6.8/10
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110 user 35 critic

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982)

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0:31 | Trailer
Film noir parody with a detective uncovering a sinister plot. Characters from real noirs appear as scenes from various films are intercut.

Director:

Carl Reiner
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve Martin ... Rigby Reardon
Rachel Ward ... Juliet Forrest
Alan Ladd ... The Exterminator (archive footage)
Carl Reiner ... Field Marshall VonKluck
Barbara Stanwyck ... Leona Hastings-Forrest (archive footage)
Ray Milland ... Sam Hastings (in 'Lost Weekend') (archive footage)
Ava Gardner ... Kitty Collins (archive footage)
Burt Lancaster ... Swede Anderson (archive footage)
Humphrey Bogart ... Phillip Marlowe (archive footage)
Cary Grant ... 'Handsome' (in 'Suspicion') (archive footage)
Ingrid Bergman ... F.X. Huberman (archive footage)
Veronica Lake ... Monica Stillpond (archive footage)
Bette Davis ... Doris Davermont (archive footage)
Lana Turner ... Jimmi-Sue Altfeld (archive footage)
Edward Arnold ... Altfeld (archive footage)
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Storyline

Juliet Forrest is convinced that the reported death of her father in a mountain car crash was no accident. Her father was a prominent cheese scientist working on a secret recipe. To prove it was murder, she enlists the services of private eye Rigby Reardon. He finds a slip of paper containing a list of people who are "The Friends and Enemies of Carlotta." Searching for answers, Rigby encounters assorted low-lifes: dangerous men and women who were the hallmarks of the classic detective movies of the 40's and 50's. Filming in black and white allows scenes from old movies to be cut into this film. It is through this process that Rigby's assistant is none other than Philip Marlowe himself. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>, Ed. by Peter Victor <thevictor99@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Laugh... or I'll blow your lips off!


Certificate:

6 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 December 1982 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Dead Men Wear No Plaid See more »

Filming Locations:

Pasadena, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,289,601, 23 May 1982, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$18,197,170
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Second consecutive back-to-back movie which referenced the Golden Age of Hollywood for actor Steve Martin whose previous picture, Pennies from Heaven (1981), was an MGM musical in the style of that studio's Old Hollywood musicals. See more »

Goofs

Field Marshal Von Kluck's (Carl Reiner) collar insignia are on the the wrong way. The right tab should should be on the left side and the left on the right. See more »

Quotes

Rigby Reardon: Get your sister Leona for me.
Juliet Forrest: All right. I'm afraid she may not be very much help. She's very disturbed.
Rigby Reardon: How disturbed?
Juliet Forrest: She's been diagnosed as a paranoid hypochondriac. Doctors think she may be faking.
Rigby Reardon: I'll know after one word if she's faking.
Leona: [attending the telephone] Hello?
Rigby Reardon: [to Juliet] She's faking.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the Cast there comes the dedication: Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid was Edith Head's final film. To her, and to all the brilliant technical and creative people who worked on the films of the 1940's and 1950's, this motion picture is affectionately dedicated. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Married with Children: Dead Men Don't Do Aerobics (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Dead Men's Bolero
Music by Miklós Rózsa
Lyrics by Steve Goodman
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Mostly fun, but loses its way a bit
13 April 2005 | by CuriosityKilledShawnSee all my reviews

DMDWP is a black and white film noir comedy that uses footage from real film noirs from the 40s and 50s and inter cuts them with the plot to make it appears that Steve Martin is really talking to/acting with the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, James Cagney etc. The effect is almost seamless but for a movie made in 1982 it's quite impressive.

Martin plays the wonderfully named Rigby Reardon, a typical, gritty private eye who narrates the story with sarcastic observation and gets involved in the usual femme fatal plot and a conspiracy surround the death of a cheese maker. Yes, it's nonsense, and towards the end it becomes a bit hard to follow and the silliness gets out of control. But it's all played straight and for most of the film you could believe you were actually watching a classic film noir.

Steve Martin should have done more of these movies. Rigby Reardon was a great character and could have lasted for a few more movies. The humor is frequently hilarious and he certainly retains a lot of the integrity he has lost in recent years since he went the way of Eddie Murphy and sold himself out to family audiences. Either way, I say you should give this movie a go if you're a fan of his older work.

The DVD is sadly in non-anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen with Dolby 2.0 surround. It still looks quite good for a black and white film and the sound has that limited sound space effect to it to make it fit in with the older footage. A Dolby 5.1 remix would have been totally unnecessary. Some boring extras (trailer, cast bios) are included.


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