Why we’re still crushing on the ladies from ‘Clue’
This Sunday, the 1985 movie Clue will join the party alongside Back to the Future, The Breakfast Club, and The Goonies (and meeee!) in celebrating its 30th birthday this year. Though this movie pretty much broke even at the box office and wasn’t the most highly lauded of its time, it has since gone down as a cult classic thanks to its perfect casting, ridiculous storylines, hilarious script, and of course, all the zany antics that go alongside any good murder mystery. What Clue might (arguably) lack in depth, it makes up for in uniqueness.
And while Tim Curry as the butler Wadsworth and Christopher Lloyd as Professor Plum are among the standout performances (to be fair, they’re perfect in anything), the female characters really make this movie the iconic masterpiece it is. So let’s raise a glass of poison-free wine to the ladies of Clue this #WCW, for the following reasons and more, in celebration of this super-fun, campy film’s 30th birthday.
Let’s just get this out of the way: THE FASHIONS
As a child, I would spend so much time simply drooling over the outfits Miss Scarlet, Mrs. White, Mrs. Peacock, and even Yvette the French maid wear throughout the movie. In fact, I’m 100% convinced that Yvette and maybe the feather duster from Beauty and the Beast were the primary influences for the popularity of the French-maid costumes we see at every modern-day Halloween party.
Miss Scarlet’s gowns and glamorous jewelry were everything kid me aspired to own in my adult closet one day (spoiler: This did not happen).
Today, I am oddly proud to say I went a little more in the Mrs. Peacock direction, as funky hats, glasses, and a devil-may-care attitude can totally make an entire ensemble.
Oh, and Mrs. White’s birdcage veil, chic black dress, and pearls are what I hope to one day wear to a very fancy funeral. Not for the cheating husband I murdered, though. Gotta draw the line somewhere.
They had the greatest lines/scenes
The script for this movie is pure gold, but the women had the most memorable lines, hands down. Case in point? Between Miss Scarlet admitting she enjoys getting presents from strange men and calling communism a red herring, Mrs. White comparing husbands to Kleenex (I mean…her husband was a jerk when he was alive, so we get it), and Mrs. Peacock telling Yvette she only needs to powder her nose after she asks Yvette if there’s a bathroom nearby and the latter responds, “Oui oui, madame,” I have just one question: WHY ISN’T THIS MOVIE MORE POPULAR? Brb while I lobby to make it a staple in feminist culture and text my friends about a group costume for next Halloween.
They didn’t forget themselves in all the hubbub
If I’m remembering correctly, Mrs. White doesn’t have a major freakout once – even when she’s copping to a crime that I’ll stay silent on to avoiding spoiling you if you haven’t seen it (even though you’ve had 30 years, guys!). But yeah, “Flames…on the side of my face” is still a mantra I try to keep in my mind and repeat to myself under my breath if I’m really angry and currently in mixed company.
And while Mrs. Peacock does pass out at least once, her primary goal first and foremost is just to have a good time and stay alive. Even Miss Scarlet manages to keep it together most of the time – at least to make sure she gets a good drag of her cigarette before screaming. Priorities = straight.
They were played by some of the most talented actresses ever
It’s hard to really shine among a sea of such wonderful ensemble talent, but the female cast of this movie truly stood out among the best. Lesley Ann Warren, who played the unapologetically sultry Miss Scarlet and is sadly the only actress from the three main female roles who is still alive today, is an Oscar-nominated actress who got her start as the titular character in my absolute favorite version of Cinderella. Mrs. Peacock’s Eileen Brennan was also Oscar-nominated, and won Emmy and Golden Globe awards during her long and impressive career. And who can forget Mrs. White, aka Madeline Kahn (whom I like to refer to as the Posh Spice of this movie)? Kahn starred in various films over her lifetime, including quite a few Mel Brooks ones. She was nominated for an Oscar twice (I see a pattern here) and a Tony many times, winning the latter in 1993 for her role in The Sisters Rosensweig.
Thanks for all the fun, ladies. You’ve provided big shoes to fill if Clue ever gets a remake, and we drink to both you and the legacy you’ve left, both individually and together, on slapstick cinema.