DEAD MEN DON'T WEAR PLAID (1982) B/W widescreen 89m dir: Carl Reiner

w/Steve Martin, Rachel Ward, Carl Reiner, Reni Santoni, George Gaynes, Frank McCarthy, Adrian Ricard, Charles Picerni, Gene Labell, George Sawaya

From Variety's review of the film: "Lensed in black-and-white and outfitted with a 'straight' mystery score by Miklos Rosa and authentic 1940s costumes by Edith Head, this spoof of film noir detective yarns sees Steve Martin interacting with 18 Hollywood greats by way of intercutting clips from some 17 old pictures.

"Thus, when sultry Rachel Ward enters his seedy LA office to discuss her father's murder, $10-per-day sleuth Martin is able to call Bogart's Philip Marlowe for assistance on the case. And so it goes with such additional tough guys as Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas and Edward Arnold and such dames as Barbara Stanwyck, Ingrid Bergman, Veronica Lake, Bette Davis, Lana Turner and Joan Crawford.

"Film is most engaging in its romantic sparring between Martin and his gorgeous client, Ward. Latter looks sensational in period garb and is not above such Martinesque gags as removing bullets from his wounds with her teeth or having her breasts 'rearranged' by the hardboiled detective.

"Sporting dark hair and facetious confidence, Martin also looks spiffy in trenchcoat and hat. Only other roles of note see Carl Reiner essentially essaying Otto Preminger as a Nazi, and Reni Santoni as a zealous Peruvian officer."

From The Movie Guide: "A consistently hilarious parody of the noir and detective genres, expertly blending classic archival footage with the action. As an inept private eye, Steve Martin tracks killers, playing opposite old film clips of James Cagney, Alan Ladd, Humphrey Bogart, Charles Laughton, and Ava Gardner, among others; scenes are lifted from, inter alia, WHITE HEAT, DOUBLE INDEMNITY, THE KILLERS, THE BIG SLEEP, DARK PASSAGE, IN A LONELY PLACE, SUSPICION and, most notably, THE BRIBE. Some of the cleverer jokes depend on the viewer's knowledge of 1940s movies, but there's enough slapstick to please even the cinematically illiterate. The basic film --- what there is of it --- is prettily shot in black-and-white by Michael Chapman (RAGING BULL); the continuity between the clips and the rest of the movie is remarkable. Martin is priceless as usual."