Murder By Death

“Just as I thought — another jest that could’ve cost us our lives, saved only by the fact that I am enormously well-bred.”

Neil Simon saw Alec Guinness reading the script for “Star Wars” on the set of “Murder By Death,” and very soon after that, Guinness would be known as Obi Wan Kenobi to the world. But there is so much more to Guinness before that series of films, and in this particular series, so much humor. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we close out our Sir Alec Guinness series with Robert Moore’s 1976 film “Murder By Death.” We talk about Neil Simon’s comedy writing here, how it worked for us now, and, for Pete, how it’s changed since he first saw it when he was young — the story definitely has aged. We chat about Guinness’s performance as Jamesir Bensonmum, the blind butler, and how much we love what he brings to the table here. We discuss the other actors — the detectives played by Peter Falk, Peter Sellers, James Coco, David Niven, Elsa Lanchester; their seconds including Maggie Smith, Eileen Brennan and a very young James Cromwell; and in a surprising turn, Truman Capote as the mysterious host. We touch on Dave Grusin and what he brings to the table as the composer. And we can’t help but compare the movie to “Clue,” the one that we both hold in our hearts as a guilty pleasure. It’s a light and inconsequential film to talk about, despite its story problems. It’s worth a watch. Then tune in once you have!

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