Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

Watch Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

  • PG
  • 1982
  • 1 hr 28 min
  • 6.8  (23,617)
  • 67

In 1982, director Carl Reiner released a unique film experience that blended classic film noir with new footage to create a hilarious and thrilling detective story. Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid stars Steve Martin as Rigby Reardon, a private eye in Los Angeles during the golden age of film noir. Reardon is hired to investigate the death of a famous scientist, and quickly becomes embroiled in a dangerous conspiracy that involves Nazi spies, government officials, and a beautiful femme fatale named Juliet Forrest, played by Rachel Ward.

But what sets Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid apart from other detective films is that Reiner and Martin have woven together scenes and footage from classic films of the 1940s, including Double Indemnity, This Gun for Hire, and The Big Sleep. By integrating old footage with new, the film creates a cinematic universe that feels both familiar and fresh, as Martin interacts with some of the biggest stars of Hollywood's golden age.

As Reardon delves deeper into the case, he finds himself moving back and forth between the world of the present and the world of classic cinema, as he pieces together clues and tries to stay alive. Along the way, he meets a series of potential suspects and allies, each played by a different classic actor or actress. Alan Ladd appears as Captain Swaggert, a tough-talking police detective who helps Reardon on the case. Ava Gardner plays the sultry singer, Carlotta, who may know more than she lets on. And Humphrey Bogart makes an appearance as Philip Marlowe, one of the most famous detectives in the history of film noir.

While the concept of blending old and new film footage may seem gimmicky, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid impressively manages to seamlessly incorporate the old footage with the new. Reiner and his team of editors and cinematographers carefully studied the films they wanted to use and were able to match the lighting, angle, and shots of the original footage to create a cohesive world that feels like it was all shot at once. Thanks to the skillful editing, Martin is even able to share a scene with Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant, stars who had passed away long before the film was made.

But Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid isn't just a technical feat. The film is also a hilarious and clever send-up of the noir genre. Martin's deadpan delivery and physical comedy provide endless laughs, while the dialogue and references to classic films will keep film buffs entertained. The film also pokes fun at the genre's tropes, such as the habit of giving women ridiculous names (Juliet Forrest is just one example), and the fact that no one in a noir film seems to trust anyone else.

As the case unfolds, Reardon finds himself getting deeper and deeper into trouble. He's constantly being followed, threatened, and beaten up, but he persists in his investigation, determined to get to the bottom of the conspiracy. Along the way, he also falls for Juliet Forrest, who may or may not be on his side.

The film's climax is suitably thrilling, with Reardon chasing down the bad guys and getting into a series of fights and shootouts. The final scene even features a surprise twist that is sure to make audiences gasp.

Overall, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid is a creative and entertaining film that successfully blends classic cinema with modern comedy. Martin is at his comedic best, and the film's use of old footage is an impressive feat of editing and cinematography. While the film may not be for everyone (some may find the concept gimmicky or confusing), it's definitely worth a watch for fans of film noir, classic Hollywood, or just good old-fashioned comedy.

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid is a 1982 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 28 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8 and a MetaScore of 67.

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 28 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.8  (23,617)
  • Metascore