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NickAndNora34

Murder by Death (1976)

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I remember enjoying this many years ago, but I want to see it again. I recall in the biography of Alec Guinness I read recently, that he was embarrassed by his role in the film.

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When I saw this movie for the first time I hated it.  I wondered who was forcing Simon to read books he hated and did not care for the fact that there was no "Shamrock Helmes."  I have been a lifelong fan of Christie and her peers and love the intricate puzzles that are great for the brain.

 

I prefer The Cheap Detective.

 

I saw it again recently during the Star of the Month look at David Niven.  I still think it should have had a Holmes parody but I no longer hate it.  Parts of it I find very funny.

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It is is marred by two huge flaws: the direction is bad, and Truman Capote is appalling. I've always felt the role of Lionel Twain should have been played by Gore Vidal. As shown by the recent documentary Best of Enemies, Vidal's entire public persona was a sort of theatrical performance.

 

Later when Vidal got fat he could have played Nero Wolfe. His arch superiority and waspish condescension were certainly far closer to the character than Maury Chaykin in the TV series.

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It is is marred by two huge flaws: the direction is bad, and Truman Capote is appalling.

 

Maybe Capote was deliberately appalling in service of his assertion that all good actors are stupid.

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Maybe Capote was deliberately appalling in service of his assertion that all good actors are stupid.

As Capote once said, being intelligent for an actor, gets in the way of reaching those emotional sturm und drang moments that are so electric on film.

 

I remember Capote being challenged on this by someone saying "But what about Laurence Olivier?" and Capote said not at all bemused and I may be a bit paraphrasing "I know Larry and he's not that bright and he would agree with me."

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As Capote once said, being intelligent for an actor, gets in the way of reaching those emotional sturm und drang moments that are so electric on film.

 

This must have been the reasoning behind Brando's claim that not only was intelligence unnecessary for an actor, it might even be a hindrance.

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As Capote once said, being intelligent for an actor, gets in the way of reaching those emotional sturm und drang moments that are so electric on film.

 

I remember Capote being challenged on this by someone saying "But what about Laurence Olivier?" and Capote said not at all bemused and I may be a bit paraphrasing "I know Larry and he's not that bright and he would agree with me."

 

I remember when Johnny Carson argued that Jill St. John had an IQ of 150 (or something like that).

 

Capote's response: "lousy actress".

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MURDER BY DEATH is fun to watch for the cast, and there are some funny bits. But overall it runs out of gas rather quickly.  I think THE CHEAP DETECTIVE is considerably better all around, I never tire of watching it, a lot of good gags.

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