We’ve learned to expect certain things from crime fiction. That’s where it happened. The people being sought. It’s a gun. The investigation To top it all off, the stunning truth is revealed, supported by the proof gathered earlier in the narrative. I’m sure there are a number of mysteries that utilize this type of plot. What, therefore, is the one and only classic murder mystery that has all of these necessary components? Clue.
Although Clue was originally a board game, it was turned into a film in 1985. The movie Clue is what we’re talking about here. Filmmaker Jonathan Lynn and screenwriter John Landis collaborated to make Clue, a black comedic mystery. The ensemble cast, which included Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Eileen Brennan, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, and Lesly Ann Warren, is probably what you remember most about this classic film.
Clue was apparently a flop when it was released in December of 1985. The film received mixed reviews from critics and only made $14.6 million at the box office. However, the film has now become a cult classic, with many people returning to it to reevaluate its value.
Aside from its excellent cast and wonderful comedic performances (particularly from Tim Curry), what’s behind this film’s popularity over 40 years later? Guess what? It’s a cleverly crafted enigma. As a result, mystery writers throughout the world should pay notice. Clue is the ideal murder mystery because of the following factors.
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Clue makes use of one of the most prominent sorts of locations in the murder mystery genre, which is why it is such a crucial part of any plot. In a sealed chamber, there’s a puzzle. Since no one may leave the room where the murder takes place, the suspense of a locked-room mystery is heightened. In other words, one of the cast members is responsible for the crime. In addition, the lives of everyone else in the story are probably in jeopardy.
At an isolated New England estate, seven strangers are invited to supper. Guests discover that one of them, Mr. Boddy, has been blackmailing the other guests. The lights go out, and when they come back on, Mr. Boddy is dead, as if he’d been beaten to death. The crime was committed in the room, but who committed it? No one will be allowed to leave the mansion until the assassin is apprehended.
Every single one of the visitors is a suspect due to Mr. Boddy’s extortion. When they go at the mansion, they’re given the pseudonyms Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Mrs. Peacock, Mr. Green, Professor Plum, and Miss Scarlet. Wadsworth, the butler, and Yvette, the maid, complete the staff. It’s impossible to say which of them is safe from scrutiny.
It’s a good setup for a mystery since it gives each individual a genuine sense that they may be the killer. And just when you think you’ve cleared someone of wrongdoing, something else happens in the case to cast doubt on their innocence once more. For a lot of murder mysteries, this is surprisingly tough to execute. One or two people frequently become the primary suspects in a murder mystery novel, even if there is a big cast of prospective suspects. Or one individual is so apparent a suspect that it becomes impossible to believe that it isn’t them. In Clue, all eight key characters are legitimate suspects, even at the end of the movie.
THE STRENGTH OF IT
There must be a murder in order for a murder mystery to be a success. That, however, cannot be the end of the strain. Things start dangerous early on in Clue and only grow worse as the tale progresses. Wadsworth tells the guests that he’s phoned the police and they’ll be at the mansion in 45 minutes after Mr. Boddy’s murder. That means that everyone has precisely the same amount of time to solve the homicide as before. The timer is already ticking as a result.
But the suspense doesn’t stop there. There are many twists and turns in the story as the individuals search for clues in the house. Even though a murder is required in order for the plot to begin, Clue does an excellent job of raising the stakes throughout the course of the game.
THE FINAL WORD (S)
Another item about Clue that you probably remember even if you haven’t seen the movie in a while? The endings It turns out that the movie has three distinct endings. Even if you’d watched Clue before, you couldn’t be sure which ending you’d see when it first hit cinemas since each one had a different finish.
To be fair, the film’s various endings weren’t a hit with everyone. Gene Siskel argued in his review, “Think about it. ” We can’t get very enthused about figuring out whodunnit if we go into the movie knowing [that there are three possible outcomes]. And anyone was able to pull it off. As it turned out, it was performed by three distinct individuals. The suspense is slashed to pieces as a result. This was a mistake on the part of Paramount or its distributors. Another option is to tighten the writing and choose the finest possible finish.
This may have contributed to the film’s increased popularity following its first run in theaters. On DVD, all three endings were presented with the explanation that the first two may have occurred, but it was the third that really occurred….
The fact that all three conclusions are supported by information from earlier in the film is why I believe they are all valid. The strongest conclusion is the one at the end, since it is the most logical conclusion to the tale as a whole. It’s impossible to predict the outcome of this story since there are three alternative outcomes. Even if you know the outcome, isn’t it disappointing? You get just enough information in the finest murder mysteries to feel like you’ve earned the resolution, but you’re not given too much information that the resolution feels apparent. This is done excellently by Clue.
If you enjoy mysteries like Clue, here are some recommendations for you.
As a murder mystery, Clue works because it’s stupid yet fun at the same time. A lot better than many other mystery novels, if I may say so. Nevertheless, if you’re a fan of the Clue series and would want to read more works that fit into the similar mold, there are a plethora of options, both old and new.
Clue clearly draws inspiration from Agatha Christie’s classic whodunnits. Locked-room mysteries like Murder on the Orient Express https://amzn.to/3J30q3L and And Then There Were None https://amzn.to/3J30twt use a vast cast of characters to great effect. The Westing Game https://amzn.to/3cDYYc3, a beloved classic of middle-grade literature, likewise has a wide ensemble of characters collaborating to solve a mystery.
Lucy Foley’s novels, such as The Hunting Party https://amzn.to/3z7oRIZ, The Guest List https://amzn.to/3PT5XMH, and The Paris Apartment https://amzn.to/3BdWuv7, all involve several suspects and a slew of surprises. Finally, Rachel Howzell Hall has updated Agatha Christie’s classic They All Fall Down https://amzn.to/3cB7ecK with an interesting twist. There’s also Diana Peterfreund’s Clue Mystery YA trilogy (the first novel being In the Hall with the Knife) https://amzn.to/3vciFxV, which is based on the board game.
If you’re a fan of murder mystery novels, then you’ll love the movie Clue. It has all of the essential elements we’ve come to expect in these kinds of stories, from the scene of the crime to the suspects and weapon. But what makes this film so special is that it takes these classic tropes and turns them on their head with a hilarious and shocking reveal at the end. So if you want to see a murder mystery done right, check out Clue – just make sure you have some popcorn ready for when the ending hits. What do you think about the movie Clue? Let me know in the comments below.
I even had that Clue VCR mystery game when I was a kid!