The Seven Suspects is an ’80s classic and a very successful comedy to this day.
It has been reported that Fox Entertainment, in partnership with Entertainment One (a subsidiary of Hasbro), is considering adapting the popular game Detective (Clue) for an animated series, in addition to a new film production already in development under the directed by James Bobin (The Muppets), screenplay by Rhett Reese (Zumbilândia) and Paul Wernick (Deadpool), and directed by Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman. The plank hobby is one of the most traditional of its kind and has a basic premise heavily inspired by the stories of Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle: A murder took place in a mansion at a party. and players must find out where it happened, what weapon was used and, most importantly, who killed.
Even though this is a 1949 game, the product is considered timeless, and in the right hands it has materials to make a story interesting. However, this will not be the first time that the game will receive an adaptation on another medium. Around 1985, director Jonathan Lynn released the movie The Seven Suspects, which proposed to be a dark comedy based on the game Detective.
While the premise has a few different details, it follows in parallel with the famous synopsis: A group of seven strangers, who have never met in life, are invited to dine at a secluded mansion. The proposal, made by mr. Boddy, this is irrefutable because each of the guests is being blackmailed by someone and for some reason. Arriving at the mansion, they are greeted by the butler, Wadsworth (in a great performance by Tim Curry), then things start to go wrong with a murder.
Besides the narrative and aesthetic decision, in the case of the mansion where the film takes place, the production also chooses to reuse the names of the characters from the game in its cast. In the tableau version, each player chooses a different suspect who may or may not be the killer; each of them is identified by a color (Colonel Mustard, Professor Black, Miss Scarlet, etc.) and in the movie the same thing happens.
Additionally, the script also adds previous stories about these same suspects, interconnecting them, which serve as excuses for comedic behavior or why they are being blackmailed. It helps a lot to differentiate who’s who, besides imparting personalities, albeit not very deep, that turn those characters into something more than concepts from a game’s instruction manual.
But the big difference the movie makes, and that’s what makes it a little more memorable, is its ending. In other words, its ends. The original game was designed so that there is always a rotation of the guilty gun crime scene, ie it will never be the same on purpose in two consecutive games; the film, knowing that it is an adaptation of this material, does not follow a traditional path of establishing a single and definitive ending.
On the contrary, three endings were recorded for the film and each of these endings was shown in different theaters; that is, each audience knew a certain conclusion in which one of the characters was the murderer and which resulted in a final event. This type of varied narrative would be used years later in the butterfly effect, for example, in which depending on the version watched, a conclusion is displayed.
It’s a detail that made this comedy a bit more memorable in the ’80s, but the version currently available on Prime Vídeo has all of the final releases. Either way, The Seven Suspects is a film that, while it doesn’t have any great stories behind the camera, succeeds in the one thing it aims to be: good comedy. The detective cadre, paired with a cast that has Tim Curry and Christopher Lloyd in great shape (as well as nearly missing Carrie Fisher as Miss Scarlett) contributed to the final success.
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