THE CHEAP DETECTIVE
2011, Sony Repertory (Columbia), 92 min, USA, Dir: Robert Moore

In this follow-up to MURDER BY DEATH, Peter Falk stars as Lou Peckinpaugh, a penny-pinching private eye trying to stay ahead of the police as he tracks down his partner’s killer and some missing diamonds in 1940s San Francisco. This loving parody of film noir - and Bogart movies in particular - rounds up all sorts of usual suspects, including Ann-Margret, Eileen Brennan, Sid Caesar, Madeline Kahn, Dom DeLuise, Stockard Channing and Louise Fletcher, to play the assorted femmes fatale, fall-guys, cops and crooks peopling Neil Simon’s gag-filled screenplay.


MURDER BY DEATH
1976, Sony Repertory (Columbia), 94 min, USA, Dir: Robert Moore

Eccentric millionaire Truman Capote invites six of the world’s greatest detectives to his mansion for “dinner and a murder.” When the sleuths (Peter Sellers, David Niven, Maggie Smith, James Coco, Peter Falk and Elsa Lanchester) arrive and discover that the host is the apparent victim, they attempt to solve the puzzle and survive the evening themselves. Neil Simon’s dazzling script parodies virtually all the conventions of the murder mystery while throwing in enough red herrings to keep the audience guessing until the very end. With Alec Guinness.


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