Murder by Death

Murder by Death

Director: Robert Moore Cast: Eileen Brennan, Truman Capote, James Coco
4.7 13


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Murder by Death

As penned by Neil Simon, this satire of movie mysteries is set in motion when several prominent detectives are invited to the mansion of the reclusive Lionel Twain (Truman Capote). In Ten Little Indians fashion, the gathered sleuths are locked into the forbidding mansion, and subject to various death-dealing devices. While struggling for their lives, the vainglorious gumshoes continue to try to one-up one another. Each character is broadly based on a famous literary detective: Sidney Wang (Peter Sellers) is an aphorism-spouting Charlie Chan clone: Dick and Dora Charleston (David Niven and Maggie Smith) are patterned on the protagonists of the Thin Man flicks; Milo Perrier (James Coco), a Hercule Poirot takeoff, stalks through the proceedings declaring "I'm a Belgie, not a Frenchie!"; Sam Diamond (Peter Falk) is Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe and Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade rolled in one; and Jessica Marbles (Elsa Lanchester) is a dottier variation of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. Best bit: a "conversation" between blind butler Jamessir Bensonmum (Alec Guinness) and deaf-mute maid Yetta (Nancy Walker). The fade-out gag of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson showing up late for Lionel Twain's party was edited from the theatrical version of Murder by Death, but was restored for TV. The film marked the big-screen directorial debut of Robert Moore, who'd previously directed several of Neil Simon's Broadway productions. Moore went on to direct another Simon spoof, The Cheap Detective (1978), before his untimely death.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/24/1994
UPC: 0043396600652
Original Release: 1976
Rating: PG
Source: Sony Pictures

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Eileen Brennan Tess Skeffington
Truman Capote Lionel Twain
James Coco Milo Perrier
Peter Falk Sam Diamond
Alec Guinness Jamessir Bensonmum, the Butler
David Niven Dick Charleston
Peter Sellers Sidney Wang
Maggie Smith Dora Charleston
Elsa Lanchester Jessica Marbles
Nancy Walker Yetta the Maid
Estelle Winwood Nurse Withers
James Cromwell Marcel the chauffeur
Richard Narita Willie Wang
Dog: Myron Actor

Technical Credits
Robert Moore Director
Margaret Booth Editor
John F. Burnett Editor
Fred T. Gallo Asst. Director
Stephen B. Grimes Production Designer
Dave Grusin Score Composer
Jerry Jost Sound/Sound Designer
Harry R. Kemm Art Director
Augie Lohman Special Effects
Marvin March Set Decoration/Design
Ann Roth Costumes/Costume Designer
Roger M. Rothstein Associate Producer
Tex Rudloff Sound/Sound Designer
Roger Shearman Camera Operator
Jennifer Shull Casting
Neil Simon Screenwriter
Ray Stark Producer
David M. Walsh Cinematographer

Customer Reviews

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Murder by Death 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
freddiwithneye More than 1 year ago
Yes, this is one of the best spoofs ever. But why not? Written by the best! Acted by the best! But the topper was when this movie first came out and my brother said, "Hey did you see that new movie -- 'Death by Dying'" You'll also like "Cheap Detective" for the same reasons.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have watched this movie over 50 times and I would have to say I see something new every time. I obviously never tire of watching this movie. The humor is often subtle but always timeless. A real gem of a film.
DanCamBull More than 1 year ago
This movie is a classic with a terrific cast that will keep you laughing. I recommend it to anyone who likes Clue and other movies like that.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Murder By Death brings together some of the best actors and actresses for a murder mystery comedy that will keep you laughing through the whole movie! Maggie Smith, David Niven and Peter Sellers are the best parts of this movie but the entire cast is wonderful too. Highly Recommended!
Guest More than 1 year ago
There is no one word to describe this halarious film. At shortest it would need 200,000,000 words or more. It is definatly the funniest spoof of a mystery ever made. If you are interested enough to read this will apsolutly love and enjoy every minute, none the less every second of it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is by no doubt the most spectacular movie ever! The mystery is unlike any other, and the humor if it all is just priceless. Definately a must see.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could go on and on forever on how good this mystery spoof is. I will limit it though. The jokes are clever, the actors are hilarious and the end is fantastic. Peter Sellers, Peter Faulk, Truman Capote, and the others are histarical. You will laugh so hard. If you are a mystery buff, or have seen the occasional Poroit, or any other mystery, this will be even funnier. They think of everyhting. You have to see this movie, or you will be missing out on one of the, or even the funniest comedy/mystery probably EVER!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first found this film about 20 years ago. It has ALWAYS been my favorite. When I was young, I just thought it was goofy. Now that I'm older and have seen many of the films it parodies, I feel it is brilliant. The acting is great, and the jokes are timeless. I would love to see a stage version somwhere. Watch this movie!!!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
If you like movies beofre they went Hollywodd and big budget, this is the one. It has someof the best acting byactors who know how to not take themselves too seriously. If you spent hours as a child playing the game of clue, then don't water your time with any other movie!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is a great movie if you're in the mood for a suspensful comedy. I love it! Acting is supurb, casting is wonderful.