Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid [DVD] [1982]

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid's status as one of the least-known Steve Martin comedies makes this bare-bones, yet impressively transferred DVD curious in light of the fact that The Jerk still languishes on the format as a full-frame-only edition. Dead Men was an experiment in editing old movie footage with newly shot footage in order to create a new story. The non-anamorphic 1.85:1 digital transfer is another example of quality mastering by Universal (no matter how obscure the film) that proves it is fully committed to the format. Shot in black-and-white, the clearer, sharper picture looks great and blends well with the old footage. The transitions aren't entirely seamless, which is part of the comic effect. The two-channel mono soundtrack isn't exactly impressive, but for a film meant to invoke the old detective films of the 1940s, it suffices. Some production notes and a trailer are the only supplements. While Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid may not seem like a likely release for DVD above some other films, this edition is good enough to preserve the film for a while longer.
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Special Features

  • Production notes
  • Cast and filmmakers bios
  • Film highlights
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Web links


Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
In this post-modernist exercise, star/writer Steve Martin and director Carl Reiner spoof the film noir yarns of the '40s with Martin playing gumshoe Rigby Reardon, who interacts with a legion of Hollywood greats -- including Humphrey Bogart, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Edward Arnold, Barbara Stanwyck, Ingrid Bergman, Veronica Lake, Bette Davis, Lana Turner and Joan Crawford -- in a succession of intercut clips from seventeen vintage Hollywood films. Rigby is a low-rent detective (his fee is $10 per day) sitting in his office, waiting for something to happen. That something happens when the voluptuous Juliet Forrest (Rachel Ward) arrives in his office and faints dead away at the sight of a newspaper that reports on her father's death in a car accident. Juliet is convinced that her father was murdered and offers Rigby $200 to investigate. Upon searching Mr. Forrest's office, he comes upon a list of names under the headings "The Friends and Enemies of Carlotta." As the two delve deeper into the mystery and its requisite deceptions, they encounter an "exterminator," Juliet's surly Nazi butler, Field Marshal Von Kluck (Carl Reiner) and an overly helpful Mexican friend, Carlos Rodriguez (Reni Santoni). ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Steve Martin
    Steve Martin - Rigby Reardon
  • Rachel Ward
    Rachel Ward - Juliet Forrest
  • Reni Santoni
    Reni Santoni - Carlos Rodriguez
  • Carl Reiner
    Carl Reiner - Field Marshall Von Kluck
  • George Gaynes
    George Gaynes - Dr. Forrest

Overall Customer Rating

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