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Clue: One Mystery - Three Outcomes

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There have been very few movies made with multiple endings, all which seemingly fit into the events that take place throughout the course of the film. One such movie is the 1985 motion picture, Clue. Based on the widely popular board game, Clue is a murder mystery film in which six guests each receive a letter in which they are invited to a dinner party by an unknown host. They are instructed in the letter to use a pseudonym as not to have their true identity revealed. What they find out when they arrive is that, although no guest is personally known to any of the others, they all have something in common - each invitee has been paying money to their blackmailer to hide their secret from being publicized. The film is quite comedic in nature, and plays well to the original game developed by Anthony E. Pratt, and later distributed by Parker Brothers. It incorporates all of the aspects of the game, including the characters, weapons, and rooms of the mansion. The most interesting feature about the film; however, is that, while the storyline and events of the plot do not change, the endings do. When it was released to theatres, it was unknown to the audience which solution to the crime they would view. Eventually, when it was released on VHS, all three endings were included, with the last ending being "how it really happened" (Clue). Clue can be described as basically a spoof on a murder mystery often seen in such stories such as Agatha Chrisie's "Ten Little Indians" with the twist being the antagonist role changing hands as each ending is revealed.

The story is set in a black, gothic mansion in New England in 1954 on a dark, stormy night. There is a sense of eeriness when looking at the mansion from the outside, with the lightning thrashing down upon it, thunder roaring, and spooky music playing in the background. The main character is Wadsworth, played by Tim Curry. He introduces himself as Wadsworth, the butler, when the guests arrive, and seems to play the role of host, although he initially denies that he is the one who sent the letters. The other characters include Mrs. White, Mrs. Peacock, Colonel Mustard, Miss Scarlet, Professor Plum, and perhaps the funniest character, Mr. Green, played by Michael McKean. The casting for this film was right on the mark. Christopher Lloyd played the brilliant psychiatrist, Professor Plum, who just happened to get a little too close to his patients. Lesley Ann Warren played the original madam, Miss Scarlet, while Martin Mull played the retired Army colonel who just happened to be one of her clients. Eileen Brennan gave a believable performance in her role of Senator Peacock's wife, and the late great Madeline Kahn portrayed Mrs. White, the grieving widow whose husband had been killed not long before this evening. Other bit players include the cook, the motorist, the singing telegram girl, the cop, Mr. Boddy, and Yvette, the maid, all who meet their untimely demise throughout the course of the evening. It was very interesting to see how screenplay writers Jonathan Lynn and John Landis (of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" fame) developed these characters based upon only photos on cards found in a board game. They gave each character his or her own set of personality traits, career and life paths, and struggles, intertwining a few of them and giving the actors the ability to showcase these individualities. For example, the second ending, which is explained later in this analysis, is foreshadowed when Mrs. Peacock makes a comment at dinner in which she states the monkey brains appetizer "is one of [her] favorite recipes," (Clue) implying she and the cook are already acquainted, thus implying she may play a role in her demise later in the film. Other known relationships between characters include Mrs. White and Yvette the maid, Colonel Mustard and the singing telegram lady, and Professor Plum and the cop. In the third ending of the film in which everyone was found to have committed a murder, these prior acquaintances come into play as they each kill the person they were formerly associated with.

Also present in the film were the weapons from the game, each designated as a lethal weapon designed to kill the blackmailing host and thus ending the financial strain each guest had been burdened by over the last year or so. These weapons, the candlestick,

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