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Clue (1985) Poster

(1985)

Trivia

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Tim Curry has cited this as one of his favorite movies of his own.
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Three endings were shot, and a different one shown at each theater. All three are included on video. The DVD, however, aside from all three endings, also offers the option to play the movie with one randomly selected ending. In some cities, the newspaper print ads indicated which version ("Ending A", "Ending B", or "Ending C") was being shown at each theater.
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Madeline Kahn's short "Flames...on the side of my face" monologue about her hatred for Yvette the French maid was ad-libbed.
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According to an interview with writer and director Jonathan Lynn, after a screening on the 25th anniversary of this movie's release, Carrie Fisher was originally cast as Miss Scarlet, until she ended up in rehab for drug addiction four days before filming started. Fisher called Lynn and agreed to a work furlough, which received approval of her clinicians and the producers, but was vetoed by the production's insurance company, forcing Lynn to dismiss her from the project. Lesley Ann Warren was cast as a last-minute replacement.
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The color of each character's car is the same color as their playing piece in the game, and is introduced as follows: Colonel Mustard drives a yellow 1954 Cadillac Series 62, Mrs. White drives a black-and-white 1950 MG TD convertible, Mrs. Peacock drives a blue 1952 Packard 200 Deluxe club sedan, Mr. Green drives a green 1951 Plymouth Cranbrook, Ms. Scarlet drives a 1946 red Lincoln Continental, and Professor Plum drives a purple 1949 Pontiac Streamliner Station Wagon.
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The entire house is a set, except for the ballroom, which was shot on-location at a mansion in Pasadena, California.
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Though this movie's performance at the box office was disappointing, it has since developed a cult following.
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In an example of attention to detail, the secret passages in this movie lead to the same rooms they do in the board game: the kitchen leads to the study and the conservatory leads to the lounge.
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Professor Plum indicates at dinner that he works for the World Health Organization, part of the United Nations Organization. This means he works for UNO WHO.
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The Singing Telegram girl was played by Jane Wiedlin, best known as the rhythm guitarist of The Go-Go's.
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When Wadsworth cuts the power to the house during his solving of the mystery, it represents the point of divergence of the three endings.
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The first movie based on a board game.
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Jennifer Jason Leigh, Demi Moore, and Madonna were considered for the role of the buxom French maid Yvette. Eager to earn the part, Colleen Camp went to her audition in a French maid costume. In a 2013 BuzzFeed retrospective, writer and director Jonathan Lynn admitted that although he was impressed with Camp's comedic acting skills, it was her well-endowed figure that ultimately convinced him, "There was no avoiding it."
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After the production concluded, the mansion set was bought and redecorated by the producers of Dynasty (1981), who used it as The Carlton Hotel.
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The parquet floor in the Hall resembles the "Clue" game board.
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The Max Busch House, the mansion used for the exterior and ballroom scenes, was destroyed by a massive fire on October 5, 2005. After the fire, several people left flowers on the front gate and even shed tears, evidence of how much the house was cherished by the local community.
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Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd) hypothesizes to the group that the brandy was poisoned. In the original Clue (U.S.) and Cluedo (U.K.) board games, poison was included amongst the possible weapons, and later re-introduced in 1990's game Clue Master Detective.
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In an interview conducted in November 2009, writer and director Jonathan Lynn stated that he had cast this movie. He said that while actors and actresses were recommended to him via the casting department, he made the final decisions. His original choice for Wadsworth was Leonard Rossiter, most famous for the role of Rigsby in Rising Damp (1974), but he sadly passed away in 1984, just prior to pre-production. He was followed by Rowan Atkinson, who was well known in Britain for his roles in Not the Nine O'Clock News (1979) and Blackadder (1982), but the studio felt he was too unknown to American audiences to be the leading actor in an American production. Ironically, Atkinson went to huge success with his character Mr. Bean in America several years later. Jonathan Lynn had known Tim Curry since they were teenagers, and personally asked him to be in this movie.
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Lee Ving (Mr. Boddy) is the front man of the punk rock band Fear, and was chosen because of his name, Mr. Boddy will be "LeeVing" soon.
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Eileen Brennan's first movie after her release from the Betty Ford Center for painkiller addiction, caused by her recovery from a 1982 car accident. Brennan's greatest physical challenge during shooting was running around the mansion for the "re-enactment" sequence.
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During filming, Michael McKean (Mr. Green), Christopher Lloyd (Professor Plum), Martin Mull (Colonel Mustard), and Lee Ving (Mr. Boddy) would often spend time on the Billiard Room set playing pool. According to McKean, Eileen Brennan (Mrs. Peacock), also occasionally stopped by to watch and cheer everybody on.
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In another example of attention to detail, all of the rooms are in the correct order as they are in the board game, (clockwise) hall, lounge, dining room, kitchen, ballroom, conservatory, billiard room, library, and study, as well as a cellar (a non-suspected area in the game). There are also several new rooms not seen in the game, including a bathroom, master bedroom, attic, and nursery.
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In the opening scene when Wadsworth (Tim Curry) checks on Mrs. Ho the cook (Kellye Nakahara), the live-televised Army-McCarthy hearings are on the kitchen's television. One phrase spoken by Senator Joseph McCarthy that can be heard clearly as Wadsworth departs, is "professors and teachers, who are getting their orders from Moscow." This Senate hearing is also the same one in which the famous quote of "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?" is spoken by Head Counsel for the Army Joseph N. Welch. With the coverage of the hearings taking place on live television, the events of this movie take place on Wednesday, June 9, 1954.
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In the novelization, after Mrs. White tells Colonel Mustard, "Husbands should be like Kleenex: Soft, Strong, and Disposable". Miss Scarlet interjects with a double entendre: "Their slogan is Soft, Strong, and Pops Up, Too."
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The women in this movie wear the opposite colors of their namesake. Miss Scarlet wears green, Mrs. White wears black (but the inside of her coat flashes a brilliant white) and Mrs. Peacock wears gold and orange (though has peahen feathers in her hairpiece). Mr. Green wears no green at all, but instead a blue suit with a red tie. Colonel Mustard wears a dark brown suit (and a light cream overcoat), and Professor Plum wears a burgundy vest and gray suit. Interestingly, each character's car matches the color of his or her name and game piece.
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It was John Landis's idea to have three different endings playing in different theaters. His reasoning was that if the audience caught on to this gimmick, they would each go to to see the film three times. His plan backfired as people decided that they didn't want to pay three times to see the same film.
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Between takes on set, some of the actors would play pool in the billiards set. Lesley Ann Warren could not partake in these activities because she wore an extremely tight corset that restricted her movement. Between takes, she would find places to lean on and rest.
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The cast spent so much time laughing on set that Michael McKean (Mr. Green) before each take would say to everyone, "Something terrible has happened here." "You're living in a fake world, but you try to make it real," McKean explained in an interview years later. "It's not funny if it doesn't mean too much to the people it's happening to. It has to be completely life-or-death." He adds, "It became quite a funny little phrase, but really, it's that little adjustment. Here's your real life, here's the make-believe part, and we're lucky that we can differentiate."
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This movie takes place in New England, as revealed in the opening scenes. Soon afterwards, Miss Scarlet is picked up by Professor Plum and explains that she is on her way to Hill House, which is "off Route 41". In real-life New England, there is a Route 41 that spans the northwestern section of Connecticut, continuing through the southwestern section of Massachusetts. So, Hill House, storywise, is located in either of these two New England states.
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In the U.S. version of the board game (Clue), only Professor Plum and Colonel Mustard have any identifiable backgrounds, given their titles. In the U.K. version (Cluedo), Reverend Green's profession is also apparent. All of the other characters' backgrounds are left ambiguous. However, in some editions of the board game, the covers show Mrs. White dressed as a maid.
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Mrs. White (Madeline Khan) tells Colonel Mustard (Martin Mull) in the kitchen "flies are where men are most vulnerable". Prior to this scene, she ended a fight between Mustard and Mr. Boddy (Lee Ving) by kneeing the latter in the groin, proving her point.
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Some of the authentic 18th and 19th century furnishings were rented from private collectors, and included items from the estate of President Theodore Roosevelt.
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The Paramount Pictures logo of the era, seen at the end of the movie, is a rare instance where it is displayed in black-and-white.
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When everyone is split off into pairs, the partners correspond with the rolling order of the game, Miss Scarlet and Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White and (Wadsworth), Mr. Green and (Yvette), Mrs. Peacock and Professor Plum. Arguably, the drawing lots scene is symbolic of the die roll, and the constant referring to "ladies first" is reflective of Miss Scarlet rolling first in the game.
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The song to which Yvette (Colleen Camp) is dancing in the beginning of this movie, "Shake, Rattle, and Roll", is the version recorded by Bill Haley & The Comets, only it is sped up with the pitch increased. This trick was also used in Airplane! (1980), in which a sped-up version of the Bee Gees song "Stayin' Alive" was played.
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Madeline Kahn and Eileen Brennan appeared in At Long Last Love (1975), and were good friends up until working on this movie. According to an interview with Brennan for Kahn's biography "Madeline Kahn: Being the Music, A Life", she believed Kahn was too nervous to confront discussing Brennan's stint in rehab, and kept interaction to a minimum. They rarely spoke again after shooting.
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Mrs. Peacock's fall is made from peahen feathers. Peahens are female peacocks.
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The movie spoofs many familiar Agatha Christie tropes: guests invited at dinner to a spooky old mansion by a mysterious host, bodies piling up one by one, with one of the guests being the murderer. Every character connected to the victim in some way, everyone with a motive. The more direct references include - "Unexpected Guest" (a motorist whose car breaks down on a stormy night, arriving at the mansion to make a phone call), "Murder on the Orient Express" (the victim was a rotten person and everyone had a valid motive to kill him), "Thirteen at Dinner" (dinner invitees dropping off dead), etc.
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Tom Stoppard was initially approached to write the screenplay. He worked for a year before giving up and returning all of the money he had already been paid. Executive producer and story writer John Landis next approached Stephen Sondheim and Anthony Perkins, both of whom asked for far too much money.
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This movie was one of several movies, mostly comedies, made and released between the mid 1970s and mid 1980s that revived the old dark house mansion movie. The others include: Haunted Honeymoon (1986), Murder by Death (1976), The Spiral Staircase (1975), The Private Eyes (1980), The Cat and the Canary (1978), House of the Long Shadows (1983), and Bloodbath at the House of Death (1984).
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Wadsworth says the police will arrive in thirty-nine minutes, and the Chief rings the bell forty-five real-time minutes later.
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The three main female suspects (Eileen Brennan, Madeline Kahn, and Lesley Ann Warren) were Academy Award nominees for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, at different points in their careers.
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Wadsworth decides how the guests will be paired up to search the house by cutting matchsticks into various lengths, and the guests appear to draw these at random. Naturally, the partners were assigned by the script and the process could not be left to chance. Before Tim Curry holds out the cut matchsticks to the actors, he was given them in the correct order. The actors acted as if they were picking randomly, but simply drew the matchsticks in order from left to right.
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In non-North American editions of the Cluedo board game, such as the U.K., Mr. Boddy has been known as Dr. Black, full name Dr. David Black or Samuel Black. The full name of Mr. Boddy in the 1985 VCR game, and the 2002 U.S. board game, is Mr. John Boddy.
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There is an inscription over the fireplace which reads "Nouveau Riche Oblige". This is a joke combination of two French phrases, "Nouveau Riche", a derogatory phrase for newly rich families rather than inherited wealth, and "Noblesse Oblige", which means "people of nobility have an obligation" (to act accordingly). The combination literally means "the newly rich have an obligation".
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John Cleese was considered for the role of Wadsworth.
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The New England mansion in the movie, "Hill House", was named after producer Debra Hill. This also has a possibly unintended similarity to The Haunting (1963), in which there is a mansion called "Hill House" that is also located in New England.
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Differences in two weapons in this movie include the revolver, that in the board game is most commonly a pepperbox revolver (an early 1800s revolver with the six bullet chambers jutting out from the main gun parts). However, it is changed to a regular .38 caliber revolver, to possibly keep up with the 1954 time period in which the movie is set. The lead pipe in the game was also bent at an angle, to emphasize the fact that it was (possibly) used in Mr. Boddy's murder. This movie shows it completely straight.
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A re-adaptation from Twentieth Century Fox was announced on August 17, 2016. It is currently (January 2020) in pre-production.
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Yvette worked for Mrs. Scarlett, which is why the Police Officer recognized her. Just before she's killed in the dark, she drops her French accent for an American one, meaning she was faking being a maid the whole time.
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There are a few departures from the original board game. In the movie, the hall has been transformed into part of the playing board, and has been replaced by the front doors. This was probably done so that the rooms didn't have to stand alone.
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The ballroom is only shown once in this movie. Miss Scarlet and Colonel Mustard are the only two characters to step foot in that room.
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Tim Curry had previously starred in another comedy set in a gigantic mansion. That was The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) where Curry played Dr. Frank-N-Furter.
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Producer Jon Peters and Lesley Ann Warren were married, and had a son together.
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In the theatrical trailer, John Morris' score is not used. In its place is Elmer Bernstein's score from Airplane! (1980).
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The phone in the lounge lists the number as YL-7091. The corresponding number prefix (95) was reserved for radio station use in the 1950s.
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Eileen Brennan appeared in another "Old Dark House" mystery-comedy, Murder by Death (1976), a parody of murder mysteries.
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The "lead pipe" isn't made of lead. It is steel, coated with zinc. A lead pipe is so soft it can barely hold its own shape and cannot be threaded as seen in this movie. However, since this is a fictional movie based on a board game, it doesn't matter.
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Lesley Ann Warren, Christopher Lloyd, and Martin Mull reunited to spoof the movie in the Psych episode, 100 Clues.
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The licence plate on Wadsworth's car at the start of the movie reads "District of Columbia The Nation's Capital" with an expiration date of 1955, further lending to this movie's authenticity.
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When he was originally contacted by the crew for a part in this movie, Martin Mull thought he would be up for the role of Mr. Green. He would end up playing Colonel Mustard.
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This movie came out in the same year as Back to the Future (1985). This means Christopher Lloyd in this year (1985) starred in two films set about 30 years earlier (in the mid 50s), both taking place at a site with the word "Hill" in the name ("Hill House" and "Hill Valley" respectively) and both having a thunder storm during the date of their climactic events (June 9, 1954 and November 12, 1955).
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While not mentioned in the final movie, the novelization and screenplay specify that the movie Mrs. White (Madeline Khan) saw was From Here to Eternity (1953), to which Mr. Boddy (Lee Ving) comments as being appropriate.
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This movie has four oscar nominees: Eileen Brennan, Madeline Kahn, Michael McKean, and Lesley Ann Warren.
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When this movie airs on television, it has all three endings. Additionally, home video releases also have all three endings.
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The name of the butler character "Wadsworth" (Tim Curry) was similar to "Waddingtons", who first distributed the Cluedo board game in the U.K.
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There are two scenes from the movie's theatrical trailer that are not seen in the final film. The first is Colonel Mustard slapping Mr. Green asking why he is screaming (in which the man responds he is frightened of screaming). The other is Professor Plum leering at Yvette.
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As explained near the beginning of the film, all 6 guests were being blackmailed by Mr. Boddy who knew incriminating things about their past. But their "crimes" are vastly different. Mrs. Peacock is the wife of U. S. senator and takes bribes to deliver the vote of her husband in important political matters. Miss Scarlet is a brothel madam, who keeps records on important clients. Mr. Green is a homosexual employee of the United States Department of State, who is afraid that he will be fired in the then-ongoing purges of the Department's personnel. Mrs. White is thought to be a "black widow" killer, implicated in the murders or disappearances of at least two of her former husbands. Professor Plum has a respected position in the World Health Organization (WHO), and he is afraid that he will lose it if they find out that he lost his psychiatry license for sleeping with his female patients. Colonel Mustard is a Pentagon employee who fears losing his security clearance if his superiors find out that he frequents brothels. Mustard is also repeatedly mentioned to be wealthier than what his military salary would allow, making his financial dealings suspect.
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The Swedish title of this movie is "Mordet är fritt", which literally translates into English as "The Murder Is Free". This alludes to the Swedish phrase "Ordet är fritt" ("The word is free"), which is primarily used in discussions and debates. If the debate moderator says "the word is free" it means "throwing it open", meaning every participant may say anything. In this case, "Mordet är fritt" would mean everyone at the mansion may murder anyone there.
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At dinner, Colonel Mustard quotes Rudyard Kipling as saying, "The female of the species is more deadly than the male", an exact quotation of Kipling's 1911 poem, "The Female of the Species Is More Deadly Than the Male".
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Colonel Mustard makes a joke about Rudyard Kipling (The female of the species is more deadly than the male) and then asks Miss Scarlet if she likes Kipling, to which she says, "Sure, I'll eat anything!" In the U.K., there is a confectioners called "Mr. Kipling", so the joke loses impact. Although, she may have misheard or misunderstood "Kipling" as "kippers" or "kippered herring", which is somewhat uncommon, but known in America as a smoked fish. It is feasible Miss Scarlet has been to some fancy restaurants where this was served, and may not know "Kipling" as an author.
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Eileen Brennan and Lesley Anne Warren both had recurring roles in Will and Grace
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Madeline Kahn and Eileen Brennan worked together in Peter Bogdanovich's musical At Long Last Love (1975), a critical and financial bomb that was so bad that Bogdanovich publicly apologized for it, then disowned it. Brennan worked for him one more time in Texasville (1990), while Kahn never worked for him again. Their "Clue" co-star Colleen Camp appeared in another Bogdanovich directed flop, Illegally Yours (1988), which he considers one of his worst movies.
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More than one of the film's characters are afraid of being targeted by the of House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC, 1938-1975). It was an investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives, tasked to investigate alleged disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens, public employees, and those organizations suspected of having either fascist or communist ties. The committee is historically associated with McCarthyism and the purges of the Second Red Scare (1947-1957).
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Martin Mull and Eileen Brennan appeared in FM (1978).
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Colleen Camp and Michael McKean appeared in D.A.R.Y.L. (1985).
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Mrs. Peacock's car is a Packard.
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Kellye Nakahara's debut.
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The revolver, initially given to Professor Plum, is a Harrington & Richardson Model 733 firing .32 caliber Smith and Wesson Long rounds. The dagger given to Mrs. Peacock is a British Fairbairn Sykes fighting knife issued to British Commandos and paratroopers during World War II. It's noticeable for its ringed grip and rounded off butt used to strike at a target's head.
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Christopher Lloyd and Colleen Camp appeared in Walk Like a Man (1987) and The Right to Remain Silent (1996).
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Tim Curry has a one word line that he uses in both Clue and in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It is "Coming!"
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In the end it is revealed that Mr "Green" is actually an FBI "plant".
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

There was actually a fourth ending scripted and shot, in which Wadsworth committed all the murders out of a twisted need for perfection in his life. He reveals that he poisoned everyone with a slow-acting toxin in their drinks. It ended with Wadsworth being killed by dogs as he attempted to escape by car from the house. The rather grim nature of the ending is probably why it was never released. It was never shown, because the filmmakers thought the ending would have been too obvious, it only survives in the novelization and the storybook, which features a single photo from that ending (the Chief punching Wadsworth in the stomach).
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When Mr. Boddy pretends to be dead after the revolver is fired in the dark, and the six guests try to figure out how he died without having been shot, Wadsworth is missing during the entire sequence in the Study, up until he joins the guests in checking on a screaming Yvette in the Billiard Room. Wadsworth's absence was supposed to be intentional, because there was a fourth ending filmed where Wadsworth accuses Professor Plum of killing Mr. Boddy and Mrs. Peacock of killing the Cook, but Plum correctly deduces that the reason Wadsworth knows who murdered Mr. Boddy and his five informants (the Cook, Yvette, the Motorist, the Cop, and the Singing Telegram Girl, respectively) is because Wadsworth murdered everyone himself. Wadsworth reveals he had poisoned all the guests with a slow-acting toxin he put in their drinks, and then he runs to every room in the house that has a working telephone and he rips them out of the wall one by one. He is interrupted when the doorbell rings and is met by the undercover Chief of Police, who disarms Wadsworth with a punch to the gut after Wadsworth attempts to shoot him. The guests tell the Chief and the policemen with him Wadsworth did it all and Wadsworth starts to re-enact to them how he did it, only to slip out of the door and lock them all in Hill House. The police break the Conservatory window to get out with the guests and Wadsworth drives off, only to find the dogs he had at the dog house and Conservatory window are in the backseat and growling at him, about to attack him. The ending was rejected for being too dark, and also to keep this movie's allowed running time.
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Wadsworth (Tim Curry) voices the object of the board game after the characters find Mr. Boddy (Lee Ving), the board game's only victim, dead. Wadsworth yells "That's what we're trying to find out! We're trying to find out who killed him, and where, and with what!"
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At one point, Professor Plum says they only have fifteen minutes until the Police come. Exactly fifteen minutes later, the evangelist (who is later revealed to be a Police Chief) rings the doorbell.
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Wadsworth's true identity is different in all three endings. In "ending A", he is what he says he is, that is a real butler who is another one of Mr. Boddy's victims (and he's also a very good amateur sleuth). In "ending B", he is an undercover F.B.I. Agent, and being a butler was his cover, and in "ending C", he is really the despicable Mr. Boddy pretending to be a butler.
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In Ending B, where it's revealed Mrs. Peacock murdered all six people, it was revealed that she was actually shot dead by the Chief of Police when he confronts her at her car. After saying they got Mrs. Peacock when Wadsworth and the other five guests run outside, the Chief then turns to Mrs. Peacock's dead body and shoots her again. This was deemed too dark, and Eileen Brennan recorded a new line saying she's the Senator's wife, so that Peacock is arrested instead of shot. However, part of the rejected sequence remains in this movie. After the Police run to Mrs. Peacock to arrest her, you can see smoke in the air from the Chief's revolver, as if it had been recently fired.
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The screams heard when the characters rush to the maid in the billiard room are not from Colleen Camp (the maid). They are from Lesley Ann Warren (Miss Scarlet), from the scenes where the dead body of the cook, and the live body of Wadsworth fall out of the meat locker.
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The line "Communism was just a red herring" is said in all three endings (twice by Wadsworth and once by Miss Scarlet). Not only is it is a pun (particularly after World War II, the Russian Communists were frequently called "reds", for example, the anti-Communist slogan, "Better dead than red."), but it cleverly refers to a MacGuffin (or a real "red herring") implemented by the screenwriters, because none of the murderers motives end up having anything to do with creating political conspiracy. There are various visual red herrings on-screen, such as a hammer and sickle on the shelf beside the torch Colonel Mustard finds, and a bust of Lenin in the attic.
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Originally, there were endings in which each character killed off everyone once, and then the ending where they all did it. However, the final cut would have made the movie over two and a half hours long, and writer and director Jonathan Lynn thought it to be excessive, hence the three endings that are in the final cut.
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Mr. Boddy has informants that he used for information about the six guests. They are: The Cook - Mrs. Peacock; The Motorist - Colonel Mustard; The Cop - Miss Scarlet; The Singing Telegram Girl - Professor Plum; Yvette - Mrs. White and possibly Miss Scarlet. However, none of the deceased informed on Mr. Green, which is why he is constantly saying "I didn't do it!" It is also a foreshadowing of Ending C, where Mr. Green is actually an F.B.I. Agent. This allows us the assumption that it was in fact the F.B.I. who "informed" on Mr. Green to Mr. Boddy, setting up his cover so he could infiltrate the scheme as their inside man.
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In Ending "B", Mr. Green remarks "Mrs. Peacock was a man?!" In ornithology, a "peacock" refers to the male of the species, and a "peahen" is the female counterpart.
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The conclusion of ending "C" is the only one which gives a version of the classic answer from the Clue board game about who killed Mr. Boddy, when Mr. Green says "I did, in the Hall, with the Revolver".
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Mr. Green (Michael McKean) is being blackmailed because he is a homosexual working for the government. Later on, J. Edgar Hoover calls the house. In "Ending C", where everyone is guilty, Mr. Green is really an FBI agent sent in to infiltrate the blackmailer. In a couple of ironic twists, J. Edgar Hoover has long been suspected of being a homosexual, and in the 1950s, he started a case called "Operation: Babydoll", in which he gathered intelligence on possible homosexuals working in the federal government.
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One of the photos burned is a photo of Colonel Mustard and a soldier, both in U.S. Army dress uniforms. The soldier is The Motorist, who was his driver during the war.
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At the beginning of the movie, Wadsworth tells the guests "Of course, since you've each been addressed by a pseudonym, you'll have realized that nobody here is being addressed by their real name." In the third ending, the characters find that this was true, even for Wadsworth.
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Ms. Scarlet claims that The Cop had been on her payroll as a bribe to allow her to continue her business. However, as Ms. Scarlet lives and works in Washington, D.C., it doesn't make sense for a Washington, D.C. police officer to be policing in New England. That being said, as Wadsworth later claims that everyone who has come to the house has been invited, it is conceivable that The Cop, still in uniform, drove out to the property after his shift ended (he even says over the phone, "No, I'm not on duty") but upon seeing The Motorist's broken-down car, decides to investigate, which is why it appears that he is there on official business.
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Of the three endings, "B", with Mrs. Peacock as the lone killer, is the least believable. While it's possible, however unlikely, that she could have killed most of the victims, the scenario surrounding The Motorist is dubious at best. She couldn't have stolen away from Professor Plum (without him realizing) to get out of the cellar, across the hall to the cupboard, gotten the wrench, entered the lounge through the conservatory, killed The Motorist, then back through the passage and returned to the cellar where she emerges with Professor Plum moments later, all without ever crossing paths with Miss Scarlett and Colonel Mustard, who are patrolling the ground floor.
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The murders are as follows: (1) The Cook, in the kitchen, with the dagger; (2) Mr. Boddy, in the hall, with the candlestick (his previous demise in the study from the revolver was a false death); (3) The Motorist, in the lounge, with the wrench; (4) Yvette the Maid, in the billiard room, with the rope; (5) The Cop, in the library, with the lead pipe; (6) The Singing Telegram Girl, in the hall, with the revolver.
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The pairing-up scene contains very subtle humor in its outcome: Miss Scarlet and Colonel Mustard: Mustard was one of Scarlet's clients. Wadsworth and Mrs. White: White coyly threatens Wadsworth after he refuses to let her leave the mansion ("If we're ever alone together"), and Wadsworth tells her no man in his right mind would end up alone with her. Mrs. Peacock and Professor Plum: Peacock is uptight and conservative, and Plum is lecherous and philandering. Yvette and Mr. Green: Yvette is outwardly sexy, and Green is allegedly homosexual.
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If the final ending is considered the true ending, given that Wadsworth pretends to be the butler for the majority of the movie, then in fact "the butler did it."
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In the third ending, the last three murders, specifically Mrs. White's killing of Yvette, is physically impossible, given the order of events: -The lights are turned off, according to Wadsworth, by Mrs. White. -After some physical gags, we see Mrs. White in the nursery on the second floor, where she dramatically screams as the window blows open. -As we hear her screaming upstairs, Yvette is coming down the stairs to the ground floor, where she enters the billiard room. -Yvette enters the billiard room where she speaks to her killer (allegedly Mrs. White) who, despite just being heard screaming upstairs, is already there, hiding in the shadows with the rope from the cupboard. -As Mrs. White is strangling Yvette, Miss Scarlet is also out in the hall sneaking into the Library to kill The Cop. Meanwhile, Wadsworth, who has the gun, has come downstairs to answer the door and kill the telegram girl. In the moments that follow, (in full view of Colonel Mustard in the dining room) Miss Scarlet leaves the Library, and somehow without crossing paths, Wadsworth and Mrs. White return upstairs, Wadsworth back to the bedroom and Mrs. White back to the nursery, where Mrs. White screams at the Jack-in-the-Box, prompting Wadsworth to enter the shower before returning downstairs once more to turn back on the electricity.
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When Yvette sneaks down to the billiard room and is asked if anyone saw her, the voice whispering in the shadows is meant to be somewhat androgynous, allowing the audience to believe it could be any of the guests speaking. It's relatively clear, however, that the person actually voicing the lines is female. In each of the three endings, it was indeed a woman who killed Yvette: Miss Scarlet, Mrs. Peacock, and Mrs. White, respectively.
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Body count: six (with either Ending A or B) or seven (with Ending C).
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When walking through the hall to the library, Colonel Mustard pauses to look up at the chandelier that later in this movie, almost kills him.
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In Ending C, where everyone but Mr. Green murders a character, only Colonel Mustard (with the wrench), Mrs. Peacock (with the knife), and Mrs. White (with the rope) use the actual weapons they were given as gifts. Professor Plum finishes off Mr. Boddy with Miss Scarlet's candlestick, Miss Scarlet uses Mr. Green's lead pipe for her murder, and Wadsworth (Mr. Boddy) uses Professor Plum's revolver to shoot the Singing Telegram Girl. Mr. Green shoots Wadsworth (Mr. Boddy) with a revolver, but it's a gun he's brought with him, and not the weapon given to Professor Plum by Mr. Boddy (the actual butler).
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When the evidence of Mr. Boddy's (Lee Ving's) letters of informants and photographs is being stacked to be burned in the fireplace, there is a photograph of Mr. Green (Michael McKean) with his glasses on leaving a government building and holding a briefcase.
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In all three versions, Yvette is killed by a woman and Mr. Green is innocent.
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It never occurs to the characters that outsiders being able to arrive at the house unimpeded means that the dogs, for whatever reason, are no longer there to present an obstacle to escape.
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In two of the endings (Ending A and Ending B) where multiple people are not the killers, as is the case in Ending C, a woman is the murderer in both, this movie connecting with that old Rudyard Kipling maxim, "the female of the species is more deadly than the male".
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The portrait that served as the exit of the secret passage in the study is of William McKinley, the 25th president of the United States. McKinley was the 3rd US president to be assassinated when he was shot in Buffalo, NY in 1901.
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When Wadsworth falls out of the freezer when re-enacting the evenings timeline of events, there is stock footage of Miss Scarlet screaming earlier when the Cook falls out dead. In both instances, she had a cigarette, many have said that this is an error. In the study moments earlier, she took a cigarette from the coffee table and began to smoke it.
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In the end credits, where Clue game cards show pictures of the characters, only three correctly match the character with the weapon he or she initially received in his or her gift box: Mrs. Peacock is shown with the dagger (which she used to kill The Cook in Endings B and C), Mrs. White is shown with the rope (which she used to kill Yvette in Ending C), and Mr. Green is shown with the lead pipe (which was used to kill The Cop, but not by Mr. Green). Professor Plum is also shown with the rope, though he never used it during the course of this movie.. Miss Scarlet is shown with the revolver, which she did use to kill the Singing Telegram Girl in Ending A. Colonel Mustard, Wadsworth, Yvette, and Mr. Boddy are not pictured with weapons on their cards. Additionally, the candlestick and wrench are not shown on any of the cards.
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In "ending C", its Mrs. White who kills Yvette the maid. In the original board game, Mrs. White is always depicted as the maid.
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The plot summary on the back cover of the American home video release contains a minor spoiler for one of the endings ("Was it Miss Scarlet in the billiard room with the rope?").
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In the original shooting script, the killer has turned out the lights to the lounge when Miss Scarlet and Colonel Mustard enter through the secret passageway. The killer's gloved hand swats the flashlight out of Colonel Mustard's hand, and he yells that the killer is still in the room as the killer exits in the dark through the secret passage. The scene was altered when film ending "A" reveals Miss Scarlet was the one who killed the Motorist, Yvette, the Cop, and the Singing Telegram Girl.
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Leslie Ann Warren as Miss Scarlet plays the most notorious madam in Washington, D.C. In the miniseries 79 Park Avenue she played the most notorious madam in New York.
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The wrench given to Colonel Mustard during the "gift" sequence is a Billings & Spencer Co. 12" adjustable "Monkey" Wrench. (Identifiable by the triangle emblem etched into the bottom of the handle, seen when the gloved hand is approaching the Motorist to kill him when he's on the phone.)
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At the end of Ending A, when Scarlet tells the butler : "Wadsworth, don't hate me for trying to shoot you", the latter replies : "Frankly, Scarlet, I don't give a damn". This is a reference to a famous phrase in Gone with the Wind (1939), when Clark Gable, who played Rhett Butler, tells Vivien Leigh, who played Scarlett O'Hara : "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."
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Significant characters in this movie that were not in the board game include Wadsworth the butler, The Cop, The Cook Mrs. Ho, Yvette the Maid, The Motorist, The Evangelist/The Chief, and The Singing Telegram Girl.
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Wadsworth's joke at the end of Ending B about J. Edgar Hoover cleaning up messes could be lost on some people who are not aware that despite being founded in Ohio, the Hoover Company established a major base of operations in the UK, and became so synonymous with vacuums that "Hoover" is the British term for vacuum cleaner/cleaning.
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One the prominent portraits in the library appears to be of former US President William McKinley who was assassinated. His assassin, Leon Czolgosz, accused McKinley and his government of corruption, which is a recurring theme in this movie.
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this the first time Christopher Lloyd was in a murder mystery the second time would be who framed roger rabbit in both movies Christopher Lloyd was guilty of murder.
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In Ending C, Wadsworth (Mr. Boddy) (Tim Curry) is shot by Mr. Green, an undercover FBI agent. In the Criminal Minds (2005) season six premiere, Curry played a serial killer who was also gunned down by an FBI agent.
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