Monday, December 3, 2012


Written by John Landis and Jonathan Lynn
Directed by Jonathan Lynn
Starring: Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, Lee Ving, and Lesley Ann Warren
Released by Paramount Pictures, 1985

Plot Summary: Six strangers—Professor Plum, Mrs. Peacock, Mrs. White, Miss Scarlet, Colonel Mustard, and Mr. Green—are invited to a party in a secluded New England mansion. They are met by the butler, Wadsworth, who reminds them each that they have been given pseudonyms to protect their true identity. After dinner, Wadsworth reveals the true nature of the party: All of the guests are being blackmailed to hide their various secrets. Wadsworth then reveals that the seventh guest, Mr. Boddy, is the blackmailer and he is soon murdered. The rest of the film follows the characters as they use their classic weapons and discover more murders. Who is the murderer and with what weapon did they commit the murders? The film version does include the original three theatrical endings allowing the viewer to watch all three or one ending at random. 

Critical Evaluation: Clue is a classic mystery/comedy that all teens should be introduced to if they have ever played the game. Many of my teens when they first watch it at the library are all like, “Clue had a movie?” and it is even more important to show them this classic before the (will probably be horrible and ruin it) remake hits theatres in 2013. All the characters are there and all the potential murder weapons too. The setting—a rainy night in a spooky mansion full of hidden passageways—is greatly atmospheric and adds to the creepy elements of the movie and adding to the overall murder mystery, making it a great choice for a Teen Halloween Party. Tim Curry, as Wadsworth, shines in the film as many of the comedic elements come through his performance, especially in the crazy and hectic endings (all three) where Wadsworth plays Sherlock Holmes and explains who did it with what and where. There is some mild language and some mild sexuality (Miss Scarlet is clearly a vixen, Professor Plum’s secret is that he was fired for sleeping with one of his psychiatric patients, and Yvette, the maid, is wearing a stereotypical maid uniform which accentuates her large breasts) but the violence of the murders is pretty tame—nothing too gory or over the top. Teens will enjoy the fast-paced endings (my teens always want to watch all three options) and love to try and figure it out along the way (if they are first time viewers). Pair this with a session of playing the board game and it will be a hit. One thing to keep in mind is teens might ask what socialism is as the historical background of the film takes place in the late 1950s in the beginning of the McCarthyism scare.     

Reader's Annotation: N/A

Author Information: N/A

Genre: Mystery (Film)

Curriculum Ties: Critical thinking if tied with the game

Booktalking Ideas: N/A

Reading Level/Interest Age: 14+

Challenge Issues: Violence, language, partial nudity

Challenge Defense: If this book were challenged, I would make sure the library has a Challenge Defense File ready for such a situation. Inside the Challenge Defense File, librarians and the public could find:

·        A copy of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights. (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at
·        A copy of the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at
·        A copy of the library’s own selection policy (my library, the La Vista Public Library, has a policy but it is not online so I can’t link to it as an example).
·        A copy of the library’s citizen’s complaint/reconsideration form (my library, the La Vista Public Library’s, form is called the City of La Vista Service Request form).
·        Copies of reviews—both good and bad—from reputable library and publishing services to justify why a book was selected for inclusion in the collection. These include not only reviews from such journals as School Library Journal, VOYA, Horn Book, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, but also any mention of books on YALSA lists and other copies of articles about any awards or nominations such books may have received.
·        Include a short rationale file for other coworkers so if the librarian in charge of selecting materials is not available when a challenge occurs the other staff members have some information to go by (the rational would include such information as a short summary, what could be challenged, reviews, awards and nominations, etc.)
·        Include for staff members a copy of “Strategies and Tips for Dealing with Challenges to Library Materials,” a document written by the American Library Association. Make sure that staff reviews this document periodically so they are prepared and know how to face such situations. (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at

Reason for Inclusion: A classic movie full of murder, mystery, and humor teens that have played the board game and love it should be introduced to the movie version. My teens request to see it at least once a year during a movie night program.

References: N/A

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