Stephanie Thames watches Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982) and enjoys an interview
with Carl Reiner.
Here we are at TCMFF day #3 already! Today I’ll be hitting a
couple of the big name interviews at the TCL Chinese. First up, I’m excited to
watch the noir homage-spoof Dead Men
Don’t Wear Plaid. I’ll admit that it’s been years since I’ve seen this one.
As always, it was great fun to see Steve Martin wind his way through (and get
shot in) scenes from classic movies like The
Killers (1946), The Postman Always
Rings Twice (1946), and White Heat
(1949) among so many others – and to receive a little help solving the
crime from Bogart’s Philip Marlowe. My personal favorite scenes are the just
for laughs bits – Barbara Stanwyck from Sorry,
Wrong Number (1948) and the Bette Davis choking scene in Deception (1946) (cleaning woman!). Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid is
entertaining for any moviegoer, but it’s really perfect for a TCMFF audience –
folks who know the movies, love the noirs and get the inside jokes.
Writer-director Carl Reiner came out for an interview with Illeana
Douglas following the film. To sum up, he may be a near perfect human being. He
was hilarious (as expected), proud of and bragging appropriately on his
children, he’s still best friends with Mel Brooks (they see each other 5-6
times a week, eat dinner and watch TV at night together), and he’s the most
modern nonagenarian you’re likely to meet. How many 94 year olds are all over
Reiner also told several stories about the making of Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid. He recalled
watching noirs for about six months, making notes on characters and dialogue
and pasting these together into what he called a “labor of love” that became
the Dead Men script. He said they
paid about $10,000 a minute for the classic footage used in Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, but because of residual laws, actors in
the films received no compensation. He remembered getting a call from Tarzan star Johnny Weissmuller, who’d
heard they might be using footage from one of his films. When Weissmuller
admitted that he couldn’t pay his rent, Reiner sent him $2,000 from the film’s
budget, even though none of Weissmuller’s footage made it into the movie.
Reiner also briefly discussed the creation of The Dick Van Dyke Show – the subject of his latest book, Why & When The Dick Van Dyke Show Was
Born. A book signing was held in the lobby following the event.
So, today marks the point where my husband and I have been together (more or less, barring a few brief hiccups) as long as we were alive before we were together. I have spent half my life with this kind, supportive, wonderful, sometimes-frustrating, hilarious, sweet, affectionate, clever, intelligent human being. No relationship is perfect, and all of them have their highs and lows and ups and downs, but there’s no one else I’d rather laugh with or snuggle with or sit holding hands with or travel the whole damned world with, and not a day goes by when I’m not grateful that somehow a romance we started as teenagers has lasted and grown and become so much more than I ever dreamed.
I don’t have a scanner, but I do have a picture of a picture. This was the day it all began. Weren’t we adorable? Weren’t we young? Wasn’t I blonde? (I worked as a receptionist at a salon; I could never afford the upkeep on that now, ha.)