Clue is one of my favourite hidden gem movies - here’s why you should (re)watch it
by Richard Harkness
Clue to me is enigma of a movie. One movie I often mention to people and either they have never heard of it or occasionally the person might say “oh is that the one based on Cluedo?”. Yet it has so much going for it I never understood why it’s not more widely known and loved. Thankfully it has been growing in popularity with some cinemas screening it again and even a long awaited documentary in the works.
I accidentally discovered Clue on TV as a teenager part way through ( there was no on demand or rewind available back then! ). You can imagine if you’ve seen Clue it was a very confusing way to experience it! I was quickly hooked and had the feeling I was watching something unique and unusual. I laughed, I was a little bit scared at times but also I was engaged with trying to figure it out. One thing I knew, I HAD to watch this movie again!
Over the years I kept seeing it on and off and every time I spotted something new. It never fails to make me laugh with its light touch and its understanding of exactly what its is. It’s brilliantly written spoof who done it that was not afraid to laugh at itself. Now its a part of my digital collection and I’ve watched it with my kids now.
I wanted to try and break down what it is about it I love about it so much so here we go!
The soundtrack is catchy as hell. The jagged brass at the start reminds me of Jaws as we get our first glimpse of the threatening house on the hill ( Imaginatively named Hill Top.. ). Almost like the house itself is a threat, something Christoper Lloyds character echo’s when Miss Scarlet asks “Why did the car stop?” and he says “It’s frightened”!
Later in the movie the tone switches to jaunty mystery music as they start to run around the house trying to figure things out. I love how the music starts off slowly but gets more frantic as Tim Curry rushes around the house.It’s a soundtrack that can just pop in my head some day and I can’t stop thinking of it!
The blend of humour and fear
There are genuine moments of fear scattered in amongst the humour which gives a sense of peril for our protagonists. It’s an unusual combination of emotions in a movie which isn’t often seen.
The house looms sinister and imposing on the hill. Lighting strikes. There is a storm in the background throughout the movie. At one point Ms Scarlet, knowing there is a murderer in the house has to walk across an empty room to see if anyone is behind the curtains. I find myself holding my breath with her each time!
The totally inappropriate humour
Obviously people joking around would be wholly inappropriate when people are being murdered yet the writers take it to the next level. Some of the lines are just wonderfully absurd in the context they are in. Here’s a few favourites of mine:
“Would anyone care for fruit or dessert?” - Wadsworth at several times throughout the movie as the bodies pile up in reference to them skipping it at the start of the movie.
“Yep, two bodies, everything’s fine” - Colonel Mustard taking a quick glance in a room to see if anything had changed.
Anyway to cut a long story short...TOO LATE!
Amazing physical comedy
It’s hard to single out one moment as the movie is full of them and most aren’t too over the top ( well OK I’ll give you the collision at the top of the stair was a bit too much even for me ). Tim Curry's shoulder charge is a fine example!
“I had to stop her from screaming!” as Mr Green slaps Mrs Peacock in the face.
Mr Green sitting casually on a table and it smashing at a key moment giving a fun jump scare.
The candle dropping on Wadsworths head as he explains he’s not shouting. OK, well maybe he is...
The amazing sets
The house itself is absolutely gorgeous. One of my favourite movies sets of all time. Luxurious yet cold. Sinister and with some neat hidden elements ( I don’t want to spoil that part for you! ).
The set was so good in fact it was reused a few years later as the Carlton Hotel in Dynasty. In this clip you can clearly see this was the hallway area of Hilltop. Also, why on earth did I used to watch this program?
Memorable one liners
“Flames, flames, on the side of my face..”. Fun fact: this was the only improvised line the whole movie. Crazy.
“Husbands should be like Kleenex, soft, strong and disposable.”
“I told you I didn't do it!" - Mr Green. Many times!
“Dead...again!” - Wadsworth. You'll have to watch it to understand this line!
Honestly there are far too many to go over, it is so rich with good one liners or recurrent jokes that it affords repeated viewing. Everyone that is a fan of the movie also has their favourites.
A pretty unique idea for cinema and one that I don’t think has ever been repeated since is the idea of showing the movie with three different endings. The idea being that you would go back and watch it all over again to see the various endings. Sadly it would seem this didn’t sit well with audiences and Clue was widely considered to have had a poor performance on its release.
Thankfully if you watch it now you’ll see all the endings. I won’t spoil it for you!
If you haven’t watched it, I urge you to. It’s just the kind of fun, light hearted movie we all need right now.
Now... would anyone care for fruit or dessert?
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