods, femmes fatales and crazed Nazis as he investigates the death of beautiful Juliet Forrest's father. Who are the mysterious "Friends of Carlotta"? And why does Rigby keep dressing in women's clothes? And where did Juliet learn to do that trick with her lips? This celebration of the black and white movies of the 1940's and 50's is a very clever and very amusing film. Extracts from celluloid classics are skilfully spliced into the action (check out the architectural detail on the doorframe in the Alan Ladd sequence). The film is a vehicle for Martin's comic talent and he carries it off beautifully. Rachel Ward as Juliet is terrific: she can hold her own with the screen goddesses who so liberally populate the film (Bergman, Davis, Turner and Crawford all make inserted appearances). A project like this could easily have come a cropper, but thanks to the brisk direction of Carl Reiner (who has a great cameo) and Steve Martin's ability to dominate the screen, the movie is a resounding success. It's also very funny.


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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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