Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982) Reviewed

Steve Martin in "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid"

Steve Martin in "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid"

Steve Martin is pitch-perfect playing a stock noir gumshoe in this impressively executed parody of late-30s detective noir. Filmed in glorious black and white with intercut scenes taken from noir classics (most featuring Humphrey Bogart), Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid is an under-appreciated spoof masterpiece. It was the second time Martin would team with director Carl Reiner (the first was The Jerk) and it’s a rewarding pairing yet again. The classic noir clips are seamlessly woven into the narrative with dialogue and characters seemingly interacting as if they’re all in the same movie. Martin’s delivery of the hard-boiled noir  dialogue is dead-on and hilariously absurd. In a voice-over Martin’s detective waxes romantic over the film’s femme fatale (Rachel Ward): “My plan was to kiss her with every lip on my face.” Other great lines include: “Carlotta was the kind of town where they spell trouble T-R-U-B-I-L, and if you try to correct them, they kill you.”) Reiner shows up in the last reel as a vilanous Nazi. DMDWP would make a nice double feature with Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein. Martin and Reiner would pair up again a year later for the less rewarding The Man with Two Brains.

~ by Number5ive on October 12, 2008.

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