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Murder by Death (1976)

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Five famous literary detective characters and their sidekicks are invited to a bizarre mansion to solve an even stranger mystery.

Director:

Robert Moore

Writer:

Neil Simon
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Popularity
4,178 ( 869)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Eileen Brennan ... Tess Skeffington
Truman Capote ... Lionel Twain
James Coco ... Milo Perrier
Peter Falk ... Sam Diamond
Alec Guinness ... Bensonmum
Elsa Lanchester ... Jessica Marbles
David Niven ... Dick Charleston
Peter Sellers ... Sidney Wang
Maggie Smith ... Dora Charleston
Nancy Walker ... Maid
Estelle Winwood ... Nurse
James Cromwell ... Marcel
Richard Narita ... Willie Wang
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Storyline

Despite not knowing him, the world's most famous detectives can't pass up the offer of a "dinner and murder" invitation from wealthy Lionel Twain. Each has no idea until their arrival at Two Two Twain who else will be in attendance. Those detectives are: amateur sleuths and New York City socialites Dick and Dora Charleston, accompanied by their pet terrier, Myron; Belgian detective Monsieur Milo Perrier, accompanied by his chauffeur, Marcel; Shanghainese Inspector Sidney Wang, accompanied by his Japanese adopted son, Willie Wang; frumpish Brit Miss Jessica Marbles, accompanied by her invalid nurse, Miss Withers; and San Francisco gumshoe Sam Diamond, accompanied by his femme fatale sidekick, Tess Skeffington. The dinner part of the invitation runs into problems due to the non-communication between Twain's blind butler, Jamesir Bensonmum, and Twain's new deaf-mute and non-Anglophone cook, Yetta. On the murder side, the guests initially believe Twain will try to kill each of them. ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Since June 23, 1976 millions of men and women have seen Neil Simon's "MURDER BY DEATH." Only 17 have understood the ending of the picture. Ask any one of them. Any one. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 June 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Neil Simon's Murder by Death See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$32,511,047, 31 December 1976

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$33,453,202
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Immediately after completing this movie, Peter Sellers was so convinced it was going to bomb, he convinced the producers to buy back his percentage share in the movie, thus depriving himself of a cut of the profits with the movie when it went on to be a hit. See more »

Goofs

(at around 49 mins) When Lionel Twain is leaving the dinner table, left arm alternately up/down between shots. See more »

Quotes

Lionel Twain: I trust you've all been made comfortable?
Dick Charleston: Comfortable, Mr. Twain? You call poisoned wine and near decapitation comfortable?
Lionel Twain: No. I call it inspiration.
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the opening credits begin, a pair of black-gloved hands come into frame to unlock and open a footlocker containing the cardboard cutouts of the characters. These characters are displayed with their respective name credit. As the closing credits end, the same pair of black-gloved hands come into frame to close and lock the footlocker. See more »

Alternate Versions

The original ABC Network broadcast of the film contained four additional scenes not found in the theatrical or DVD version. 1. Jessica Marbles' taxi driver (played by Peter Sellers) requests a large fare. 2. Dick and Dora Charleston narrowly avoid running over Tess Skeffington, who is walking back to Sam Diamond's car from a service station because she and Sam ran out of gas. Satisfied that Tess is all right, the Charlestons simply drive off, leaving her there. 3. When Willie Wang covers up the body of Twain, he finds a note in Twain's hand and smugly announces this to the others. 4. As the detectives drive away from Twain's house at the end of the film Inspector Wang and Willie pass another car carrying Sherlock Holmes (Keith McConnell) and Dr. Watson (Richard Peel) heading towards the Twain home. When Willie asks his father "Why didn't you warn them?" Wang replies "Let idiots find out for themselves." See more »

Connections

Spoofs To Have and Have Not (1944) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Silly Films
24 December 2004 | by otm___shankSee all my reviews

I will make myself out to be a lover of films with absolutely no point, i especially love this film. The cast alone should make this a film on everyones watch list, never before has so much quality been brought together on one screen. Peter Sellars, at the height of his comic brilliance. Sir Alec Guiness, brilliant in any role, a credit to English acting, possibly the greatest ever actor. David Niven is a brilliant actor, then there are the other roles filletted out with the likes of Dame Maggie Smith, James Coco, Peter Falk, i could go on but i am running out of superlatives to describe the talent on view.

The film itself is a pastiche of great detectives brought together to prove, who is the greatest? Added to the good script the talent of the actors, i am surprised the IMDb has rated this film so low, but i must accept that there are people on this earth, though inferior to me who are allowed to vote.

Watch it, it is worth it.


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