April 27, 2022

Midweek Mention... Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

Midweek Mention... Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
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The first thing we needed to get straight is whether it's pronounced "plaid" or "plaid" and then with that debate settled we move on to discuss the 1982 Steve Martin parody of and homage to Film Noir DEAD MEN DON'T WEAR PLAID. 

When physicist and part time cheese enthusiast John Hay Forrest dies in a suspicious car accident, his daughter Juliet (Rachel Ward) hires private eye Rigby Reardon to investigate his death, unwittingly setting them both on a path towards cheese obsessed nazis hell bent on destroying America. Carl Reiner co-wrote and co-starred as the villanious Field Mashall Von Kluck whilst also taking up directing duties. The movie ingeniously recycles footage from classic 40's and 50's films, the vast majority of which none of us have seen, and is fittingly dedicated to its editor Edith Head who won eight Oscars for Best Costume Design over a long and influential career.


Dead Men Dont Wear Plaid


Sideshow we did a week. You chose it.

Sidey: We did. How are we saying it? Dead men. Don't wear plaid.

Howie: Yeah,

Is it played, but it's they say plaid in the trailer,

Sidey: I think, I think Americans

Howie: wrong?

Sidey: would say plaid, but I think I would always have said

Reegs: I would say played if I saw it written down.

Sidey: played in the movie.

Reegs: are we going to say dead men don't wear plaid?

Dan: Dead men. Don't wear plaid

Reegs: is a kind of talked and basically

Dan: a and twirled cloth typically made of wool Riggs typically. Yeah. But dead men won't wear it.

Howie: deodorant.

I don't wear plaid

Dan: plaid

Reegs: It also sounds a little bit like the title to a film, the wall.

Sidey: Yeah. I filmed a mystery comedy.

Dan: I, you know, I'm a big film wall fan and I'm a Steve Martin fan. So

Sidey: he must have seen this several times

Dan: exactly you would have thought so, but it completely escaped me. And and so this black and white murder mystery it kind of starts when a cheesemaker

a cheesemaker dies

Sidey: noted scientist and cheese maker.

Reegs: I think the inference was that he was a cheesemaker in his spare

Sidey: time,


Dan: Yeah but they, they kind of dwell more on the fact that he made cheese rather than he was a fantastic scientist

Reegs: Yeah. But straight from the get go, you get what this basically is, which is kind of. Cutting together of classic 1940s

Dan: but I didn't get that straight away because it

Reegs: because when the cars going, when it's driving down and all that sort of stuff, and it's, you know,

Dan: because it's black and white.

They've they've yeah. As you say, they've taped in, or they've kind of sewn in little clips of other black and white films to give it that atmosphere and.

Shots that they probably couldn't be bothered to shoot and, or they couldn't shoot. And and it really, I didn't notice him up until we had the first kind of characters in your, the big names.

I just thought it might have been the lighting or something. So with, with the streets and things like that before the, before the characters came in, I was just like, oh, why? Okay. I see, I see what they're

Sidey: And because I knew it was going to be a comedy, but as soon as you see Steve Martin yeah.

This isn't going to be a typical, you know,

Dan: Steve

Reegs: I am going to sound like a real asshole, but I mean, I, I only spotted it because the difference in the not because I,


not, because not because I knew the movies, cause I basically hadn't seen any of the movies. I don't think that they were referencing in this maybe,

Sidey: I've got the complete list and yeah. I was like, yeah, I hadn't seen really any of them

Reegs: but, but it straight away, you can see because of the difference in the quality of the image and how Steve Martin is filmed versus like other scenes that you're seeing around it.

But anyway, yeah. So yeah, I kind of got it straight away, which is the gag is that he's inserted into these other movies and they build a story

Dan: Although I don't think that's yeah, it's the gag, you know, it's slight, but it's not anything that they're delivering as a punchline in the film. It's just part of, part of the film.

And I thought it was really clever the way they did it. And they used actors scenes and then tailored their own conversations back to those those words that. You know who you got Humphrey Bogart,

Sidey: eight where he says,

Hasn't got it on the wall, his partner, or his mentor was Philip Marlowe. Okay. All right.

Dan: So there's notes to all the old time

Reegs: in the story as well.

Dan: Yeah. Yeah. So the cheese make his daughters convinced it is no more murder.

Sidey: Stunning

Dan: smoking hot. Yeah, Rachel Ward. And she thinks he was murdered for his top secret cheese recipes. And to prove her theory, she hires detective Roy redone which is where his brother, the famous snooker player. And that's Steve Martin, which is Chris Martins, which is Chris Martin's father from from apple. Or yeah. And

Reegs: He was, she passes out doesn't she, when she tells him the news and then he groped her,

Sidey: well,

Dan: he, no, that you say grope,

Sidey: now, but

Dan: a massive favor.

Sidey: there's a great guy. He's reading the newspaper and the. And she sees the headline that the, you know, about her dad and she passes out.

And then when he comes to eat, he looks at the sports headline and goes, wow, you must be a real big Dodgers fan. I chucked over was really funny, but as she's on the deck, he goes quite rapey and just grope surf

Dan: he starts feeling her tits outside her head, jump on top of her jumper and everything. And he

Sidey: can,

Dan: and when, and he kisses and when which is all like really kind of, you know, you're looking at it now, you're just thinking this is totally inappropriate, but the line that saves him and she totally goes on with, and she kind of does the same back to him.

And a little bit later on the film is he says,

Oh, well, when you, when you fell back, your tits fell out

Sidey: away.

Dan: Irish January,

Sidey: But he says breasts. He says, breastfeeds makes out, okay.

Reegs: Oh. So I mean, we watched the big Kate and that movie was made in the fifties and it was kind of horrible to the women in it. I wondered if there was a little bit of that going on in, in

Dan: Oh, a little bit. Adult Dole face stole fo. Yeah, he was. And I think that's that this scene actually is exactly that he's, he's commentating so much on it. It's just making it ridiculous that that kind of scene where the woman is falls down and collapses and a guy totally just takes advantage of her altogether and then denies it.


Sidey: She recruits him. He goes off to hit.

It's Dr. Forest. It goes off to his lab on the way he does this sort of monologue, you know, like they do. And he says, he's thinking about, and he says, I haven't seen a body that, that will put together since the case of the murdered go with big tears.

Dan: th th there's a F this film, I mean, straight from the off, it's not going to be for everyone, but. I, I really liked this. I knew I'd like it very quickly on, in the film. I just thought, oh, how have I not seen this before? Settled myself in, put my feet up and really enjoyed this? You've got all these as he, as he tries races around, try and find out what's happened. It brings him in face to face for these movie legends.

Mentioned, we've got Humphrey Bogart, Alan Ladd, Burt,

Reegs: and he ends up having these really odd conversations with them.

They don't even try to make it really make a lot of sense. So really admired

Dan: Yeah, that's it. They haven't gone too hard on it. And the best ones with with Bogart is actually his partner written in on it. He's he kind of keeps saying, making little things, are you going to wear a tie?

He goes no

Reegs: asking him about the time there's so many jokes like that.

They go, they're funny. And then they go on until it's not funny. And then they keep going until it's funny again, like when he's pouring the coffee and he just, just pouring the coffee beans in for just like for ages

Dan: That was a long scene. Wasn't it? Yeah.

Sidey: Police squad that one. Yeah.

Reegs: So yeah, there is a kind of story, a sort of, he's a what do they call them?

A gum shoe. And he's doing this, he's tracking down. What's happened to Dr. Forest. He's got the enemies of Carlotta,

Dan: Yeah. I mean, it's, it's kind of taken all the film, the walls and taken a little bit, this one, a little bit. That one you've got the big, larger than life. Detective characters.

You've got the beautiful kind of femme for towels.

Sidey: well he, he turns up a house. The Butler answered the door, which is called rhino who obviously co wrote directed and starred in this.

And he looks, he looks, got a scar on his face and you're like, okay. And you know, he turns out to be quite important in it. We haven't mentioned it, but his, you know, the film and other films he's done with Steve Martin, like the mammoth two brains. So it's that kind of zany,

it's kind of reigned in, in this, but it's. The genre that they're tackling, but it's still got that wacky kind of sense of humor to it.

Reegs: there is, it was still Steve Hart and he's still pretty funny in this. Yeah.

Howie: Steve he's somebody that has pretty much vanished from mainstream

Sidey: is a musician now.

Howie: is that by choice or did

he become unfunny?

Sidey: He, basically, I S I saw an interview with him and he basically said that he would, he was doing movies just cause he's an art collector was just to fund his art collection.

And we talked about the end is, but I've got some musical recommendations for him because he's a great, great, great musician.

Dan: But it is funny. Cause there, there was even through this, they're not all hits his jokes, but it, they just keep on common.

Sidey: Have you ever seen a

Reegs: But even the ones I didn't like, like where he, his the ward or whatever her name was, she sucking the bullet

Sidey: out

Reegs: And the first couple of times that Joko was like, that is not really that funny. And then they just keep doing it. It's so stupid.

Dan: Yeah, that's it. They just keep going and and they find the humor in it and I.

Okay. You, you, you know, what's going to happen. But with these characters that they put in, it really surprised me. Cause I thought, oh, well then they've used Humphrey Bogart.

They're brilliant. But then you see Carrie grant come in on the and that was a really good one actually, because they share the same carriage and you know, it was I, I thought it was clever and I can't remember seeing a film. Use that technique quite as much and as full on as they did here. And it would have only worked or worked as well with a film the wall because obviously you need that atmospheric and black and white and all the rest of it.


Reegs: scenes

Dan: in

Reegs: where he does actually appear to be in the footage and interacting with the people. There's a scene where he comes out of the office and he passes something to someone I'm like, whoa, how did they do that?

Dan: Yeah, it's, it's, it's very clever how they've just got the lighting and the, the, the grain of the,

Reegs: Well, but also the green screen effects that they were using to actually put the, the footage together, like him sometimes in the scene with the old footage. Yeah. Clever.

Dan: And so you, you kind of just worked your way through this very you know,

Reegs: Oh, it's quite an elaborate plot

Sidey: it's really really, quite complicated,

Dan: lots of red herrings and things, and there's lots of, yeah, there's a bit of cross dressing in there. There's at one point his Willy goes out of whack and

Reegs: Well, that's right at the end, she gropes him back right at the end. That's when they're in that town, they eventually ended up in it. It reminded me of wages, of fear that we watched, like out in the middle of nowhere, a bar where the hardened criminals are and all that.

It was cool. It was the kind of time where they spelled trouble. T R U B I L. And if you try to correct them, they'll kill you. Yeah. And so they do end up there and yeah, she adjusts his Willie and all that. I mean, I'm guessing everybody kind of like this, did they?

Dan: and, and, and that was also the title drop wasn't it in that bar where he goes I don't even know what plate is. He just says, nobody knows, but

Sidey: basically the cheese making.

And then Nazis happen. Basically we haven't really gone into port and that most detail, which I kind of think we should leave because I would really like a lot of listeners to go and watch this if they haven't

Dan: Yeah, I think

Sidey: haven't rarely supported that much.

Dan: that's not like us.

Sidey: No, it's not. I really liked it. I thought this was great. The reason I nominated it was because. The only time I've ever heard it mentioned was Johnny Vaughn on the big breakfast years ago. And it stuck with me that it's a Steve Martin film that I haven't seen. And so I just, you know, it's just something.

Oh, well, I can nominate and then we can all watch it. So that's why I was just like, fuck it. Let's watch

Dan: well, he, he, he went through a phase of doing some really fantastic stuff, Steve

Sidey: around this time

Dan: And it was around this time.

Yeah. So the fact that, yeah, the jerk, there was the one in LA, what was that? LA story, which I really liked as well.

Sidey: Have you seen any of the standup

Dan: And I've seen. Yeah, I've seen some, a lot of his stuff for me is hit and miss, but when it hits and he just keeps on going and he's,

Howie: he does, we'll just

He does lots of these online masterclass stuff. So if you've ever been trapped in an Instagram ad

where it goes

one to two. Yeah.

and he explains to people how to deliver comedy and it's, it sounds like he's very prescriptive. So maybe what you mentioned, which is tell that joke again and again, and again, until it hits, maybe. that's one of his things.

Reegs: Tonight. I mean, it worked in this because there's a few gags that they, they do that with,

Dan: is it, is it banjo replays

Sidey: Yeah, he plucks the one string banjo. Now he is, I listed last week, I think. So not so long ago. Just a lot of stuff with they're called the steep canyon Rangers.

Yeah. So if you, if you hit the up on whatever your preferred streaming services is really, really good steep canyon Rangers, there's one called like the lone Crow or something like that. And there's a few albums up there. Fucking real.


Dan: also check out this really rather very good film that I never knew about Sidey

Reegs: there, there is a, there is a kind of nice thing, right at the end, which is the whole movie is. To a woman I'd not heard of, actually I probably should have done, but Edith head who was like this legendary costume designer, who'd won the most Oscars of any of women and her infant.

She did the jungle princess, which was a movie that I have I heard of. I think I might've even seen,

Dan: and it's worth mentioning the costumes in this because we're going to be talking about suits later on in the week. And there was some fines suits on show

Sidey: but did you see why it was. I attribute to her, she died just at the end of the production. And so, yeah, they,

Reegs: me.


Sidey: so they did dedicate the whole thing to her which was

Reegs: So then you must remember a lot of these movies

Dan: first time round. Yeah. Yeah.

Reegs: So somebody told me. When you were in

Dan: Well, this is 82. So I might remember this

Reegs: No, but the, you know, what were some of the we've got them in a lonely place. Start passage look got the big sleep, which I thought I'd seen, but I haven't.


Dan: Yeah, well, they, they, they chose didn't you say that you've got a list of the movies that they took the outtakes from.

Sidey: I have this gun for hire, sorry, wrong number last weekend, the killers and the bribe. Ava Gardner the killers game was Burt, Lancaster bogey, the big sleep and it only place and a dark passage. Cary grant Ms.

Suspicion. Is that Hitchcock? Ingrid Bergman, notorious, Veronica lake glass key and a board yet, but Davis deception, Lana Turner postman always rings twice.

Dan: hot with Lana Turner?

Sidey: Cut Douglas.

Dan: Walk

Sidey: Fred MacMurray don't know him. Double indemnity, James Cagney. Why he, Joan Crawford

Dan: white heat, some

Sidey: humor, ask Charles Laughton the bribe. And if any price from the bribe.

So, yeah, lots of people, lots of films. I've not seen

Dan: the big, the big sleep Dublin deputy and yeah, a few others there. Suspicions.

Sidey: suspicious minds Yeah.

Dan: That's it. Well, you've got dead men. Don't wear a play to go and check out and I recommend it. So decide.

Howie: Yeah, but I haven't seen it. So that's the confession for all

Sidey: well, we didn't have support fee, so you could go watch

Howie: do, you know, genuinely, as I confessed earlier, I've only seen the trailer for


and I was impressed.

And then I did a bit reading about it and I saw that they'd meticulously spent all this time. Prepping the lighting to look like a film noir. And like you said, they metallic, They, they, they poured over hours of footage to find Assemblance of clips. Apparently that do suit some of the conversations and obviously they've not taken it too seriously.

in places

Reegs: Well, there's one where he goes to visit and he's like, pretend to be my mother when he's in jail. And it's like,

Howie: That's a clip I've seen

Reegs: there's no need to do it. Like, it was just really silly. Yeah. Good, good. Watch it.