Thirty-five years ago today, the film Clue premiered. We played the board game out at the lake cabin growing up and I remember when the film premiered, with it’s three endings and stellar cast. The film is a screwball comedy, a whodunit, and a murder mystery. You have to watch this film.
Directed by: Jonathan Lynn
Produced by: Debra Hill
Screenplay by: Jonathan Lynn
Story by: Jonathan Lynn, John Landis
Based on: Cluedo by Anthony E. Pratt
Starring: Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, Lesley Ann Warren
Music by: John Morris
Cinematography: Victor J. Kemper
Edited by: David Bretherton, Richard Haines
Production company: Guber-Peters Company, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Debra Hill Productions
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Release date: December 13, 1985
Running time: 96 minutes
Budget: $15 million
Box office: $14.6 million
In 1954, six strangers are invited to a secluded New England mansion. Met by Wadsworth the butler and Yvette the maid, each guest is given a pseudonym: Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Mrs. Peacock, Mr. Green, Professor Plum, and Miss Scarlet.
A seventh guest arrives—Mr. Boddy, whom Wadsworth reveals has been blackmailing the others: Mrs. Peacock was accused of taking bribes for her husband, a US senator; Mrs. White is suspected in the death of her husband, a nuclear physicist; Professor Plum had an affair with a patient, losing his medical license; Miss Scarlet runs an underground brothel in Washington, D.C.; Colonel Mustard is a war profiteer; and Mr. Green is a homosexual, a secret that would cost him his State Department job. Wadsworth explains he gathered everyone to confront Mr. Boddy.
Threatening to expose the guests if he is arrested, Mr. Boddy gives them each a weapon—a candlestick, dagger, lead pipe, revolver, rope, and wrench. Demanding that someone kill Wadsworth, he turns out the lights. A gunshot rings out, and the lights are turned on to reveal Mr. Boddy apparently dead, without any indication as to how.
Wadsworth explains that his wife committed suicide due to Mr. Boddy’s blackmail (because she refused to name friends who were socialists), and he had summoned the guests to force a confession out of Mr. Boddy and turn him over to the police. The cook is found dead, stabbed by the dagger. Mr. Boddy’s body disappears but is rediscovered, killed with the candlestick.
The weapons are locked in the cupboard, and a stranded motorist arrives; he is locked in the lounge, and a key believed to be that to the weapons cupboard is thrown outdoors. While the guests search the mansion in pairs, someone burns the blackmail evidence, unlocks the cupboard, and kills the motorist with the wrench. Discovering a secret passage, Colonel Mustard and Miss Scarlet find themselves locked in the lounge with the motorist’s corpse, until Yvette shoots the door open with the revolver.
A police officer investigating the motorist’s abandoned car arrives to use the phone. The mansion receives a call from J. Edgar Hoover, which Wadsworth takes alone. Successfully distracting the cop, the guests resume their search until the electricity is turned off. Yvette, the cop, and a singing telegram girl are murdered with the rope, lead pipe, and revolver, respectively.
Wadsworth and the others regroup after he turns the electricity back on, and he reveals he knows who the murderer is. Recreating the night’s events, Wadsworth explains that the five other victims were Mr. Boddy’s informants. An evangelist interrupts the gathering, but Wadsworth continues his explanation.
In the theatrical screening, audiences would be shown one of three endings. All three are included in the home media release, with interstitial titlecards stating that “Ending A” and “Ending B” were possible endings, while “Ending C” as how events actually occurred.
Yvette murdered the cook and Mr. Boddy on orders from Miss Scarlet, for whom she once worked as a call girl. Scarlet then killed Yvette and the other victims. Planning to sell the guests’ secrets, Scarlet prepares to shoot Wadsworth, who asserts there are no more bullets, and disarms Scarlet as law enforcement raid the house. The evangelist, revealed to be the police chief, congratulates Wadsworth – an undercover FBI agent. Wadsworth attempts to demonstrate the revolver was empty, but a remaining bullet brings down the chandelier, narrowly missing Mustard.
Mrs. Peacock killed all the victims to conceal her taking bribes from foreign powers. She holds the others at gunpoint while escaping to her car, but is caught by the police chief. Wadsworth reveals he is an undercover FBI agent sent to investigate her.
Professor Plum missed Mr. Boddy with the gunshot but later killed him with the candlestick; Mrs. Peacock stabbed the cook, her former employee; Colonel Mustard bludgeoned the motorist, his driver during World War II; Mrs. White strangled Yvette out of jealousy and hatred for the latter’s affair with her husband; and Miss Scarlet clubbed the cop, whom she was bribing. Wadsworth reveals he shot the singing telegram girl, and is the real Mr. Boddy; Plum killed his butler. With his accomplices disposed of, he plans to continue blackmailing the guests. Mr. Green kills Mr. Boddy with another gun, revealing he is an undercover FBI agent. He brings in the chief to arrest the others, declaring, “I’m gonna go home and sleep with my wife”, revealing that his earlier stated homosexuality was merely part of his cover.