Murder by Death on TCM Sunday Night
September 21, 2012

If you like the star-studded mystery of the Murder on the Orient Express movie (which is on TCM early Thursday morning, 2:15 AM Eastern) but wish everyone wasn’t so darn serious, you should watch Murder by Death, Neil Simon’s affectionate parody of five famous detectives. It airs on TCM Sunday night at 8 PM Eastern / 7 PM Central.

(Alternately, if you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, you can watch it online for free.)

Truman Capote is Lionel Twain (and yes, given his lisp, that’s a pun, and yes, that’s the level of jokes in this film), an eccentric rich man who invites a collection of notable investigators to his home to investigate a murder: his. But look at the stars who participated!

  • David Niven and Maggie Smith are Dick and Dora Charleston
  • Peter Falk is Sam Diamond with Eileen Brennan as his loyal secretary Tess Skeffington
  • Peter Sellers is Sidney Wang with Richard Narita as his number-one son
  • James Coco is Milo Perrier, traveling with his chauffeur, played by James Cromwell
  • Elsa Lanchester as Jessica Marbles with her nurse, Estelle Winwood
  • And Alec Guinness as the blind butler

There is not a single person in the cast you don’t know (well, maybe Ms. Winwood, but you’ve likely seen her in something, given her 80-year-career; this was her final film), and if you’ve read any mysteries at all, you’ll recognize all the detectives, too. If you like Clue: The Movie, you should enjoy this as well.

2 Responses  
Diana writes:  

Also noteworthy:there’s a showing of And Then There Were None, based on Ten Little Indians, earlier in the day. Not only is this the first film adaptation of Christie, but it’s the first American work for French director Rene Clair, and it has some very clever camera shots in it.

Johanna writes:  

Oh, I’m glad to hear you recommend this. I haven’t seen it before, but I set it to record. I’m looking forward to seeing it, especially after recently rewatching the Remington Steele episode with the similar plot.


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