Foul Play (film)

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Beware the Dwarf!

A 1978 comedy/thriller starring Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn.

Hawn is Gloria, a shy divorcee and librarian who one day decides to follow a friend's advice to throw caution to the wind, asking out a stranger whom she helps out when his car breaks down. When they meet at the movies that night, however, he's been shot, and manages to blurt out a cryptic warning -- "beware of the dwarf!" -- before dying; when she goes to get help, however, someone has taken the body before she can get back to her seat. Suddenly embroiled in a lethal conspiracy, Gloria finds herself being hunted by various parties who are eager to find out what she knows and make sure she doesn't tell anyone else. Various complications -- including diminutive salesmen, albino assassins, a lecherous conductor (Dudley Moore) and Detective Tony Carlson (Chase), a handsome police officer assigned to investigate her increasingly bizarre story -- ensue.

Tropes used in Foul Play (film) include:

Stanley: Binoculars? Are you into that as well?! I read about it in Penthouse magazine!

  • One-Scene Wonder: He has slightly more than one scene, but Dudley Moore arguably steals the movie as the hapless Stanley, who has no idea about any conspiracy except the one involving him getting into Gloria's pants.
    • Billy Barty as the Bible-selling midget also stands out.
  • The Pope
  • Punny Name: Gloria Mundy and Rupert Stiltskin.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Subverted; a snake appears in Gloria's landlord's apartment with sinister fanfare, but it turns out it's the landlord's pet snake Esmee, whom Gloria is fond of.
  • San Francisco
  • The Seventies: Oh man, Dudley Moore's apartment...
  • Straw Feminist: Gloria's friend Stella has tendencies towards this, appearing to view every man Gloria mentions -- or every man in general -- as a potential rapist.
  • The Voiceless: The Albino doesn't say a word in this movie.
  • You Have to Believe Me: Played with; although Gloria is reasonably calm and articulate when she tries to make her case (or at least as calm and articulate as a meek librarian with little experience in being plunged into a murderous conspiracy can be under such circumstances), she has difficulty in getting anyone to believe her story partly because it sounds so crazy, and partly because people keep disappearing the evidence before she can show it to anyone.