Clue (1985)

PG | 88 mins | Comedy, Mystery | 13 December 1985

Director:

Jonathan Lynn

Writer:

Jonathan Lynn

Producer:

Debra Hill

Cinematographer:

Victor J. Kemper

Production Designer:

John Lloyd
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HISTORY

End credits include the following acknowledgment: "Clue and Cluedo are trademarks of Waddingtons and Parker Brothers for their world famous board game."
       The 23 Oct 1980 HR announced that producer Debra Hill had purchased screen rights to the popular Parker Brothers board game, “Clue,” with plans to turn it into a feature film. The game was based on the 1942 British board game “Cluedo,” and was licensed by Parker Brothers in 1949, as reported in the 22 May 1985 LADN.
       Parker Brothers conditions for the sale stipulated that the trademark symbol be included in the film’s title, according to the 20 May 1985 LAHExam, and that the movie would be devoid of profanities, as stated in the 24 Aug 1985 Screen International.
       The 16 Nov 1981 DV reported that Universal Pictures would produce the picture, with Lynda Obst teaming with Hill. However, four years later, the 5 Feb 1985 NYT explained that Hill had approached Paramount Studios six years prior, but after they turned the project down, she contracted with Guber-Peters Productions, who then approached Universal president, Ned Tanen, for financing. The film was put on hold for four months in 1982 after Tanen left Universal, but found a home at Paramount when Tanen became president of its motion-picture division.
       Turning the board game into a screenplay posed challenges for Hill, who reported in the 5 Feb 1985 NYT that most writers were opposed to the restriction of working with pre-existing characters. According to the 25 Aug 1985 NYT, Hill approached dozens of screenwriters before John Landis, ... More Less

End credits include the following acknowledgment: "Clue and Cluedo are trademarks of Waddingtons and Parker Brothers for their world famous board game."
       The 23 Oct 1980 HR announced that producer Debra Hill had purchased screen rights to the popular Parker Brothers board game, “Clue,” with plans to turn it into a feature film. The game was based on the 1942 British board game “Cluedo,” and was licensed by Parker Brothers in 1949, as reported in the 22 May 1985 LADN.
       Parker Brothers conditions for the sale stipulated that the trademark symbol be included in the film’s title, according to the 20 May 1985 LAHExam, and that the movie would be devoid of profanities, as stated in the 24 Aug 1985 Screen International.
       The 16 Nov 1981 DV reported that Universal Pictures would produce the picture, with Lynda Obst teaming with Hill. However, four years later, the 5 Feb 1985 NYT explained that Hill had approached Paramount Studios six years prior, but after they turned the project down, she contracted with Guber-Peters Productions, who then approached Universal president, Ned Tanen, for financing. The film was put on hold for four months in 1982 after Tanen left Universal, but found a home at Paramount when Tanen became president of its motion-picture division.
       Turning the board game into a screenplay posed challenges for Hill, who reported in the 5 Feb 1985 NYT that most writers were opposed to the restriction of working with pre-existing characters. According to the 25 Aug 1985 NYT, Hill approached dozens of screenwriters before John Landis, who was set to direct at the time, and executive producer, Peter Guber, found British writer, Jonathan Lynn. Due to the strength of his screenplay, Lynn was hired to direct his first feature film and Landis’s role switched from director to executive producer.
       The $8 million picture would begin shooting May 1985 on the Paramount Studio Lot in Los Angeles, CA, as noted in a 13 Feb 1985 Var news item.
       According to the 25 Apr 1985 DV, actress Carrie Fisher was cast in the picture, but dropped out a few weeks later, as announced in the 14 May 1985 LAHExam, when she checked into a drug dependency recovery program. Lesley Ann Warren, who was originally cast as “Mrs. White,” was moved into Fisher’s role of “Miss Scarlet,” and Madeline Kahn was hired to play “Mrs. White.” According to the 25 Aug 1985 NYT, the actors received equal pay, as was negotiated in their contracts.
       The 19 Jun 1985 LAT stated the script for Clue included four different endings to keep the mystery alive for the cast, and to prevent the identity of the film’s killer being leaked to the public. With an expected Christmas 1985 release, rumors persisted that the picture would have four and six different finales, with exhibitors planning to rotate the versions. However, Hill claimed intentions of filming only one ending. According to the 25 Aug 1985 NYT, writer-director Lynn stated he would decide on the ending during the editing process, with the possibility of releasing various versions to theatres. The 24 Aug 1985 Screen International reported the budget had increased to $10 million.
       Clue was released 13 Dec 1985 on 1000 screens “with three different endings” for theatres, while the home video versions would reportedly include each of the endings, as stated in a 4 Dec 1985 DV news item.
       According to the 31 Dec 1985 DV, Paramount was planning to change its approach midway through the film’s domestic release, showing all three endings at every theater engagement. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
16 Nov 1981.
---
Daily Variety
25 Apr 1985.
---
Daily Variety
23 May 1985.
---
Daily Variety
1 Jul 1985.
---
Daily Variety
4 Dec 1985.
---
Daily Variety
31 Dec 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Oct 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Dec 1985
p. 3, 13.
LAHExam
14 May 1985
Section A, p. 2.
LAHExam
20 May 1985
Section C, p. 3.
Los Angeles Daily News
22 May 1985.
---
Los Angeles Times
19 Jun 1985.
---
Los Angeles Times
13 Dec 1985
p. 6.
New York Times
5 Feb 1985.
---
New York Times
25 Aug 1985
pp. 15-16.
New York Times
13 Dec 1985
p. 16.
Screen International
24 Aug 1985.
---
Variety
13 Feb 1985.
---
Variety
18 Dec 1985
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures presents
A Guber--Peters Production in association with Polygram Pictures
and Debra Hill Productions
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d, 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Chief rigging elec
Lamp op
1st company grip
2d company grip
2d company grip
Crab dolly op
Grip
Still photog
Spec photog by
Lenses and Panaflex® cam by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Set des
Set des
Prop lead person
Swing gang
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const foreman
2d const foreman
Paint foreman
Prod painter
Laborer
COSTUMES
Cost des
Costumer
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus ed
Orch
Mus scoring mixer
SOUND
Supv sd eff ed
Supv sd eff ed
Sd mixer
Boom op
Dial ed
Dial ed
ADR supv ed
ADR ed
ADR asst ed
Sd eff asst ed
Sd eff apprentice ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff
Matte consultant
Matte artist
Matte photog
Titles & opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Body makeup
Body makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Asst to Ms. Hill
Asst to Mr. Lynn
Asst to Mr. Chernov
Prod auditor
Asst auditor
Unit pub
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Extra casting
Wrangler
Video playback
Research asst
Craft service
Asst to exec prod
Driver
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunt coord
Utility stunt coord
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based upon the Parker Brothers' Board Game Clue®.
SONGS
“Sh-Boom” by J. Keyes, C. Feaster, C. Feaster, F. McRae, and J. Edwards
“Shake, Rattle and Roll” by C. Calhoun.
DETAILS
Release Date:
13 December 1985
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 13 December 1985
Production Date:
began 20 May 1985 in Los Angeles, CA
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
30 April 1986
Copyright Number:
PA288763
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® Cameras by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
88
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27986
SYNOPSIS

On a rainy New England night in 1954, a butler named Wadsworth readies the Hill House estate for a dinner party. As the guests arrive, Wadsworth assigns them aliases to use for the evening, and instructs them not to use their real names. Over dinner, the guests, Mrs. Peacock, Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Professor Plum, Miss Scarlet, and Mr. Boddy learn they all live or work in Washington, D.C., and demand to know why they are there, as they have all received a mysterious invitation requesting their attendance. In the study, Wadsworth, also unaware of the party’s host, reads a letter instructing him to explain the guests’ presence. As Mr. Boddy grows tired of the mystery and attempts to leave, he finds that all the doors and windows are locked, and the house is surrounded by attack dogs. Back in the study, Wadsworth shares that all the guests have secrets and that they have all been blackmailed by an unknown person. The letter instructs the butler to shed light on the partygoers’ secrets, and includes evidence of their misdeeds ranging from bribery, prostitution, and immoral conduct. Curious to learn Mr. Boddy’s secret, Wadsworth names him as the guests’s blackmailer, and reports that the police will arrive in forty-five minutes to arrest him. However, Mr. Boddy claims he has evidence that will keep them silent about his blackmailing scheme. Giving each of the guests a wrapped box, Mr. Boddy explains his letter from the unknown host revealed who would be in attendance. As the boxes are opened to reveal a candlestick, a rope, a lead pipe, a wrench, ... +


On a rainy New England night in 1954, a butler named Wadsworth readies the Hill House estate for a dinner party. As the guests arrive, Wadsworth assigns them aliases to use for the evening, and instructs them not to use their real names. Over dinner, the guests, Mrs. Peacock, Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Professor Plum, Miss Scarlet, and Mr. Boddy learn they all live or work in Washington, D.C., and demand to know why they are there, as they have all received a mysterious invitation requesting their attendance. In the study, Wadsworth, also unaware of the party’s host, reads a letter instructing him to explain the guests’ presence. As Mr. Boddy grows tired of the mystery and attempts to leave, he finds that all the doors and windows are locked, and the house is surrounded by attack dogs. Back in the study, Wadsworth shares that all the guests have secrets and that they have all been blackmailed by an unknown person. The letter instructs the butler to shed light on the partygoers’ secrets, and includes evidence of their misdeeds ranging from bribery, prostitution, and immoral conduct. Curious to learn Mr. Boddy’s secret, Wadsworth names him as the guests’s blackmailer, and reports that the police will arrive in forty-five minutes to arrest him. However, Mr. Boddy claims he has evidence that will keep them silent about his blackmailing scheme. Giving each of the guests a wrapped box, Mr. Boddy explains his letter from the unknown host revealed who would be in attendance. As the boxes are opened to reveal a candlestick, a rope, a lead pipe, a wrench, a revolver, and a knife, Mr. Boddy suggests that one of the guests should use their weapon to kill Wadsworth, since he holds the keys to the doors, and knows all of their secrets. Mr. Boddy shuts off the lights to create an opportunity for the murder. In the darkness, a thud is heard, and a gun is fired. When the lights are turned on, Mr. Boddy lies dead. As there is no gunshot wound, the guests try to determine who the murderer is, and what weapon was used. Elsewhere in the manor, Yvette, the maid, screams, and when the others find her, she admits to hearing everything, and is terrified of the murderer. Wadsworth later reveals that he was the one who sent the letters, as he had also been blackmailed by Mr. Boddy when he worked for him as a butler. Learning of Wadsworth’s wife’s socialist associations, Mr. Boddy enslaved the couple. In turn, they could not pay him off, and it prompted the suicide of Wadsworth’s wife. Wadsworth planned the evening so Mr. Boddy’s victims could confront him, and have him arrested. As the guests accuse each other of Mr. Boddy’s murder, they discover the cook has also been killed. Back in the study, the body of Mr. Boddy disappears, then turns up in the hallway, making it unclear where the murder occurred. Later, a motorist with a broken down car comes to the door to use the telephone, and the guests worry he will see the dead bodies, so Wadsworth locks him in the lounge while he makes his phone call. Fearing there is someone else in the house committing the murders, the guests split into pairs to search the manor. Meanwhile, an unseen figure destroys the evidence, then sneaks into the lounge and murders the motorist, just as he admits over the telephone to recognizing one of the party goers as his former boss. Discovering a secret passage, Miss Scarlet and Colonel Mustard enter the lounge, and find the slain motorist. Later, a policeman arrives, searching for the owner of the broken down car, and when he asks to use the telephone, his suspicions are aroused by the anxious guests. When someone cuts the power and shuts off the lights, Yvette and the policeman are murdered, along with a woman who came to the door as a singing telegram. Wadsworth claims to know who the murderer is, and replays the night’s events outloud, revealing that the motorist, the policeman, and the singing telegram woman were all Mr. Boddy’s accomplices, and not there by chance. Wadsworth accuses Yvette of the first few murders, and, suggesting that Miss Scarlet was her employer, accuses her of the remaining killings. Miss Scarlet pulls the revolver from her purse and confesses to stealing her fellow partygoers’ secrets, then threatens them to keep quiet about the murders. Noting that Wadsworth has no secrets for which to be silenced, Miss Scarlet prepares to shoot him, but he declares she is out of bullets. Before she can challenge his attentions, the police arrive and arrest her. However, another ending is suggested with Mrs. Peacock as the guilty party. As a ruse, Wadsworth does not have her arrested, claiming he approves of Mr. Boddy’s murder, while outside, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) awaits to arrest her. In a third scenario, the truth is at last revealed, that each guest is guilty of one of the night’s murders. Wadsworth admits he is the real Mr. Boddy, and suggests they depart without involving the police. Mr. Green refuses to allow the blackmailing to continue, and shoots Wadsworth. Revealing that he is an FBI agent, Mr. Green opens the door for his awaiting men, and has the murdering guests arrested. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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