Review: ‘Murder by Death’

Murder by Death is a very good silly-funny Neil Simon satirical comedy, with a super all-star cast cavorting as recognizable pulp fiction detectives gathered at the home of Truman Capote, wealthy hedonist fed up with contrived gumshoe plots.

Murder by Death is a very good silly-funny Neil Simon satirical comedy, with a super all-star cast cavorting as recognizable pulp fiction detectives gathered at the home of Truman Capote, wealthy hedonist fed up with contrived gumshoe plots.

Capote makes a good theatrical feature debut as an impish Sheridan Whiteside, deploying his guests in a confusing series of sketches in which separate player teams, then the ensemble display their flair for low-key screwball nuttiness.

The cast list reveals the adroit mating of performer to send-up prototype, plus Alec Guinness as Capote’s butler, Nancy Walker as mute maid. Every single player conveys a casualness and off-handedness which, of course, is the mark of comedic excellence.

Murder by Death

Production

Columbia. Director Robert Moore; Producer Ray Stark; Screenplay Neil Simon; Camera David M. Walsh; Editor Margaret Booth, John F. Burnett; Music Dave Grusin; Art Director Stephen Grimes

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1976. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Eileen Brennan Peter Sellers James Coco Peter Falk Alec Guinness David Niven
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