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.