Monday, October 17, 2016
A New Clue
So there might be a remake of the “Clue” movie. I’m not really sure what to feel about that. I mean, on one hand, remakes can be good (even though quite some aren’t). On the other hand, “Clue” was mostly as good as it was because of the cast, most of which, for one reason or other, won’t be available for a remake. I’m not sure someone can successfully replace Madeline Khan as Mrs. White or Tim Curry as butler Wadsworth. That doesn’t mean, though, I can’t be wrong.
The original “Clue” movie, thirty years old by now, is one of those secret gems which you either love or hate. There’s really no in-between. Either you enjoy the take on the classic Manor-Murder-Mystery genre as written by the likes of Agatha Christie or you simply find the jokes off-base and the whole story convoluted. I learned about it by accident, when a TV station showed it and I zapped in and stayed. Afterwards, I went on a hunt for the DVD and found it. Since then, it has been in my DVD player oodles of times. I just love the movie.
“Clue” is a comedic take on the classic mysteries which bring together a group of people at a place, show you there’s nobody else coming or going, and then have a murder happen. Who did it? In addition, the movie is loosely - very, very loosely - based on the board game by the same name. The six suspects take their names from the six suspects of the board game (Colonel Mustard, Miss Scarlet, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock, Professor Plum, and Mrs. White) and the ground floor of the mansion is cut like the board itself (including the secret passages between the corner rooms). Mr. Body, the victim (first victim in the movie), is also from the board game, but has a different background. By the end of the movie, six people have been killed (none of them one of the suspects, of course) and the question of who the murderer is looms in the main hall. It’s then when Wadsworth, the butler, will clear up the case, one way or other.
Originally, “Clue” had a little gimmick, like many movies over time. It came with three different endings, each of them putting the blame of a different person or different persons. In the DVD version, you can either have a randomly chosen ending or you can watch all three endings one after the other (with the classic ‘the butler did it’ ending as the ‘real’ one).
But it wasn’t the gimmick which made “Clue” a classic over time. Like some other classic movies, it was a sleeper - a movie which didn’t do too well at the movie theatres, but had a long and strong life afterwards in rentals and on TV. People enjoyed the movie, even those who were far too young to watch it when it was released. The movie has a lot of great lines which can be quoted in a variety of different situations. It had a great cast, too. And it managed to keep the comedic tone despite the six murders, which isn’t easy, either. It’s also one of the few movies in which I can endure Angela Lansbury for one and a half hours. (Two others being “Death on the Nile” and “Evil under the Sun.”) She pales a little against actors like Tim Curry, Christopher Lloyd, and, above all, Madeline Khan.
Now there’s talk of a remake and I’m not sure if I want that. There are movies which have the perfect formula, but a formula which only works with all the ingredients the way they are. I have the feeling “Clue” might be one of those. The fact alone that it was a sleeper and not an instant hit points to it for me.
What I’m most worried about, is the off-chance of a gritty remake. Admittedly, a movie with six murders might qualify as gritty, but the fact that “Clue” managed to keep the comedic tone even with all those murders was one of its strong points. It wasn’t as if the characters made jokes about the dead, but the way the movie handled the murders and, in some cases, the hiding of the corpses (the party scenes to hoodwink the police officer especially), was fun and classy at the same time. The way the reactions dampened from the first murder to the last (when the Singing Telegram girl hardly got a reaction out of the group) was both amusing and fitting, since there is a moment when the mind will just shut down.
A new movie might not be up to par with that. On the other hand, there is also a (slight) chance the remake might be better. Perhaps there will be an even better chemistry between the new actors. Perhaps the jokes and puns will be even more on point.
Fact is, whether or not the fans want it, if the owner of the rights wants to remake something, they will do so.