High Anxiety

[audio:/podcasts/pdm13.mp3]
Download Episode | Subscribe via iTunes | Subscribe via RSS

Story: Dr. Richard H. Thorndyke, arrives as new administrator of The Psycho-Neurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous and then things happen that make him very, very nervous.

Detective: Dr. Richard H. Thorndyke

Release Date: December 25, 1977

Writers: Mel Brooks, Ron Clark, Rudy DeLuca, Barry Levinson

Source:
Every Hitchcock movie ever made.

Mystery Analysis:
None of this stuff.  Not a mystery, just a string of Hitchcock jokes.

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Jenny says: 0 Pops
Mystery: 0, Craft: 0, Suspense:0, Romance: 0, Comedy: 0

Lani says: 0 Pops
Mystery: 0, Craft: 0, Suspense: 0, Romance: 0, Comedy: 0

The Big Easy

 

[audio:/podcasts/pdm12.mp3]
Download Episode | Subscribe via iTunes | Subscribe via RSS

Story: A New Orleans detective investigates mob killings.

Detective: Remy McSwain

Release Date: August 21, 1987

Writer: Daniel Petrie, Jr.

Mystery Analysis:
Detective as protagonist?

Jenny: Absolutely.  Arrives at the scene of the crime, bigger than life, and takes control.
Lani: Yes, and he’s on the case right out of the gate.

Murderer as antagonist?
Jenny: Yes.  The antagonist is kind of a doppleganger for Remy, and its his minions who do the dirty work at his behest, but he’s right there in the first scene with the protagonist, playing him from the beginning.
Lani: Present and messing things up right from the start.

Conflict created by murder?
Jenny: Yes.  The murders block the romance plot and fuel the mystery plot, forcing Remy’s character arc.
Lani: Yes, as well as the mystery of the missing drugs.

Fair play with all the clues given?
Jenny: With one exception, we get them when Remy gets them.  He reads something that he doesn’t tell Ann about, but two scenes later, he confronts the antagonist with what he knows.  I’m not sure how that could have been put on the screen in the discovery scene.
Lani: For the most part, excluding the stuff he reads, but then we’re informed in the next scene.

Solved using deduction, not luck?
Jenny: Yes.
Lani: Yes; Remy gets the evidence, evaluates it, and figures it out all on his own.

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Jenny says: 5 Pops
Mystery: 5, Craft: 5, Suspense: 5, Romance: 5

Lani says: 5 Pops
Mystery: 5, Craft: 5, Suspense: 5, Romance: 5

Trenchcoat

[audio:/podcasts/pdm11.mp3]
Download Episode | Subscribe via iTunes | Subscribe via RSS

Story: A mystery writer goes to Malta to experience danger, and finds it.

Detective: Mickey Raymond/Terry Leonard

Release Date: March 11, 1983

Writer: Jeffrey Price, Peter Seaman

Mystery Analysis:
Detective as protagonist?

Jenny: Yes, it starts with her voiceover and she pretty much owns the movie all the way through.  Almost all the scenes are in her POV.
Lani: Yes; she sees herself as a detective, and even though she’s smart enough to turn to the police when things go wrong, when they refuse to help, she steps in and figures it out on her own.

Murderer as antagonist?
Jenny: Yes.  The first body pops up early, so you know they’re on the job.
Lani: Yes, and physically present from very early in.

Conflict created by murder?
Jenny: Yes.  Micky really doesn’t have much choice since she’s suspected of the crime.  I love her answer to Terry’s “What made you decide to play detective” question: “I got tired of being the victim.”
Lani: Yes, and Micky’s desire to figure out who the bad guy is.

Fair play with all the clues given?
Jenny: Yes.
Lani: Yes, with nice surprises all the way through.

Solved using deduction, not luck?
Jenny: Yes.  It’s something Micky needs to do to feel important, I think.  The look on her face when Terry tells she did a good job figuring things out is wonderful.
Lani: Well, if you don’t consider them being tied up by the bad Irish couple “luck,” since they didn’t realize they were the bad guys until then.

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Jenny says: 5 Pops
Mystery: 5, Craft: 5, Suspense: 5, Romance: 5

Lani says: 5 Pops
Mystery: 5, Craft: 5, Suspense: 5, Romance: 5

Charade

[audio:/podcasts/pdm10.mp3]
Download Episode | Subscribe via iTunes | Subscribe via RSS

Story: A Paris housewife is widowed, only to discover that a number of parties want money her husband hid… and think she’s the one who has it.

Detective: Regina Lampert/Peter Joshua

Release Date: December 5, 1963

Writer: Peter Stone

Source: “The Unsuspecting Wife” by Peter Stone and Marc Behm

Mystery Analysis:
Detective as protagonist?

Jenny: Yes.  Reggie’s pretty much forced into it because everybody thinks she killed her husband and hid the money.
Lani: Yes, although an amateur, forced into the role by circumstance, but still functioning as a detective in the story.

Murderer as antagonist?
Jenny: Terrific antagonist.  All his moves are logical and smart and yet you never see him coming.
Lani: Yes, and wonderfully present throughout.

Conflict created by murder?
Jenny: The body falls off the train at the very beginning, and even that flirting scene at the beginning is Peter/Alex trying to find out if she killed him.
Lani: Yes, and also by the mystery of where the money is.

Fair play with all the clues given?
Jenny: Yes
Lani: Yes.

Solved using deduction, not luck?
Jenny: Yes.  She tracks down every clue.
Lani: Yes; it’s Reggie who figures out how Charlie hid the money, and it’s through her deduction that she’s able to follow the trail through to the end

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Jenny says: 5 Pops
Mystery: 5, Craft: 5, Suspense: 5, Romance: 5

Lani says: 5 Pops
Mystery: 5, Craft: 5, Suspense: 5, Romance: 5

Laura

[audio:/podcasts/pdm09.mp3]
Download Episode | Subscribe via iTunes | Subscribe via RSS

Story:
A detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he’s investigating.

Detective:
Mark McPherson

Release Date:
November 1944

Writer:
Vera Caspary (novel), Jay Dratler (screenplay) and Samuel Hoffenstein (screenplay) and Elizabeth Reinhardt (screenplay) (as Betty Reinhardt) Ring Lardner Jr. (uncredited)

Source:
Laura, by Vera Caspary

Mystery Analysis:
Detective as protagonist?

Jenny: Yes.  Introduced in the first scene, then dropped while a suspect he’s interviewing throws the movie into one hellacious long flashback, then back to him.  Waldo’s voiceover is confusing, too.  The beginning of this movie is really botched, but MacPherson is definitely the protag.
Lani: Yes… once we finally get to him. The first third of the movie, Waldo’s presented as the protagonist, and the switch isn’t made gracefully.

Murderer as antagonist?
Jenny: Yes.  He does everything he can to muddy the investigation and throw suspicion on the other suspects.
Lani: Sure. Mostly.

Conflict created by mystery/murder?
Jenny: Yes.
Lani: Yes, the death of Laura brings the protagonist and antagonist together.

Fair play with all the clues given?
Jenny:  Yes.
Lani: Yes, in that we get all the clues that the detective does. He doesn’t get many actual clues, though.

Solved using deduction, not luck?
Jenny: Yes.
Lani: Yes, although if he’d looked inside the clock right after Waldo first mentioned it… but no nitpicking. Yes.

All threads pertaining to the mystery pull together at the end?
Jenny: Yes.
Lani: Yes. Not a lot of threads there, but yes.

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Jenny says: 3 Pops
Mystery: 4, Craft: 3, Suspense: 2, Romance: 2

Lani says: 2.5 Pops
Mystery: 4, Craft: 3, Suspense: 2, Romance: 1