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Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid

Series: Director:

Can Steve Martin act opposite Humphrey Bogart? Does it work to intercut old films noir? Does the comedy kill the tone? Tune in to this week’s show to get answers to these questions and more!

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“You know how to dial, don’t you? You just put your finger in the hole and make a tiny little circle.”

When Steve Martin and Carl Reiner latched onto the idea of acting in a scene opposite characters in other movies, they thought it was pretty funny and thought it would be even funnier if they could do an entire movie that way. It took some work to get there, but they managed to pull off a pretty clever film in Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, even if they devolve into dumb comedy at times. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Steve Martin series with Reiner’s 1982 film Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid.

We talk about the nature of comedy, particularly when it’s a film that is operating as both a parody of and an homage to films noir – and why the silly humor they throw in sometimes just doesn’t work. We look at the brilliant technical feat it was to recreate costumes, sets, lighting designs, music, script, and more to make this movie work. We chat about Martin, Reiner, and Rachel Ward, and how well they work in the film. We chat about the origins of the film and why the story feels so convoluted. And we look at some other films that have tried to pull similar things off.

It’s a really interesting film in the lineup of Reiner/Martin collaborations, and we have a great time talking about it. Definitely check it out, then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

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