In a nutshell, Bored and Dangerous says: “Is it as simple as people in the 70s thought it was funny to say that Chinese and Japanese people all looked the same? Because as terrible as it is, that’s the only ‘joke’ I can see the movie attempting with these characters.”
“He gives us meaningless clues to confuse us, dangles red herrings before our eyes, bedazzles us with bizarre banalities, while all the time precious seconds are ticking away towards a truly terrible murder still to come.”
The murder mystery is a very unique TV and movie genre. It’s been a standard on big and small screens as long as they’ve existed, while almost always being regarded as low rent, schlock, cheap entertainment. Detective stories and murder mysteries are rarely seen as prestigious, yet they’re obviously crowd pleasers. For every high end hit like the current BBC, Benedict Cumberbatch incarnation of Sherlock Holmes, there are half a dozen low budget, long running detective series that your mum loves, but you’d never waste your time on. It’s a genre I assume I don’t I like, but when I think about it, I realise that there are plenty of examples that have thoroughly entertained me. It’s also a genre that when I found out there was a star studded parody made in the 70s, I knew I had to see Murder By Death.
At the invitation of eccentric millionaire Lionel Twain (Truman Capote), the world’s foremost detectives descend on his creaky mansion on a dark and stormy night. There’s the Miss Marple like Jessica Marbles (Elsa Lanchester). The Bogart style gumshoe, Sam Diamond (Peter Falk). The offensive Chinese stereotype and Charlie Chan facsimile Sydney Wang (Peter Sellers). Hercule Poroit clone, Milo Perrier (James Coco). And crime solving, posh couple, Dick (David Niven) and Dora (Maggie Smith) Charleston. (more…)