Mysteries: The Series

So we have a definition:

“A mystery is a story in which a protagonist solves a puzzle/mystery/crime.”

And we have a plan: We’re going to start with the baseline of the classic mystery plot and then look at how the subgenres work within that plot.

And we have a draft list for discussion; suggestions for other title welcomed (the numbers after the subtitle show how many movies we need for that subsection):

September: Classic Mysteries (6)
1974 Murder on the Orient Express
1996 Lone Star
1997 Jonathan Creek
2010 Sherlock
1954 Rear Window
1993 The Fugitive
1994 The Client

October/November: Noir Mysteries (7)
1941 The Maltese Falcon
1974 Chinatown
1987 The Big Easy
1989 Sea of Love
1997 LA Confidential
2005 Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
2006 Brick
Veronica Mars

December/January: Romantic Mysteries (7)
1934 The Thin Man
1944 Laura
1955 To Catch a Thief
1963 Charade
1976 Silver Streak
1978 Foul Play
1991 Dead Again
Moonlighting

February: Comedy Mysteries (4)
1944 Arsenic and Old Lace
1955 The Trouble with Harry
1964 A Shot in the Dark*
1976 Family Plot
1976 Murder by Death*
1985 Fletch
1985 Clue*
1988 The Naked Gun*
1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
1998 The Big Lebowski
2007 Hot Fuzz
*anything with an asterisk is farce
Psych or Keen Eddie

March: Non-Traditional Mysteries (4)
1950 Rashomen
1995 The Usual Suspects
1996 Fargo
1998 Wild Things
2000 Memento
Columbo

What should stay, what should go, what did we miss?

12 thoughts on “Mysteries: The Series

  1. Oh Oh please please keep Clue (I love that film) and in terms of structure and finding our about puzzles i think it does a lot of things that are interesting.
    I love Jonathon Creek it does the puzzle solving in a way that plays with premises and the hero. Also I would vote for Rear Window as well, James Stewart is a great protagonist in it.

  2. I wonder why you have the number 4 for Romantic and Non-traditional. I guess we could limit the Romantic mystery, but I’d really love to keep all of the non-traditional ones.

    My votes:

    September: Classic Mysteries (6)
    Must Keep:
    1974 Murder on the Orient Express
    2010 Sherlock
    1954 Rear Window
    And, I’ll be happy with any of the rest – I haven’t seen Lone Star or Johnathan Creek, but if it’s between the two I vote for Francis McDormand. 🙂

    October/November: Noir Mysteries (7)
    1941 The Maltese Falcon
    1974 Chinatown
    1987 The Big Easy

    1997 LA Confidential
    2005 Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
    2006 Brick
    Because I haven’t seen Brick and I’d rather see that than re-watch Sea of Love

    December/January: Romantic Mysteries (7)
    1934 The Thin Man
    1944 Laura
    1955 To Catch a Thief
    1963 Charade

    1978 Foul Play
    1991 Dead Again
    Because I’d rather add one to the non-traditional list. Yes, I know this messes up the genre and month groupings, but I really like the non-traditional list. 🙂

    February: Comedy Mysteries (4)

    1964 A Shot in the Dark*

    1976 Murder by Death*

    1998 The Big Lebowski
    2007 Hot Fuzz

    March: Non-Traditional Mysteries (5)
    1950 Rashomon
    1995 The Usual Suspects
    1996 Fargo
    1998 Wild Things
    2000 Memento

    And that’s my vote.

  3. If we HAD to keep the Non-Traditional list at four, my must keeps are

    1950 Rashomon
    1996 Fargo
    2000 Memento

    with the other two being equal for last.

  4. Oh, I want to add more. (Sorry). I’ve never seen Klute. And, thinking about that made me think of The French Connection. Maybe mystery could go into April?
    *ducking and running*

  5. My husband just sent me a link to this site
    http://www.verysmallarray.com/?p=1165
    Kind of interesting that Mystery doesn’t even show up as a genre on these charts. I wonder if it’s somehow a subgenre of other genres, when it’s film, or if there just aren’t enough of them to show up on the chart, or if they’re not high-grossing enough or don’t produce academy award nominations?

  6. For the comedy mysteries I vote Fletch, Roger Rabbit and Trouble With Harry. Love Arsenic and Old Lace, but is that really a mystery? He knows who killed who the whole time, he just doesn’t want anyone else to find out. Surprised about placement of Big Easy and Laura; I would have thought Laura was noir and Big Easy romantic, but as long as we get to watch them both, I don’t care where they are 🙂 Also vote to keep The Maltese Falcon, LA Confidential, Veronica Mars and Dead Again. For classic mysteries, can I suggest Witness for the Prosecution? It’s my favorite Christie story and Dietrich and Laughton are awesome in it.

  7. OK, blame the papers I’ve written on film noir for this: went to Google and found this http://www.filmsite.org/filmnoir.html. Now definitely recommend moving Laura to the noir series if the subgenre the film is placed in has any bearing on how you rate it (especially since romance in film noir tends to be handled very differently than in a mystery with a romantic subplot).

  8. When I saw TV shows on the list I went to amazon and Netflix to check on Prime Suspect with Helen Mirren because it would be great. But it’s only available on disc on Netflix and it’s not a cheap rental on amazon. Also the David Suchet version of Murder on the Orient Express was so much better. It’s available streaming from amazon but sadly it’s not cheap. Although, it is available on disc from Netflix.

    But looking at the list ‘as is’ I’d love to keep:
    Murder on the Orient Express
    Sherlock

    The Maltese Falcon
    LA Confidential

    The Thin Man
    Moonlighting

    Murder by Death and/ or Clue
    Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

  9. I was looking at the Edgar award for previous movies and they are what you’d expect – and many are already on the list. Here are some others that were interesting:

    Get Shorty
    A Fish Called Wanda
    The Name of the Rose
    12 Angry Men

  10. Ooh, now that someone has mentioned The Name of the Rose…thats quite something and a bit different. Theres only so much Hitchcock I can stand…

  11. Oh, forgot to mention other Romantic Mystery TV options of Castle, Hart to Hart, or Remington Steele.

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