New Times San Luis Obispo

Blast from the Past: Clue

Glen Starkey Feb 1, 2018 4:00 AM

When? 1985

What's it rated? PG

Where's it available? DVD and Blu-ray, Streaming on Amazon

Photo Courtesy Of Paramount Pictures
COL. MUSTARD IN THE HALL WITH THE CANDLESTICK? Clue featured an all-star cast, ridiculous dialogue, and three different theatrical release endings, all of which are included on the DVD.

I recently heard Ryan Reynolds (Van Wilder, Smokin' Aces, Deadpool, The Hitman's Bodyguard) is teaming up with Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick to remake Clue, a 1985 film based on the murder mystery board game. The time seems ripe to revisit the original.

The ensemble comedy features an amazing cast: Tim Curry plays Wadsworth, the butler; Eileen Brennan is Mrs. Peacock, wife of a bribe-taking U.S. senator; Madeline Kahn stars as Mrs. White, an alleged "black widow"; the hilarious Christopher Lloyd takes on the role of Professor Plum, a psychiatrist with a revoked license; Michael McKean plays Mr. Green, a closeted gay state department worker; Martin Mull is Colonel Mustard, a war profiteer; and sultry Lesley Ann Warren stars as Miss Scarlet, an escort service madam.

It's 1954, and the six strangers are invited to a party at a secluded New England mansion. As they arrive, Wadsworth reminds them they've been given pseudonyms to protect their true identities because ... wait for it ... they're all being blackmailed! A seventh guest, Mr. Boddy (Lee Ving), arrives at dinner and it's revealed that he's the blackmailer!

While the guests shout about turning Mr. Boddy in to the police, Boddy reminds them he's still got the goods on each of them. Then he gives each guest a wrapped gift box containing six different weapons: a wrench, a candlestick, a lead pipe, a knife, a revolver, and a rope with a hangman's knot. From this setup comedy and mystery ensue, not to mention several murders! Whodunit?

What makes the film truly novel is its three endings. Seriously! Depending on which theater your saw the film in during its theatrical release, the ending—and those revealed as guilty—were different. On the DVD and Blu-ray releases, all three endings are included, the first two as possible endings and the third as "here's what really happened."

The film didn't exactly break any box office records upon its release. It was estimated to have a $15 million budget, and after a $2 million opening weekend, it ultimately grossed just $14.6 million in U.S. theaters. However, over the years it's developed cult status, in part because of the pithy dialog.

"Professor Plum, you were once a professor of psychiatry specializing in helping paranoid and homicidal lunatics suffering from delusions of grandeur," Wadsworth announces.

"Yes, but now I work for the United Nations," Plum responds.

"So your work has not changed," Wadsworth deadpans.

Written and directed by Jonathan Lynn (My Cousin Vinny) with a story by him and John Landis (The Blues Brothers), Clue doesn't really live up to its promising cast, but it's a lot of fun anyway. (94 min.) Δ