In the early 80's heyday of Steve Martin's comedy stardom, he made some truly eclectic film choices. 1982's DEAD MEN DON'T WEAR PLAID is a goofy little black and white tribute to gumshoe films of the 40's and 50's.
Using greenscreen (or maybe it was blue screen that long ago!) Martin inserts himself into film clips of classic detective movies starring Bogart, Alan Ladd, Burt Lancaster and a cavalcade of movie stars.
Martin and the legendary Carl Reiner weave the film clips into a very loose story of Rigby Reardon (Martin) and his encounter with femme fatale Juliet Forrest (a stunning Rachel Ward).
Her father has disappeared and she and Rigby search through many suspects, interacting seamlessly with stars in many famous clips. By the time Reiner pops up as a Nazi villian, it's all rather silly, but it's a lot more consistently funny than I remembered.
Martin is at his best with both physical comedy and comic delivery.
The black and white photography is crisp, the story convoluted and the laughs consistent. We'll give Martin's trip through film noir a B-.