Cinema: Gumshoes

MURDER BY DEATH

Directed by ROBERT MOORE Screenplay by NEIL SIMON

Take a shot at this: try talking about a Neil Simon piece—play or movie or TV sketch—without retelling one of his gags. It is no secret that Simon's writing depends mostly on jokes, the kind of good delicatessen dialogue comedy writers toss off during a fast lunch. Niceties like plot and characterization are provided largely to make the jokes work. Simon's characters have quirks in place of personalities, and they tend to talk alike, because the jokes have little to do with the people...

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