Directed by: Jonathan Lynn (Nuns on the Run)
Starring: Tim Curry, Eileen Brennan, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Martin Mull
Yes, it’s the movie based on the board game. And that isn’t the only gimmick Clue (1985) features. It also boasts three different endings—or, in other words, three different solutions to the mystery at hand. At its release, which ending you saw depended on which theater you went to. That’s a neat trick, but it tells the savvy mystery fan that the mystery isn’t much and can’t be solved fairly by piecing together the clues. That also resulted in a good deal of negativity in 1985, but time has been rather kind to the film. All three endings will be shown by the Hendersonville Film Society.
No, it’s not a good movie, but it’s a good-natured one. All in all, it plays like a less witty knockoff of Robert Moore’s Murder by Death (1976)—a film that frankly succeeds more on star power and flashes of wit than anything else. It even rather looks like Murder by Death, though that could be put down to the fact that there’s only so much you can do with the look of an old-dark-house mystery. The setup, on the other hand, is drawn—as is that of Murder by Death—from Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None (which she pretty much pilfered from the largely forgotten 1930 novel Invisible Host). At best, it serves as a workable springboard. The problem with the premise as a springboard is that it’s a springboard to a film that far too often confuses loud and frenetic with funny. Mostly, it’s mildly amusing—apart from the singing telegram girl, which is very funny (and gratifying).
However, the film does provide Tim Curry with the best role of his career outside of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)—which is actually referenced once in his cry of, “Coming!” Curry seizes the opportunity the film affords him and makes the most of it. And the most he makes of it is very good indeed—assuming you like Tim Curry. And if you do, he’s reason enough to see Clue, and that’s not something that can be said of too many of his non-Rocky Horror films.
The Hendersonville Film Society will show Clue at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 21, in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community (behind Epic Cinemas), 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville.