Monday, June 8, 2015

TODAY'S NUGGET: Clue (1985) - Mysterious Before Funny

[Quick Summary: Blackmailed dinner guests have 45 min. to figure out who among them killed the blackmailer. Based on the board game. ]

This script delivers what it promises.

It is FUNNY and MYSTERIOUS.

It seems like it's all FUNNY, but not if you actually look at the construction.

The writers did the heavy lifting: They constructed the MYSTERY first, then added the FUNNY.

In other words, the script was built first with the story, then the comedy added.

Note how much exposition is laid down in this funny scene:

ex. "MRS. WHITE: Yes, just the five. Husbands should be like Kleenex - strong, soft, and disposable.

COLONEL MUSTARD: So, you don't believe in marriage?

MRS. WHITE: I certainly do. Perhaps it's because I was educated in a convent, but I'm in the habit.

COLONEL MUSTARD: You lure men to their death like a spider with flies.

MRS. WHITE: You're right. Flies are where men are most vulnerable.

COLONEL MUSTARD (very uncomfortable): Well, if it wasn't you, who was it? Who had the dagger? It was you, wasn't it, Mrs. Peacock?"

We've learned:
- Mrs. White had 5 husbands.
- Mrs. White doesn't mind losing those husbands. (Makes us curious why.)
- Mrs. White is clever enough to absolve herself of any motive.

But it's also funny because:
- There's funny simile (husband like Kleenex).
- There's a play on imagery (convent - habit).
- There's play on words (flies).

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: You can be funny & mysterious, as long as the mystery comes before the funny.

Clue (1985)(shooting script) part 1 and part 2
by Jonathan Lynn
Story by John Landis & Jonathan Lynn

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