Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid Review

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Juliet Forrest (Ward) enlists the assistance of a private Dic. Rigby Rrearden (Steve Martin) after the death of her cheese-Professor father under suspicious circumstances.


At the time, this was a tour de force of lighting and editing techniques: Martin, as a down-at-heel private detective, is ingeniously spliced into a series of clips from classic films noir of the 40s, thus pursuing a senseless plot via clues provided by Bogey, Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Barbara Stanwyck, Burt Lancaster et all. The resolution involves a fiendish Nazi cheese-bomb plot, but along the way Martin gets to do some of his funniest routines and have Rachel Ward suck the slugs from his wounds. Lucky man.

The technique used here to plonk Martin in classic movies seems out of place given the kind of sophisticated effects we have on tap today, but there is a real sense of fun at work nonetheless.