Follow TV Tropes

Following

Film / Manhattan Murder Mystery

Go To

Woody Allen's 22nd feature film as director, released in 1993. He also starred and co-wrote.

The plot revolves around Larry and Carole Lipton (Allen and Diane Keaton respectively), a well-to-do middle-aged couple living in an apartment building in Manhattan. One night, they by chance happen to stumble across their new neighbours, Paul and Lilian House, in the corridor of their building and, after introductions, the two couples spend a very pleasant evening getting to know each other. The next night, however, tragedy strikes when Lilian House dies very suddenly. Carole becomes suspicious and soon gets it into her head that Paul has murdered his wife. Much to her husband's exasperation, she begins an unofficial investigation, which ropes in their mutual friends Ted (Alan Alda) and mystery novelist Marcia (Anjelica Huston).

Advertisement:


Tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: Carol Lipton claims to hate wearing a tie with a skirt. Diane Keaton made that look famous playing in Annie Hall.
  • Alliterative Title
  • Always Someone Better: Larry gets negatively compared to the more enthusiastic and savvy Ted a lot after he first starts helping with the investigation. Later, Carole seems envious of how much and how fast Marcia contributes to the case and how excited that makes Ted and Larry.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Carole Jumps At The Call to become this. Larry is a lot more reluctant.
  • Claustrophobia: Larry suffers from it, big-time.
    Larry: I'm-I'm-I'm a-a world-renowned claustrophobic...I don't like this, I don't, I don't...It's easy for you to say, but I can't breath, I'm phobic...I'm not panicking, I'm not panicking, I'm...I'm just gonna say the rosary, now...Oh, I don't know, I don't like this...I'm running over a field, I see open meadows. I see a stallion. I'm a stallion...There's a cool breeze passing over me. I see grass. I see dirt...Let's go, my life is passing in front of my eyes. The worst part of it is, I'm driving a used car. (later) Oh, my God. It's her....Oh, Jesus! Claustrophobia and a dead body - this is a neurotic's jackpot!
  • Advertisement:
  • Ambiguously Evil: It's speculated that Helen Moss is in on the entirety of the plan, and Mr. House doesn't seem too surprised to hear her discussing the Lipton's knowledge of the crime, but it isn't confirmed in as many words.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Mr. House seems like a Happily Married unassuming stamp collector when he first appears, which makes the implications that he murdered his wife all the more shocking, especially to Larry. In fact he hadn't committed a murder, and had no plans to do so during their first meeting, although he was already cheating on his wife.
  • Bluffing the Murderer: When they [[spoiler: pretend to have retrieved Mrs. House's body and act like they're blackmailing him. Marcia almost name-drops this.
    Marcia: Since he's gotten away with it, all we can do is bluff.
  • Advertisement:
  • Funny Background Event: Several waiters and other customers eavesdropping on The Lipton's, Ted and Marcia talking about the mystery.
  • Genre Savvy: Within minutes of hearing the story, Marcia is able to put the remaining pieces together and work up a plan to catch Mr. House.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Helen Moss (a suspected accomplice to murder) has apparently had four abortions.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Larry, despite having rubbished Carole's suspicions, gets involved in the investigation in part because he's jealous about how close Carole and Ted seem to be getting. Carole in turn gets a bit of this when she thinks that Marcia is putting the moves on Ted.
  • Hall of Mirrors: Mr. House and Mrs. Dalton have a shootout in one.
  • Happily Married: The Liptons, although at the beginning of the movie their marriage has fallen into a bit of a rut. Their adventure gives it a much needed spark.
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: Marcia dismisses the idea that the conspirators induced a heart attack in their victim, calling it "Hollywood bullshit." Instead, she says, the victim had a heart attack and the conspirators took advantage of it.
  • Homage: The film was inspired by The Thin Man series.
  • Incriminating Indifference: Carole becomes suspicious of Mr. House due to how well he has been taking the death of his wife despite how close they had seemed earlier. Ironically, this is partially because his wife isn't actually dead yet, although he does end up killing her.
  • Likes Older Men: Helen Moss is [[spoiler: sleeping with Mr. House, and also apparently has a fling with Ted while he's distracting her as part of the plan.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Larry briefly accuses Carole of using the investigation as a pretext for an affair with Ted.
  • Pair the Spares: Larry expresses interest in setting up Ted and Marcia, although Ted has reservations about this. It's played straight once they actually meet though and instantly hit it off.
  • Really Gets Around: Mr. House turns out to have had two mistresses.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the scene in which Carol sees her "dead" neighbour riding a bus, there is an advertisement for Vertigo, one of the many references to that film that appear in the movie.
    • The house of mirrors sequence was inspired by The Lady from Shanghai. It helps that the film itself is playing on the screen behind them as the characters reenact the scene as it happens.
  • Woman Scorned: Mrs. Dalton shoots Mr. House after realizing he had another mistress.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Larry and Carole's attempted explanation to the police about finding the dead body is not particularly calm or convincing..

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report