I don’t think anyone thought it could work. I certainly didn’t think it could when I found this gem of a film when I stayed home sick from school in the 90’s. A movie based on a board game? Really? But regardless I fell in love with it. I kept a close eye on my TV Guide waiting for the next time the movie would be shown on TV so I could record it. (I’m starting to realize that this is at least the 5th movie that I owned by taping it off TV; I’m worst than those fucking Internet pirates!)
Clue opens with Wadsworth (Tim Curry), a kind English butler as he arrives at a large mansion. He awaits his guest’s arrivals. The guests are all familiar names from the board game the widower Mrs. White (Madeline Kahn), former psychiatrist Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd), a senator’s wife Mrs. Peacock (Eileen Brennan), a bordello owner Miss Scarlett (Lesley Ann Warren), a war profiteer Colonel Mustard (Martin Mull) and the eccentric and openly gay Mr. Green (Michael McKean) all who are being blackmailed by the seventh guest Mr. Boddy.
Mr. Boddy gives them each a gift containing various of weapons to kill Wadsworth and destroy the evidence of their wrong doings. As he turns out the lights to create chaos a gunshot is heard when the lights come back on Mr. Boddy lies on the floor dead. All the guests deny killing Mr. Boddy so they attempt to solve the mystery. As they explore the house they uncover the dead bodies of the cook and Yvette.
The body count rises when they are visited by a stranded motorist, a police officer and a singing telegram girl who are all mysteriously killed off.
Wadsworth concludes that he now knows who the murder is and frantically re-enacts the whole night.
This is where the film gets even more bizarre & interesting. Keeping in tune with the game Clue there were three different ending filmed that were sent to different theaters. On the TV, VHS and DVD releases however all three endings are placed at the end.
The first ending involves Miss Scarlett being the main culprit using Yvette (her former call girl) to kill Mr. Body and the Cook. Scarlett then killed Yvette and the other guest figuring out that were Mr. Boddy’s informants. She then tells the rest of the guests her plan to blackmail them all now. Wadsworth reveals himself to be an FBI agent and arrests her.
The second ending reveals Peacock to have murdered everyone and escapes as she holds everyone at gunpoint. Wadsworth then reveals himself to the guests as being a FBI agent and the police quickly arrest Mrs. Peacock.
The final endings reveals not one person committed the murders. Plum killed Mr. Boddy, Peacock killed the cook, Colonel Mustard killed the motorist, Scarlett killed the cop, Mrs. White killed Yvette and while everyone things Mr. Greene killed the singing telegram girl it’s revealed to have been Wadsworth (the actual Mr. Boddy), the man who Plum killed was the real butler. All the guests have killed Boddy’s accomplices and he plans to continue blackmailing them, until Mr. Greene shots and kills him revealing himself to be a FBI agent. The police arrive and arrest all the other guests.
This movie shouldn’t work. It’s not a perfect movie by any stretch of the imagination but it is far better than it ever had any business being. The casting for this movie is absolutely brilliant and perfect. Madeline Khan was one of the funniest female actresses in history and she shines in this movie however the star of the show is Tim Curry. People will say his best movie roles were Dr. Frank-N-Furter in Rocky Horror Picture Show or Pennywise the Clown in Stephen King’s It! but to me it doesn’t get any better than him running around this giant set piece yelling frantically and impersonality each actor’s mannerisms.
The Multiple endings and their long almost 20 minute reveal should be a joke that gets old of falls flat but instead it leads to some of the funniest reoccurring jokes and gags of the 80’s.
In 2008 Steven Spielberg & George Lucas released Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Most people found this movie to be awful (and those people are right), other people tried to fuel their denial of how bad the movie by going “well the movie takes place in the 1950s and Aliens were the big thing in the 50’s” Regardless if Crystal Skull attempted to have the 1950’s pulp feel… it failed to do it properly. Clue takes place in the mid-50’s and it managed to continue the feeling of screwball comedies and murder mysteries from that decade. If you enjoy that sharp tongued wit of the Marx Brothers or the fast pace energy of Arsenic and Old Lace then this movie is probably already on your DVD shelf.