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Murder by Death Reviews

This spoof of the great fictional-film detectives offers consistently funny scenes sparked by Falk, Niven, Sellers, and Guinness. Wealthy Lionel Twain (Capote, in his film debut), invites the world's greatest detectives to his eerie castle-like home. These counterparts to Miss Marple, Nick and Nora Charles, Sam Spade, Hercule Poirot, and Charlie Chan, tumble and fumble into the dungeonlike fortress full tilt and off tilt. They soon discover that Twain is holding them prisoner in a home suddenly covered with bars and steel doors, rooms that lead nowhere and everywhere, leaving them with the clue that a murder is about to be committed by one among them. Falk is terrific as the fiercely posturing Humphrey Bogart-Sam Spade prototype, with the other leading players not far behind him in a race for the insane asylum. Capote is so bad an actor that he's funny, which may or may not be the point. Producer Ray Stark, director Moore, screenwriter Neil Simon, and stars Falk, Coco, and Brennan teamed again two years later in the less successful parody THE CHEAP DETECTIVE.