CD: Clue (1985)

July 7, 2011 | By

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Rating: Very Good

Label: La-La Land Records / Released: February 1, 2011

Tracks & Album Length: 27 tracks / (48:45)


Special Notes: 20-page colour booklet with liner notes by Daniel Schweiger / Limited to 3000 copies.


Composer: John Morris




Based on the Parker Bros. board game, Clue developed a loyal following during its early home video years, turning an initially passable whodunnit satire into a genuine cult hit. Clue continues to rent and sells well on DVD, and part of the fun includes the three different endings which offered original theatergoers a new killer, depending where the film was screened. (On home video, fans could watch the lot if desired, literally choosing their own ending.)

A big boost to the film’s gloss is John Morris’ score, based around a quirky theme that’s supported by gilded harpsichord and twittering woodwinds, and a synthetic organ which warbles and pinches notes with a deliberately cheeky attitude.

In the film, Morris’ oft-repeated theme was in line with the generally mono-thematic style of vintage whodunnits (with allowances towards grim theme variations), and it provided continuity when the focus shifted towards one of the three endings.

The size of the cast and bevy of possible culprits gave Morris plenty of scenarios to score, with frenetic strings covering chase sequences, pulsing bass for characters hurrying between destinations, a classical swirling motif covers cyclical escapades (evoking the manic back & forth motions redolent of a Blake Edwards farce), and triumphant fanfares mark pivotal revelations.

La-La Land’s CD contains Morris’ complete score, as well as several alternate versions of the main and end title music, with varying intensities of synth organ. For fans (as well as Morris’ admirers), Clue is a welcome addition to their mystery movie music collection, and those not particularly fond of the film ought to enjoy the classical Hollywood style Morris employed, using a large orchestra and a solid balance of straight and satirical elements. Haunted Honeymoon (1986), also released by the label, is more satisfying in terms of its compact delivery of mood, themes, and mordant humour, but in Clue Morris manages to transcend a film that didn’t exactly deliver in the character department.

LLL’s CD features another crisp album (were all of Morris’ scores so impeccably engineered?), and Daniel Schweiger’s copious liner notes outline the film’s production, Morris’ career, and core details of each used and alternate cue.



© 2011 Mark R. Hasan


Related links:

CD:  Haunted Honeymoon (1986)


External References:

IMDB Soundtrack AlbumComposer Filmography


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