June 23rd, 2012: Murder by Death (1976)

Cast and Crew:  Neil Simon (Writer); Eileen Brennan, James Coco, Peter Sellers, David Niven, Maggie Smith, Elsa Lanchester, Nancy Walker, James Cromwell

What It’s About: Lionel Twain (Truman Capote) invites the five great private detectives to his mansion and informs them that there will be a murder at midnight.  Whomever can solve the murder will earn a million dollars-but when the butler Bensonmum (Alec Guinness) dies before midnight, will the detectives be able to figure out what’s really going on?

Why Watch it Today?: Peter Falk, who plays Sam Diamond (a parody of Sam Spade), died one year ago today.  Falk improved every movie he was in, and works wonderfully as part of the large ensemble cast of today’s film, so well, in fact, that it led to The Cheap Detective, a sequel featuring his Sam Diamond character.

Where to Get It:  Netflix (DVD); Amazon, iTunes or Vudu

Other Choices:  Falk played the storytelling grandfather from The Princess Bride, but one of my favorite roles he played was the baker turned sergeant in Castle Keep.

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