Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
By Bill Desowitz
This is one of the best parodies of the '40s hardboiled detective
genre, with a very clever conceit: weaving the plot and production design
around memorable movie clips (The Killers, The Big Sleep, Double
Indemnity, The Lost Weekend, White Heat, This Gun for
Hire, Sorry, Wrong Number, Notorious). Steve Martin
plays the cool Rigby Reardon, who tries solving an incomprehensible
mystery with the assistance of Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Burt
Lancaster, Fred MacMurray, Ingrid Bergman, and Ray Milland, among others.
It's all silly hokum with Rachel Ward as the pretty moll and
director-cowriter Carl Reiner as the nefarious villain. Miklos Rozsa takes
us back to yesteryear with his lush score, and, fittingly, Edith Head
handles the period costumes in her final production.