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re: Saw it when it was released
Posted by: mikem 06:36 pm EDT 07/17/21
In reply to: re: Saw it when it was released - shocktheatre 05:05 pm EDT 07/17/21

This is really an excellent film of its genre, although its approach to the participants' secrets is extremely dated and this film could never be made today. It is rare to have an original film mystery that completely plays fair with the audience -- not that anyone is going to mull everything over and figure it out while watching but all the clues are completely laid out and are in plain sight (if you know where to look...). Most TV or film mysteries past the Golden Age are not so concerned about allowing the audience to figure out who the killer is, and they often rely on information that the audience doesn't have or don't play fair with the audience (having the murderer played in flashbacks by someone who is physically incompatible with the actual murderer, for example). The plot is extremely convoluted but that's what makes it so good IMO. When you re-watch it, you can see just how intricate it is, but also how well it all fits together.

I was a huge fan of this movie before I knew that Sondheim was involved in it. I wish he had written other films. He and Perkins won the award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay from the Mystery Writers of America in 1974 for their work.

On a hopefully-not-too-divergent note, does anyone have any recommendations for TV shows or films like The Last of Sheila, that completely play fair with the audience and have the whole complication-upon-complication-that-all-gets-explained-at-the-end like you would see in this movie or one like Murder on the Orient Express? The Last of Sheila and Knives Out are the only two original films or TV films or miniseries that I know of in the past 50 years that are like this. Both Murder on the Orient Express or Knives Out did extremely well at the box office, but the genre in general does not seem to attract much interest in Hollywood.
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