Clue The Movie
Original Motion Picture Score
Clue: The Movie is 30 Years Old this year. Back in 1985 the classic Parker Brothers game got a film adaptation! John Morris was the one handling the music. Here’s my review of the Limited Edition score from La La Land Records, and my thoughts on the film overall.
So a quick note before start… I had no clue who John morris was, or what he worked on. The man is a master at scoring films and TV shows! He worked on Young Frankenstein, Bank Shot, and Blazing Saddles before Clue! After Clue he did the music for Spaceballs, Stella, and many more! He also was the composer for the main theme of the tv series Coach with Craig T. Nelson. So now that I’ve gotten a history lesson on the man, let us get to the review of his score for Clue!
1985 a year that was filled with action films, yet this comedy gem really stands out! I’m not sure I know anyone who has never seen the film Clue. It stars a stellar cast in Tim Curry, Martin Mull, Christopher Lloyd, and so many more! It’s based on the board game of the same name. OK so before I go any further if you are reading this have not seen the film… STOP READING THIS, and GO WATCH THE FILM!!! I’ll wait…………OK you’ve watched film right? This is the classic murder mystery dinner party. Mr. Boddy and his butler gather all these people who almost have nothing in common together for an evening of “fun”. This is a seemingly very straight-forward tale. Yet there are so many plot twists within the story. I’m not complaining when I say that because the twists within Clue are actually very fun to watch, and try to figure out who did what, in what location, and with which weapon.
As we begin this listen through we start with Track 1: “Main Title / Trees To Dogs” John Morris gives us a creepy beginning with interesting tones to enter the film. If there was a narrated part in the beginning of the film, I could almost hear it saying, “It was a dark and stormy night!” This first track is the overall main theme for the film, that pops up throughout afterwards. It also serves as theme to when Wadsworth arrives at the Mansion and deals with the dogs. Track 2: “Mrs. White” is 46 seconds in length, and it’s a simplistic dark piano tune. It gives you the theme and background for Mrs. White as a character. I really dig this track, because every time I hear it all I can think of is the line she says later in the film, “it-it- the f – it -flam – flames. Flames, on the side of my face, breathing-breathl- heaving breaths. Heaving breaths… Heathing…” Then there is Track 3: “Miss Scarlet / Car In Progress” this one has a bit of sensuality behind the sound. After all let’s face it Miss Scarlett might be the most attractive female in the film. I love the slowness of this cue. It radiates with how cynical Miss. Scarlett’s personality is. Then there is Track 12: “Gun, Cupboard, Doorbell / Cop Panics” This is during the part of the film where when the doorbell rings we see the singing telegram girl. And then the cop panics. This track has some awesome bass drumbeat in it. I love how Morris builds up the mystery of the scene with the music. Track 14: “Step By Step – Intro / Step By Step” is the music used as Wadsworth is running them all over the house explaining everything that happened. I LOVE this track. It really suits the action scenes of the film, and is some interesting comedic chase music. Then there is the next track with Track 15: “Remember What Happened Next / Don’t You See? Look!” this essentially continues from Track 14, but adds a different reverb to the chase themes. If I had a gun pointed at my head by Miss Scarlett I’d choose Tracks 14 and 15 as my overall in film theme favorites.
Tracks 17-19 are the three ending themes “Ending A: Your Fatal Mistake / I Shot Her / Cavalry”, “Ending B: Yvette To We All Ran To Her / To Check That Mr. Boddy Was Dead / Who, Who, Who / Cavalry”, and “Ending C: Top To You Were / Peacock At Door” Each one has their own different take, because as the endings unfold different characters are in the fore and background. Track 17 which is Ending A has the dark tones that Morris has used before with Mrs. White’s themes, and then the Cavalry theme. I love the Cavalry theme! With Track 18, mystery abounds! Because they go back over Yvette’s death, and this is where Mrs. Peacock says WHO WHO WHO! With “Ending C: Top To You Were / Peacock At Door” This has high action themes to start, not many dark tones, and really sets up the end titles track. “So who did it?” “They all did it, but if you wanna know who killed Mr. Boddy I did with the revolver in the hall. John Morris’s cues for Clue are amazing and fun, while certain themes are darker, they are also still fun. Track 20: “End Title” is superbly crafted. It incorporates the main title overture, and also adds in little touches for each of the characters.
Tracks 21-27 on this single disc release are all alternate cues. With Track 21: ‘Main Title (Alternate 1)” I kinda don’t like the beginning. It feels too whimsical. This is not a whimsical film. It’s a murder mystery. And there is no whimsy in murder! As for the rest of Track 21 it sounds too weird to me compared to what the real main title is. Holy crap 4 of these tracks are all main title alternate takes. I just not realized that looking at the track listing. With Track 22: “Miss Scarlet / Car In Progress (Alternate)” This one has zero sensuality like the original track. This makes Miss. Scarlett sound like she’s a very sinister villain. I like this track a bit, but prefer the one used in the full score. Track 23: “Main Title (Alternate 2)” So this is the second alternate take on the main theme. I have to say unlike the first alternate… I enjoy this one. It has more upbeat tempos to it. It also evokes the murder mystery theme that the rest of the score has. Track 24: “Peacock At Door (Alternate)” is interesting because it carries what I assume is the same Cavalry theme under it. Then there’s Track 25: “Main Title (Alternate 3)” This alternate take adds urgency to the affair that is the main title themes. It’s more upbeat than the previous 2 alternates, and has more of a DUN DUN DUN feeling. Track 26: “End Title (Shorter Version)” is as it states a shorter version of the end titles. Not sure what exactly to say here about this, because it’s the same thing as the original. This isn’t an alternate take, just cut for time. The final track is Track 27: “Main Title (Alternate 4)” After listening to these bonus tracks, I am unsure as to why the main title needed or had 4 alternate takes. Don’t get me wrong, they are all interesting except the whimsical one.
Total Disc Time: 50:55
The take away from listening through Clue’s score for me is that it’s just old-fashioned fun! For overall favorite tracks, as I said before 14 and 15 on the set are especially ones I can listen to over and over. After that Tracks 1, 3, 17, and 20! So who do you think did it? Was it Matt Verboys in the conservatory with the candlestick… or was it M.V. Gerhard in the parlor with the rope?
Clue: The Movie’s score by John Morris is fun suspenseful sounding piece of film music history. I can’t believe it’s been 30 years since Clue was released to theaters. This will be a score I’ll be listening to for years to come! You can get this whodunnit score from LA LA Land Records directly! So whodunnit?