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Murder by Death (1976)

Trailer
3:07 | Trailer
Five famous literary detective characters and their sidekicks are invited to a bizarre mansion to solve an even stranger mystery.

Director:

Robert Moore

Writer:

Neil Simon
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Trying to find how a millionaire wound up with a phony diamond brings Hercule Poirot (Sir Peter Ustinov) to an exclusive island resort frequented by the rich and famous. When a murder is committed, everyone has an alibi.

Director: Guy Hamilton
Stars: Peter Ustinov, James Mason, Maggie Smith
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Eileen Brennan ... Tess Skeffington
Truman Capote ... Lionel Twain
James Coco ... Milo Perrier
Peter Falk ... Sam Diamond
Alec Guinness ... Bensonmum
Elsa Lanchester ... Jessica Marbles
David Niven ... Dick Charleston
Peter Sellers ... Sidney Wang
Maggie Smith ... Dora Charleston
Nancy Walker ... Maid
Estelle Winwood ... Nurse
James Cromwell ... Marcel
Richard Narita ... Willie Wang
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Storyline

Despite not knowing him, the world's most famous detectives can't pass up the offer of a "dinner and murder" invitation from wealthy Lionel Twain. Each has no idea until their arrival at Two Two Twain who else will be in attendance. Those detectives are: amateur sleuths and New York City socialites Dick and Dora Charleston, accompanied by their pet terrier, Myron; Belgian detective Monsieur Milo Perrier, accompanied by his chauffeur, Marcel; Shanghainese Inspector Sidney Wang, accompanied by his Japanese adopted son, Willie Wang; frumpish Brit Miss Jessica Marbles, accompanied by her invalid nurse, Miss Withers; and San Francisco gumshoe Sam Diamond, accompanied by his femme fatale sidekick, Tess Skeffington. The dinner part of the invitation runs into problems due to the non-communication between Twain's blind butler, Jamesir Bensonmum, and Twain's new deaf-mute and non-Anglophone cook, Yetta. On the murder side, the guests initially believe Twain will try to kill each of them. ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

By the time the world's greatest detectives figure out whodunnit... you could die laughing! See more »


Certificate:

AL | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 June 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Crimen por muerte See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$32,511,047, 31 December 1976

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$33,453,202
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although Nancy Walker and Estelle Winwood's characters are listed in the final credits as simply "The Maid" and "The Nurse", they are blatantly named during the movie as "Yetta" and "Miss Withers". See more »

Goofs

At one point, Monsieur Perrier is separated from the others by a locked door. Sam Diamond solves the problem by shooting out the lock. However, later, when he and Miss Skeffington are locked in their bedroom, it doesn't occur to Diamond to free them using the same method. See more »

Quotes

Sidney Wang: Butler only killed to divert us from real murder still to come.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: Starring (In Diabolical Order) See more »

Alternate Versions

The original ABC Network broadcast of the film contained four additional scenes not found in the theatrical or DVD version. 1. Jessica Marbles' taxi driver (played by Peter Sellers) requests a large fare. 2. Dick and Dora Charleston narrowly avoid running over Tess Skeffington, who is walking back to Sam Diamond's car from a service station because she and Sam ran out of gas. Satisfied that Tess is all right, the Charlestons simply drive off, leaving her there. 3. When Willie Wang covers up the body of Twain, he finds a note in Twain's hand and smugly announces this to the others. 4. As the detectives drive away from Twain's house at the end of the film Inspector Wang and Willie pass another car carrying Sherlock Holmes (Keith McConnell) and Dr. Watson (Richard Peel) heading towards the Twain home. When Willie asks his father "Why didn't you warn them?" Wang replies "Let idiots find out for themselves." See more »

Connections

Spoofs The House Without a Key (1926) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Great Comic Ensemble Piece
13 June 2004 | by fx_gentSee all my reviews

This movie is a wonderful example of what you can achieve when you combine a great script with a fantastic cast. It is one of the great comic ensemble films, ranking up there along with Its a Mad, Mad, Mad World and Clue. I have loved this film since I first saw it back in the 70s and still find it just as funny today. I had hoped for sometime that a special DVD would be released to mark this film and allow us to know more about how it was made and hear comments from the surviving cast. Sadly, the DVD does have a great interview with Neil Simon, but nothing else. I was also disappointed to see absent missing scenes, especially the one showing Sherlock Holmes showing up at the end. Still, it was great to retire my dogeared video tape.


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