Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

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Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid is a 1982 comedy film directed by Carl Reiner and starring Steve Martin and Rachel Ward. It is both a parody of, and homage to, film noir and the pulp detective movies of the 1940s and 1950s.

The film is a collage effect of old black and white movie clips from films of the 1940s and 1950s, with more recent footage of Martin and other actors (including Carl Reiner, Rachel Ward, and Reni Santoni) similarly shot in black and white. When everything is put together, the original dialogue and acting becomes part of a completely different (and ridiculous) story. This was the last film for both costume designer Edith Head and composer Miklós Rózsa.

Among the actors who appeared from classic films were Edward Arnold, Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Wally Brown, James Cagney, William Conrad, Jeff Corey, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Brian Donlevy, Kirk Douglas, Ava Gardner, Cary Grant, Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Burt Lancaster, Charles Laughton, Charles McGraw, Fred MacMurray, John Miljan, Ray Milland, Edmund O'Brien, Vincent Price, Barbara Stanwyck, Lana Turner and Norma Varden.

Film editor Bud Molin faced the challenge of linking Film Noir classics and contemporary footage.


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