Tim Curry as Wadsworth in Clue

Madcap Murder Mystery

I didn't play "Cluedo" much as a child but when I did I always enjoyed the logical aspect of solving the crime and discovering whodunit. That logical aspect is certainly not apparent in "Clue" the 1985 movie which is based upon the much loved board game. But lacking logic doesn't matter because "Clue" is a madcap murder mystery; a comedy which takes the essence of Cluedo, the characters, the weapons etc and delivers a farce, a whacky whodunit where what matters is the comedy not the clues.

6 Guests including Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd - Back to the Future), Mrs Peacock (Eileen Brennan - Private Benjamin) and Miss Scarlet (Lesley Ann Warren) are invited to attend a dinner at Hill House. Whilst they are all oblivious to why they have been invited it doesn't take long to discover that they are all linked in some way and that includes the Butler Wadsworth (Tim Curry - Annie) and the French maid Yvette (Colleen Camp). The link is Mr. Boddy (Lee Ving) who is blackmailing them and as they would all rather keep the blackmail secret are given a weapon to kill Wadsworth before he blabs to the police. Except someone does die, in fact a few people die and the guests are left to try and discover who the murderer is and why they murdered.

Clue starring Tim Curry, Eileen Brennan, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, Lesley Ann Warren, Colleen Camp

Now anyone in their right mind wouldn't try and make a direct adaptation of a board game into a movie, that would be suicidal but "Clue" manages to take all the characteristics of Cluedo and make a wonderful whodunit from them. We get the various characters such as Professor Plum and Miss Scarlet and you also get the famous weapons the lead pipe and the candle stick holder plus of course the various rooms and the secret passages. Basically all the important aspects of Cluedo, all those elements which you remember are brought to life in the movie and with it being a game of murder and mystery making that side of it into a movie is easy. But because it manages to maintain the essence of the game is one of the many reasons why "Clue" works.

Now I did say that "Clue" was a murder mystery and for around half of the movie it feels like a murder mystery or at least one which is full of comedy. But where as you may start by trying to guess who the murderer could be trust me it becomes futile. It's futile because "Clue" is never really about discovering who the murderer is and how they killed but the stupidity of the situations, the black mailed guests, the accident prone characters, the dead bodies which show up etc etc. And if that wasn't enough to dissuade you from trying to spend time working out who the murderer is "Clue" also has 3 different endings with 3 different murderers and all are completely whacky.

That triple ending is not the only quirky thing about "Clue" in fact the entire movie is quirky with its madcap comedy running though out it. Every single scene has at least one laugh out loud moment be it a visual gag such as everyone smelling dog poo when they enter the house and so check their shoes as they turn up their noses or something clever as in the way all the characters are interlinked. And it is also the actual characters as well with Professor Plum being a randy former doctor through to Mrs. White being this black widow style character whose husbands have all died. It at times borders on the insane but amusingly so because if you are not laughing at something visual such as Mrs. Peacock and her annoying feather hat you are laughing at the sharp banter which flits between all the characters.

And to be honest a huge reason why "Clue" works is that the characters come to life thanks to some brilliant casting be it Eileen Brennan as Mrs. Peacock, Christopher Lloyd as Professor Plum or Colleen Camp as Yvette the busty French maid. But it is the energy and enthusiasm of Tim Curry as Wadsworth the butler who makes it so memorable, partly because he is central to it all but also because of the way during the second half of the movie he recaps what has happened in such a hyper active manner that it is at times like watching the cartoon road runner.

What this all boils down to is that "Clue" is to put it simply great fun. In manages to brilliantly capture the essence of Cluedo but turns it into a memorable madcap murder mystery with the emphasis firmly set on being madcap. Everything about it is madcap from the characters through to the way they end up linking together but it is the madcap recap by Tim Curry and the 3 different endings which makes "Clue" insanely funny.