Murder by Death [DVD] [1976]

The '70s detective spoof Murder by Death arrives on DVD for the first time on Columbia TriStar. This two-sided disc offers both widescreen and full-screen versions with mono soundtracks in either English or Spanish. Subtitles are available in Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai. Extra features include talent files for Robert Moore, Neil Simon, Truman Capote, Peter Falk, Peter Sellers, David Niven, Maggie Smith, and Alec Guinness. This DVD also contains production notes, an interview segment with Neil Simon, and theatrical trailers for Murder by Death and The Cheap Detective. This is an excellent release of a star-studded comedy classic.
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Ratings & Reviews

Overall Customer Rating:
Rating 4.7 out of 5 stars.
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (7 out of 7)

Special Features

  • Exclusive interview: A conversation with Neil Simon
  • Theatrical trailers
  • Talent files
  • Production notes


Murder by Death
As penned by Neil Simon, this satire of movie mysteries is set in motion when several prominent detectives are invited to the mansion of the reclusive Lionel Twain (Truman Capote). In Ten Little Indians fashion, the gathered sleuths are locked into the forbidding mansion, and subject to various death-dealing devices. While struggling for their lives, the vainglorious gumshoes continue to try to one-up one another. Each character is broadly based on a famous literary detective: Sidney Wang (Peter Sellers) is an aphorism-spouting Charlie Chan clone: Dick and Dora Charleston (David Niven and Maggie Smith) are patterned on the protagonists of the Thin Man flicks; Milo Perrier (James Coco), a Hercule Poirot takeoff, stalks through the proceedings declaring "I'm a Belgie, not a Frenchie!"; Sam Diamond (Peter Falk) is Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe and Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade rolled in one; and Jessica Marbles (Elsa Lanchester) is a dottier variation of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. Best bit: a "conversation" between blind butler Jamessir Bensonmum (Alec Guinness) and deaf-mute maid Yetta (Nancy Walker). The fade-out gag of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson showing up late for Lionel Twain's party was edited from the theatrical version of Murder by Death, but was restored for TV. The film marked the big-screen directorial debut of Robert Moore, who'd previously directed several of Neil Simon's Broadway productions. Moore went on to direct another Simon spoof, The Cheap Detective (1978), before his untimely death. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Eileen Brennan
    Eileen Brennan - Tess Skeffington
  • Truman Capote
    Truman Capote - Lionel Twain
  • James Coco
    James Coco - Milo Perrier
  • Peter Falk
    Peter Falk - Sam Diamond
  • Alec Guinness
    Alec Guinness - Jamessir Bensonmum, the Butler

Overall Customer Rating

4.7 out of 54.7
7 Reviews
100%of customers recommend this product.

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