Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982) Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

I didn’t enjoy this film. There, I said it.

It’s far too slow, it doesn’t really go anywhere and Nazis appear randomly at the end. That probably sounds funny, depending on your sense of humour. At least, it’s supposed to be. Noir and Comedy are rarely two genres that cross paths. Yet that’s the very crux of this film.

Steve Martin plays Rigby Reardonm whose very motto is to stay away from women. He can screw them, but heaven forbid he cares for one. Then walks in Juliet Forrest (played by Rachel Ward), a beautiful woman that happens to faint in their first meeting.

Rigby catches her, but don’t mistake him for a gentleman, he is anything but. Kissing a woman whilst she’s unconscious is hardly romantic, but this film plays it off as a gag.

Everything is too serious in this film. They try to be funny, but without ever winking at the camera. The plot is a mess, jumping from one story to the next. Rigby gets shot several times, only to have Juliet pull a bullet out with her teeth like some sort of magician.

This happens several times throughout the film. Rigby gets drugged by women, several times as well. The romantic aspect is stale. There is very little truly exciting that ever gets this film going. Even the climax is underwhelming, with a halfhearted chase scene.

Only thing that saves this film is the way they integrate a whole bunch of older films throughout its run. It cuts back and forth between actors that today are long since dead in an interesting and sometimes funny way. I get the feeling if you’ve seen all those other older films, this one might be funnier. Without those references, it’s hard to say. I haven’t watched the majority of those 1940s and 50s films shown to know.

I think it’s an interesting gimmick that this film does, but it’s too bad it isn’t enough.

The thing is, Steve Martin is a good actor and in other roles, has been very funny. Just not in this film.

This is one you can miss, it’s stale, and with a barely noteworthy trick.

All About Eve Review:

[This Review Contains Spoilers]

This film reminds of Sunset Boulevard, both films came out in the same year, touching on very similar themes. Mainly, abusive relationships and manipulative women. They have different takes on the same subject.

Sunset Boulevard, the main character is killed rather dramatically by a woman. She tried to keep that man the way a spider clings to a fly. Yet in some ways didn’t even mean to do it (you could argue), due to her mental instability.

All About Eve is far more purposeful and you’re not even sure where it’s going to begin with. Eve seems to be the perfect loyal fan to Margo (a great Broadway star). She takes care of everything, studying her, almost as if to become her. It feels creepy, but innocent to begin with.

Margo catches on long before her friends do, and they then declare her paranoid. She even briefly loses her boyfriend, Bill, over the incident.

She becomes angry, suspicious and a woman scorned.

Bette Davis adds such a vulnerability to Margo through her performance, it’s beyond commendable. The emotions that play on her face, the nuances, the way she can move from one feeling to the next. It’s fantastic and one of the most important reasons to watch this film.

Another is to see Marilyn Monroe early in her career. It’s interesting because she isn’t the draw of this film but you see the early glimmers of what makes her one later in her life. She had a winning smile and it’s nice watching her knowing what she later becomes.

Anne Baxter was great as Eve. The character played nice, the victim, the ‘lost lamb’ until her mask slips. She’s a bitch that’ll do anything to be a star, and that’s what she becomes. Ironically not understanding when the same process of physiological exploitation begins on her at the end of the film.

The best part about this film is the writing, it’s just so damn good. When the characters are spending time with each other, they act just like old friends do. The dialogue is perfect in scenes like that. I loved almost every written line, because they were clever, even witty.

In the end of the film Eve wins a trophy, all Margo says to her is: “Nice speech, Eve. But I wouldn’t worry too much about your heart. You can always put that award where your heart ought to be.”

It’s great. I loved it. A very satisfying line and film.

The ultimate problem I had with it is how some of the women are treated. Eve is a terrible person, but she gets slapped by Addison, a man that knows all her secrets. He declares that she belongs to him. That came across as harsh, then again maybe that’s the point of the film? That there are ‘villains’ everywhere. I’m not sure. He also seemingly abandons her at the end of the film, it’s odd and doesn’t make much sense. Perhaps a bit of irony?

Regardless, I still think it’s a great picture. It’s awesome watching Eve use everyone in Margo’s life for her own benefit only for it to blow up on her. I still love this film and think it’s worth a watch. A true classic.