December 28th, 2004

This IS me (by schwitters)Default

The Case of the Murdered Girl with Big Tits

'If you need me, just call. You know how to dial, don't you? You just put your finger into the hole and make tiny little circles...'

I've been at kowarth's watching Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, my entirely altruistic and non-ulteriorly-motivated Christmas gift to him.

Shot in black-and-white in 1982 and starring Steve Martin as hardboiled private eye Rigby Reardon, it's a brilliant film noir spoof filled with every cliché of the genre. Footage from great movies of the 1940s is cunningly spliced in; clever use of dialogue, costume and sets allow Reardon to interact with Vincent Price, Kirk Douglas and Cary Grant, and put Humphrey Bogart as Marlowe to work on the case. Surreal Naked Gun-esque humour and deadpanned wacky lines ("Can I use her underwear to make soup?") add to the fun.

I have a lot of time for Steve Martin. I've seen Parenthood more than twice - on purpose, too! He's a brilliant physical and verbal comedian, not to mention rather easy on the eye. I'd be the first to admit, however, that many of his films are spoiled by a trowel-applied layer of schmaltz (yes, yes, I liked Roxanne all the same), so it's nice to see him in his more manic and bastardly rôles. Dead Men comes between The Jerk and The Man with Two Brains in the Martin canon, and I believe this period represents the pinnacle of his performing career.

Steve Martin in a trenchcoat battling Nazis and holding a puppy. My perfect film!

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