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Film / Manhattan Murder Mystery

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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).

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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
  • 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!
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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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    • 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.

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