Murder at 1600
|Murder at 1600|
The movie poster for Murder at 1600.
|Directed by||Dwight H. Little|
|Produced by||Arnold Kopelson
|Screenplay by||Wayne Beach
|Based on||Murder in the White House
by Margaret Truman
|Music by||Christopher Young|
|Edited by||Leslie Jones
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Box office||$25,804,707 (US)|
Murder at 1600 is a 1997 action film starring Wesley Snipes, Diane Lane, Dennis Miller, Ronny Cox, Daniel Benzali, and Alan Alda. The 1600 in the title refers to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the address of the White House. The film is based on the novel Murder in the White House by Margaret Truman, daughter of U.S. President Harry S. Truman.
In a restroom in the White House in Washington, D.C., a janitor finds White House secretary Carla Town (Mary Moore) dead. Metropolitan Police homicide Detective Harlan Regis (Wesley Snipes), whose apartment house is awaiting demolition in favor of a parking lot, is put on the case. At the White House, Regis is introduced to U.S. Secret Service Director Nick Spikings (Daniel Benzali), U.S. National Security Advisor Alvin Jordan (Alan Alda) and Secret Service agent Nina Chance (Diane Lane). Spikings assigns Chance, a former Olympic gold-class sharpshooter, to keep an eye on Regis.
Parallel to this, the White House has to deal with an impending international crisis: U.S. President Jack Neil (Ronny Cox) has been trying to deal with a situation where Americans are being held hostage in North Korea, and some people—including several members of his inner circle, led by Vice President Gordon Dylan—think the President is not handling it the right way. Some people think Neil should send troops to North Korea to rescue the hostages; he does not want to start a potential 2nd Korean War, and is disgusted that a high-ranking military official says that the main reason to act decisively is to send a message to North Korea's only ally, China.
White House janitor Cory Allen Luchessi (Tony Nappo) was apparently unaccounted for on the night of the murder and had once attempted to make a pass at Carla; he is arrested and questioned, but his testimony and a clearly set-up piece of evidence lead Regis to suspect that the Secret Service may be involved. That night, Regis finds his apartment burglarized; the culprit escapes, and in a subsequent search, a hidden bug is found.
In a picture of Carla, Regis sees Secret Service agent Burton Cash (Nigel Bennett), the Secret Service agent assigned to Kyle Neil (Tate Donovan), the son of President Neil and First Lady Kitty Neil (Diane Baker). Regis figures out that it was Kyle who had sex with Carla on the night of the murder. At the dance club, Regis talks to a young woman who says that Kyle once bragged that he shared Carla with his father. Carla's uncle's company, Brookline Associates, is President Neil's leading East Coast fundraiser and Brookline also owns the apartment Carla lived in.
Regis eventually discovers that Chance once used to be Kyle's bodyguard herself. When he confronts her, Chance explains that one night, she heard noises coming from Kyle's apartment, went in, and found Kyle beating up his girlfriend. The agent asked to be reassigned and was replaced by Burton Cash, and the Secret Service covered up the beating for Kyle so he would not be arrested for assault and battery. This sparks Regis' suspicion that Kyle may actually be Carla's murderer.
Chance and Stengel are brought to a hospital, where they recover from their injuries. In gratitude for his rescue, the President promises Regis to look into the commission who bought Regis's building.
- Wesley Snipes as Detective Harlan Regis
- Diane Lane as Agent Nina Chance
- Daniel Benzali as Agent Nick Spikings
- Dennis Miller as Detective Stengel
- Alan Alda as National Security Adviser Alvin Jordan
- Ronny Cox as President of the United States Jack Neil
- Diane Baker as First Lady Kitty Neil
- Tate Donovan as Kyle Neil
- Harris Yulin as General Clark Tully
- Tom Wright as Agent Cooper
Producer Arnold Kopelson was attracted by the Murder at 1600 for considering that "lately, the White House has been vulnerable to a surprisingly wide variety of assaults," and along with producer Arnon Milchan offered the script to director Dwight H. Little, who accepted as despite his action film experience he never did a suspense "and political thrillers are probably my favorite movie genre; I love those seminal conspiracy movies of the '70s." The filmmakers then invited Wesley Snipes considering him to have the physicality, intelligence and humor required for Harlan Regis, and Snipes accepted for the depth of the character and "the opportunity to do a suspense role, which is usually reserved for more mature actors." Diane Lane was attracted by the role of Agent Chance because "she stands by her personal code," and Lane had the markswoman experience required for the role.
Although filming had scenes in Washington, D.C., primary locations were in Toronto, Canada and nearby locations in Ontario. As Absolute Power was occupying the Oval Office set built for Dave, a new Oval Office was built in the Cinespace studios in Kleinburg. The film crew made many visits to the White House for reference in making what production designer Nelson Coates described as "the most architecturally accurate" recreation of the room. The Oval Office still stands at the studio, and has been used in productions such as Dick and The Sentinel.
The film was well received at the box office. It opened at No. 3 with $7,962,268 in its opening weekend and went on to make a total of $25,804,707 in the US.
Murder at 1600 received generally poor reviews from critics, as it holds a 35% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
- Murder at 1600 at the Internet Movie Database
- Murder at 1600 at Box Office Mojo
- Murder at 1600 at Rotten Tomatoes