10 MONTROSE VOICE/DECEMBER 20, 1985
A Classy 'Color Purple' and a Campy 'Clue'
By Scott Cutsinger
Montrose Voice Film Critic
Just when moviegoers were about to throw
up their hands in disgust and give up on
1985, along comes two new films that sparkle in the holiday season. Those looking
for classy drama will love Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple, and those looking
/for campy laughs and fun stars will definitely revel in Clue.
Clue sort of resembles Murder By Death,
although it's a lot funnier and the jokes fly
by at a relentless pace. Based on the popular board game, this film has the added
novelty of three different endings (A.B.C)
showing at different theaters. This is
either to get you to see the film several
times, or give you and your friends something to argue about when you discuss
whether Miss Scarlett or Mrs. Peacock
really did it.
The real surprise is Spielberg's dramatic
adaption of Alice Walker's best seller The
Color Purple. Featuring an almost totally
black cast including Whoopi Goldberg,
Danny Glover, and Adolph Ceaser, Spielberg has made a fairly faithful adaption of
the book that should please readers and
filmgoers alike. While it falls short of
being a "great" film, Purple is a moving
portrait of a struggling woman that could
just run off with a whole handful of Oscars
If you're in the mood for something light
and cheerful, check out the mysteries of
Clue along with the rest of the all-star cast.
Nothing very deep or arty here, just a frantically hilarious concoction of suspects
and potential victims running amuck.
The butler (Tim Curry) greets each of the
guests as they arrive at the long-deserted
mansion. Each person is given a fictitious
(From left) Eileen Brennan, Lesley Ann Warren and Madeline Kahn star, respectively, as Mrs. Peacock, Miss Scarlett and Mrs.
White, in the comic whodunit "Clue'
name, and they they are introduced to Mr.
Boddy (get it?). Right off, Boddy is
bumped off when the lights suddenly go
Well, it could have been Mrs. Peacock in
the hall with the candlestick. Or Colonel
Mustard in the study with the knife. Or
even Miss Scarlett in the kitchen with the
revolver. And since there are three different endings to see, it's no telling who
"really" did it.
Actually, there are several people who
get strangled, knifed, or konked on the
head during the course of Clue. The ending
I saw was so cluttered with murderers, it
almost seemed irrelevant who killed ol'
Mr. Boddy. Everyone in the movie is having such a great time camping it up and
the dialogue is so brisk and snappy, we
almost forget to wonder who really did do
Director/ writer Jonathon Lynn is an
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English television writer making a very
successful debut in American film. Lynn
obviously has a great love for this genre,
and a very funny sense of timing and writing. His film editors, David Bretherton
(Cabaret) and Richard Haines (Bullit), are
excellent, fast-paced splicers who keep
everything zooming along at a precariously funny but even pace. Only Victer
Kemper's fuzzy and dull photography
seems to blemish the otherwise well made
Of course, the spotlight must be turned
to the cast, who play their roles to the hilt.
The men's roles are written to take a back
seat to the wretchedly funny women. Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd of Back to
the Future), Mr. Green (Michael McKeon
from This is Spinal Tap) and Colonel Mustard (Martin Mull) pretty well stay in the
background and let the jokes bounce off
them. Only Tim Curry has a really meaty
man's role as the snide and tidy butler,
who may or may not be the butler.
The trio of women is certainly a wild
sight to behold, and really make the
movie. Eileen Brennan makes her screen
return (after her tragic accident) as the
outlandish Mrs. Peacock, sporting
studded cateye glasses and a quivering
hat of ostrich and peacock feathers. Her
character is a hilarious mess, complete
with gold lame dress and bothersome fur
that slides down her arm (not to mention
some very classic lines).
Moving in right behind her is Madeline
Kahn as the heavily-veiled Mrs. White
who is "mourning" her husband's demise.
"It was a case of life after death," she says
calmly. "Now that he's dead, I have a life."
Wearing a black file suit (which covers a
strapless cocktail dress) and with her hair
cut "china doll" style, Kahn fits in great
with the rest of the farcial proceedings.
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