Butlersguild

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO DINNER ....... AND A MURDER!

A blind butler, played to hilarious perfection by Alec Guiness, and a deaf mute maid look after the guests.

Neil Simon wrote this 1976 spoof in which virtually every famous fictional detective of the 1930s and 1940s congregate at the home of a mysterious fellow (Truman Capote) to try and solve the mystery of who's trying to kill them all. Simon's jokes are mostly obvious, and the film's real appeal is the clever concept matched with fine, sometimes legendary actors.

Peter Falk plays a very Bogart-like Sam Spade equivalent, James Coco is a Hercule Poirot wannabe, Peter Sellers does a Charlie Chan bit, David Niven and Maggie Smith are reflections of Nick and Nora. You get the picture. Lighthearted and silly, this is cotton-candy comedy for the cast as well as viewers.

As the clues present themselves, the speculation flies. The pacing of the film is kept brisk throughout, with snappy dialogue and excellent characterizations as Simon truly keeps the viewer engaged with a great script. The direction by Robert Moore is wonderful, keeping things from getting confusing and allowing all members of this ensemble cast to enjoy enough screen time for us to appreciate the characters. Credit must also be given to the creators of the sets, as they add so much to the overall feel of the movie.