“He decided to put his information to good use and make a little money out of it. What could be more American than that?”
Six strangers, identified only by colorful pseudonyms, gather at a mansion under mysterious circumstances. Brought together by their host, Mr. Boddy (Lee Ving), the guests try to decipher why he is blackmailing all of them, until he ends up dead. The group plans to get out unscathed, but not before other murders start piling up around them.
Based on a popular board game, Clue is a goofy film that has the unique ability to pull in viewers without allowing the viewer to get to know any of the characters intimately. Between the murderers and the murder victims, the mystery stays in good fun because no one gets too attached.
Like its source material, Clue turns out to be a game. The real Mr. Boddy (Tim Curry) is pretending to be a butler at the expense of six people’s reputations (so yes, there is such a thing as having too much money). Part of the delight of a game like this one is that the results are always a bit different. The game does not actually take all that long (unless you can’t guess because you aren’t in the right room and if you don’t know the rules of classic Clue, do go and get a copy because you are missing out). The only thing that stays the same every time is the victim: Mr. Boddy. An unknown figure, we don’t care about him or his demise because the fun of the game is the act of playing.
Here’s What Really Happened
Kids today might not remember the days before the Internet, but when Clue was shown to theater-goers, a different ending played in each theater. This means that the three endings that we now know are all parts of the whole film were split up between theater screenings, so depending on which audience you were in, you might have a slightly altered experience. In effect, this was a nod to the way the ending of the game is always a little altered. It would be a difficult thing to get away with now, with spoilers and this advent of the Internet, but it’s fun to imagine the idea of the characters as part of a small game, and the audience as part of a larger one.