marți, 23 mai 2017

Murder by Death, by Neil Simon

Murder by Death, by Neil Simon

A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:

What a bizarre proposition!
This is not a bad comedy.

But given the circumstances, it is not what we could expect.
Just look at the cast

-          Alec Guiness as Bensonmum, the blind butler
-          David Niven as one of the five famous detectives
-          Peter Sellers, Peter Falk, Maggie Smith and...Truman Capote take part in this strange film.

Guests are invited to this strange mansion to solve a mystery.
But as soon as they arrive, the weird becomes more outrageous.

And murder attempts are made.
As soon as they arrive, they are targeted by  falling weights.

Their flair and experience save their lives.
There are humorous moments to be sure.

It is perhaps just a question of expecting such a stellar cast to offer an infinite flow of jokes and laughs.
The sound of the door bell is intriguing and amusing, if in a dark way.

It is the cry of a woman that we think had just been stabbed to death

Alec Guiness has an amusing name.
It sounds as if he says

-          Benson, Madame, for he is called Bensonmum.

Indeed, a few are taken in by this outer character.
When he comes with the soup that he needs to serve, he pours on the plate...

-          Nothing!

The man cannot see.

Some lines are good

I trusted a dame and...two hours later, the Germans marched into France.

Other parts of the dialogue could be enjoyed, depending on each individual's taste...

-          I smell gas
-          I can't help it, I'm old

-          Did you see that?
-          No
-          Neither did I.

A critic could say that the portrait of Sydney Wang is racist.
It reminds me of other roles in which Asians are depicted with arrogance and silliness.

A stupid stereotype had actors with exaggerated eye brows, simple to idiot conversation.
And bingo...

There's your monkey type of character.

Granted, Sydney Wang is played by Peter Sellers.
And he was a magnificent actor.

And Sydney Wang is not a helpless dumb.

And for all intents and purposes, this is a comedy and personages have to engage in absurd acts.

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