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Murder by Death (1976)

Five famous literary detective characters and their sidekicks are invited to a bizarre mansion to solve an even stranger mystery.

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman
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Storyline

Despite not knowing him, the world's most famous detectives can't pass up the offer of a "dinner and murder" invitation from wealthy Lionel Twain. Each has no idea until their arrival at Two Two Twain who else will be in attendance. Those detectives are: amateur sleuths and New York socialites Dick and Dora Charleston, accompanied by their pet terrier, Myron; Belgian detective Monsieur Milo Perrier, accompanied by his chauffeur, Marcel; Shanghainese Inspector Sidney Wang, accompanied by his Japanese adopted son, Willie Wang; frumpish Brit Miss Jessica Marbles, accompanied by her invalid nurse, Miss Withers; and San Francisco gumshoe Sam Diamond, accompanied by his femme fatale sidekick, Tess Skeffington. The dinner part of the invitation runs into problems due to the non-communication between Twain's blind butler, Jamesir Bensonmum, and Twain's new deaf-mute and non-Anglophone cook, Yetta. On the murder side, the guests initially believe Twain will try to kill each of them. However, ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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By the time Eileen Brennan, Truman Capote, James Coco, Peter Falk, Alec Guinness, Elsa Lanchester, David Niven, Peter Sellers, Maggie Smith, Nancy Walker and Estelle Winwood figure out whodunnit, you'll die laughing. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

23 June 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Neil Simon's Murder by Death  »

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(Metrocolor)

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the first scene when Alec Guinness licks the stamps for the invitations, the stamps used were the 8 cent Dwight D. Eisenhower "No Dot", three-color stamps released in May 1971 and not the more popular 6 cent stamp released nearly a year earlier. First-class postage stamps were up to 13 cents by the time the movie was produced. See more »

Goofs

Milo Perrier tells Sam Diamond "I'm not a Frenchy... I'm a Belgie" referring to the fact he is from Belgium and not France. However, in discussing Twain's annual poodle hunt in France, he implies that's his home country, and later he says, referring to himself, that you should "never underestimate a Frenchman's nostrils." See more »

Quotes

Lionel Twain: I'm the greatest, I'm number one!
Sam Diamond: To me, you look like number two, know what I mean?
Dora Charleston: What DOES he mean, Miss Skeffington?
Tess Skeffington: I'll tell you later. It's disgusting.
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits: Starring (In Diabolical Order) See more »

Connections

Spoofs Casablanca (1942) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Comedy-Suspense Masterpiece!
18 January 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Eccentric millionaire Lionel Twain (Truman Capote) invites five of the world's greatest detectives, each allowed one guest, to dinner and a murder. Can the detectives, who turn out to be even more eccentric, stop the murder before it happens, and solve it if it does?

I first saw this film as a kid in 1976 with my parents at the theater. Although I could remember I liked it at the time, I hadn't seen it since, and it was at best a vague memory. I certainly didn't remember it being so hilarious and entertaining. Written by Neil Simon and directed by Robert Moore, Murder By Death is a very funny spoof of some of literature/filmdom's most famous detectives, set in a beautifully designed, creepy mansion, and at times, becoming a fine mystery film in its own right.

The jokes fly by very quickly and range from subtle to over-the-top, so attentiveness is required, and multiple viewings are rewarded. The cast is incredible, as you should expect by combining such luminaries as Peter Sellers, Peter Falk, Alec Guinness, James Coco and David Niven.

A comic masterpiece--10 out of 10 from me.


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