Saturday, October 16, 2010
Guest Review: Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982)
With Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982), Steve Martin tried another send-up of old movies, this time with an eye toward comedy. Whether it’s actually funny or not is for others to judge. I’ve seen it too many times to offer a valid opinion. For me, the appeal of the film is the gimmick of watching Martin seemingly interact with the stars of old 1940 film noir thrillers such as Humphrey Bogart and Veronica Lake.
It is interesting to note that in this day of digital imaging and green-screen photography, all of these effects were managed through the use of creative editing and trick photography.
Martin appears in drag twice; three times if you include a sequence lifted from In a Lonely Place (1950), which was edited out of the theatrical release, but reinserted for television. Other films referenced include Suspicion (1941), This Gun for Hire (1942), The Glass Key (1942), Double Indemnity (1946), The Big Sleep (1946), and White Heat (1949).
The Lost Weekend (1945), The Killers (1946), and The Bribe (1949).
The film is also dedicated to Edith Head, who is arguably the most famous costume designer in Hollywood history. Her career spanned more than 50 years, and covered films of every genre. Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid was her final film.