How 1985 Absorbed Clue
If you ever played a board game, you know that each time you play the game you end up receiving a new experience each and every time. What if one were to let’s say, be inspired to make a movie about a popular board game? How can one truly adapt a board game experience to the movie format? The answer is 1985’s Clue.
1985’s Clue is as close as one can go to adopting the experience of playing a board game on the silver screen. They accomplished this feat not just how it was directed but how it was showed in theaters.
During the production of the film, the script called for three different endings. They filmed all three different endings with the same quality of effort and then produced three different master reels. When they distributed the film reel to movie theaters, each one received only one of the three at random. This simple concept and idea made so when you watched the movie at one theater your ending may be different than your friend who viewed it at a different location.
The producers thought this would create buzz and get people to purchase three tickets and watch it multiple times. It didn’t quite work out that way. Some blame it simply on the film wasn’t worthy of multiple viewings, others blame it on an idea that was ahead of it’s time and hard to market the idea in 1985 not to mention movie reviewers struggled on how to properly review it. 1985 there wasn’t the internet, google maps, reddit. As such it was hard to determine which theater was showing which ending.
Some of the newspapers listed the movie showings (remember having to open a newspaper to see when a movie is been shown) with a letter “A”, “B”, or “C”, to mark which ending was shown at that location was showing which helped a little bit but was still confusing. This notation was carried over to the VHS and DVD home version.
While not actually an example of Bit Rot, the fact is the experience of watching Clue in 1985 can not truly be duplicated or absorbed the same way.
The article is dedicated to my friend Scott Suarez, who’s mother favorite game was playing Clue with friends and loved ones as well as watching the movie.