On Clue (game and movie)

I think that Miss Scarlett did it with the revolver in the library. Clue is a very funny board game, and an even funnier movie. Everything is based on the conventions of the standard detective novel a la Christie or Hammett, and both game players and viewers expect that a solution will be reached, the guilty discovered, and punishment doled out. We depend on the conventions of detective fiction to rebuild our broken and chaotic world. We cannot depend on real-life crimes to be solved, so we resort to the world of fiction where the truth can actually be known. Clue is a fantasy in which players work to reorder a world that is torn by conflict, strife, and betrayal. The game is played out on board which is the floor plan for a rather extravagant large mansion, including secret passage ways, a billiard room, a conservatory, a lounge, and a ballroom. I dare say that most players cannot relate to this floor plan, further pushing the game into the realm of fantasy and further removing it from the verisimilitude of daily life. In other words, solutions to real problems are not forthcoming, but in the fantasy world of the extremely rich, crimes get solved and the world has order. Not only would players love to live in an orderly world where the wicked are punished and crime does not pay, they would also like to live in the opulent world signified by the game board. The real world, which has nothing to do with the “Clue” world, is filled with unsolved crimes, violent murders, and the daily grind, which includes work, family and routine. The game of Clue is about solving a murder, but there really is no blood or gore or tragedy. After the first game is over, you simply reshuffle and move on. The 1985 movie, Clue, inspired by the board game, is a wonderfully subversive commentary on opulence, corruption, power, violence and treachery. All of characters are there from the board game, but this time they have back stories, their paths are inter-related, everybody lies, no one is innocent, and the entire movie completely subverts the detective novel genre by offering three possible endings with three possible culprits. In other words, there is no way of really knowing who did it. The characters are all cynical and dark, sarcastic and jaded. In the end, there really isn’t a solution since they are all guilty and a solution that would put one or another in jail is foiled. None of characters is worth salvaging, communism is a red-herring, and they all amount to a bunch of lying, corrupt capitalists who are neither redeemable nor worthy of further consideration. The movie is a wicked spin on the board game because it doesn’t resolved a crime, murder is just convenient, and people are disposable. Further, this entire dead end scenario is played out in the opulence of decadent free-wheeling capitalist success. People are meant to be used and thrown away, murder is most foul but it happens, and redemption may not be possible. Although I do suspect Miss Scarlett, I also think Colonel Mustard is looking awfully suspicious as well.