Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid Reviews
Director and co-writer Carl Reiner worked with Steve Martin in The Jerk, and if you're a fan of that film, you'll love this one too. Gorgeous Rachel Ward is the bombshell here who plays it straight. She has great comedic timing. The films used for footage here include many of the greatest of the 1940s, including: Double Indemnity, The Big Sleep, Sorry Wrong Number, and The Postman Always Rings Twice. Humphrey Bogart (as Rigby's partner) plays a larger role than the other noir-era actors. Probably my favorite blended scene combines Martin (and a puppy) with Jimmie Sue Alfeld's father (Edward Arnold), "It's all soft and steamy" will leave you rolling in the aisle.
I can't get enough of the film noir era and its style, so "Dead Men" has enticed me to see many of the classic films that contributed clips here. Further stunting my development, I cannot hear the term "cleaning woman" without laughing. This was the last film for Oscar-winning designer Edith Head and composer Miklos Rozsa.
Sorry, Terre Haute, IN.
I'm wondering what was the point in actually making this movie. I'm sure it was a lot of fun for the filmmakers to blend Steve Martin into classic film noirs especially in terms of matching the sets, the stand-ins and the musical score. But such cleverness doesn't extend to the actual script which didn't have much of a story. Many of the scenes seemed completely extraneous to the plot, designed merely to show off the great actors of yesteryear. At best, Steve Martin's goofy humor is only mildly amusing at times. The best jokes are trotted out more than once (e.g. Rigby's 'cleaning woman' tantrum and Rachel Ward sucking out the bullet from Rigby's arm). But for the most part DMWNP is not funny at all. The main problem is that no real dramatic interplay develops in this story. Because the story is basically a gimmick, Steve Martin merely interacts with a bunch of film clips and is not pitted against any significantly developed antagonists. The "B" Story, the love story between Steven Martin and Rachel Ward is simply a collection of juvenile sexual innuendos (for example, when Martin grabs Ward's breasts in the opening scene). If you take away all of Steve Martin's silly asides, you're pretty much left with a standard by-the-numbers film noir, thoroughly mediocre and uninspired.