Rehearsal for Murder [1982]

Rehearsal for Murder fits the template of popular TV shows such as Murder, She Wrote and Diagnosis Murder. But that doesn't make it a worthy movie. The pedestrian plot involves five theater people who believe they are auditioning for a new play but have in fact been brought together to discern who among them is the murderer of Broadway star Monica Wells (Lynn Redgrave). After Monica's death is misinterpreted as suicide, her distraught fiancé, a not-so-Neil Simon playwright named Alex Dennison (Robert Preston), concocts the idea for a play within a play. He's invited these five to read for his newest opus. The catch? They all had dealings with Monica prior to her demise. It may hope to be a twisty Anne Perry, Miss Marple, or P.D. James thriller, but Rehearsal for Murder is in fact a trifle that takes itself too seriously and rambles in the final third. --Paula Nechak

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