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How to Murder Your Wife
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How to Murder Your Wife More at IMDbPro »

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34 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

Cartoonish, and I Mean that in a Good Sense

Author: tedg ( from Virginia Beach
10 July 2005

I really want to recommend this movie to you.

Sure, it has a weak third act which pounds a particularly misogynistic message. And the end is so formulaic it hurts. But up until then, it classifies as among the best of comedies.

I have a particular admiration for it as what I think is the first example of a cartoonist whose drawings interweave with his life. Its a clever idea at root but handled with extra sophistication here.

The setup is that our hero (Jack Lemmon) is a cartoonist who draws himself in his strip as a sort of James Bond character. But before he draws each strip, he actually acts it out as movies that we see in the movie within the movie. (How he hires the actors and arranges the locations is a detail left unexplained.)

Thus, strip and life have a relationship within the story proper. Much is made of conflating the movie, the life depicted in the movie, the strip, and the movies within.

He ends up with an unwanted (well, sort of) wife and acts out her murder. Since she left in a huff, he has no defense when his readership (the whole country it seems) accuses him of real murder.

The pinnacle of this confabulation comes when his butler comes to the realization that the murder has actually been real with the enactment an alibi. Things go downhill from there. But until that point, this is sublime, a comic "Draughtsman's Contract."

See it.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.

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29 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Great fun.

Author: geoff-161 from Dallas Texas
6 November 2005

Neil Hefti's music is wonderful. He parodies spy thrillers and sex comedies in one clever score. He uses horns for the sex farce and echoes of the same horns for the spy parody. Simply brilliant.

I saw this movie when it came out and I remember more details than any movie I've seen. It made an amazing impression on me - at age 14. I was fascinated by the NY townhouse with that tiny front door right next to the single car garage with the electronic opener. Then there's the glopita glopita machine and the world's most powerful remote control.

And, today, it is still as funny as ever. Terry Thomas as the butler and on screen narrator is bragging away about his all-male world, when... Virna Lisi arrives as Mrs. Ford.

I know that many think it is an unadulterated attack on women, wives, and marriages. But, in an odd sort of way it lays bare the reality of human relationships. Everyone in every relationship that has lasted over the years has fantasized about killing the other person. It isn't a fantasy we want to come true. We've all thought at one time or another, "I'll kill myself and that will show'em!" Remember, that, at every step of the way it is clear that Mr. Ford loves Mrs. Ford - Bash lays Mrs. Brannigan on the bed, covers her with a blanket, and kisses her just as he's off on his caper to murder her.

It is certainly one true that the movie is dated as are 50's and 60's sex farces. But, the thing about this one is that it is so clever and it goes to such extremes even with the title. "How to Murder Your Wife." Indeed! But part of the fun of this movie is that it is so unpredictably predictable. We want to suspend disbelief for this movie. We want to laugh along.

It is said that this is one of Jack Lemmon's favorite movies - except for the murder trial. Funny thing is I thought the trial set the perfect notes for this farcical send-up of male fantasies.

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27 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Lemmon and the gorgeous Virna

Author: mwwhitefl from United States
12 July 2005

Jack Lemmon is at his comedy best, in the genre of some like it hot, while his gorgeous co-star here is not Marilyn but Italian Virna Lisi beckons all of us to speak Italian.

She cooks, she kisses, she cooks .......all while looking like the best of Gina Lolabrigida and Marilyn Monroe wrapped in silk (the white dress in the party scene is breathtaking).

The Classic Terri Thomas shows once again his comedic under used genius as the English genteel butler. The court testimony of Terri is almost worth the film.

Jack Lemmon goes on to make so many great films while we are left to Italian dubs of Virna best. She has had a stellar career in Italy as she has ages oh so gracefully. At 68 she is still a babe. Virna and Sophia as a 70 year old women show the pure glory of womanhood.

With How to Murder Your Wife I laugh, I lust and I so enjoy the early sixties social comedy films that are absent Rock Hudson.

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20 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Fantasyland of the 1960's

Author: jsdinc from United States
13 July 2007

I enjoyed "How to Murder Your Wife" immensely. The ordered, luxurious single world enjoyed by Jack Lemmon as Stanley Ford is forever altered by his inebriated marriage to absolutely gorgeous Virna Lisi, the most stunningly beautiful actress of her era. Their love-at-first-sight eye contact scene at a bachelor party is outstanding. The score is fantastic (I have recently purchased a mint LP) and provides the perfect accompaniment to the film. I stumbled upon this gem via DVR last month- see it if you can.

The closing scene is certainly dated and not politically correct, but suspend your disbelief and enjoy the ride.

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22 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Entertaining and enjoyable comedy

Author: rgshanks ( from Warrington, England
22 November 2000

Entertaining and enjoyable comedy which unfortunately is too long for the premise on which it is based, although Lemmon gives his usual faultless comic performance in the lead role of a successful cartoonist who wakes up one morning to find himself married following the previous drunken evening. However, the high point of the movie is undoubtedly Terry-Thomas' pivotal but underwritten performance as Lemmon's gentleman's gentleman whose concern for his employer's changed circumstances is as much as a result of his genuine desire to protect Lemmon's well-being as it is to avoid his own obsolescence.

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17 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Virna Lisi!!!

Author: mdantonio from New York
27 May 2008

This is an excellent and underrated movie that deserves accolades. Sure, it had a great cast and I feel that Lemmon was at his best, naturally using his acting skills and not so much yelling with force as some of his other comedies. What most everyone fails to mention in the comments is the incredible skill of Virna Lisi. She is a natural mixing it up with Lemmon, Tevor and the other veterans like she had been making movies for years. I have watched many movies in my day and I must say that Virna Lisi is right at the top, not only in beauty and sexuality but in carrying her role as good as anyone else could have. Ms. Lisi, my hat is off to you.

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20 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Smartly-written comedy with a great cast.

Author: jckruize from North Hemis
21 August 2001

Jack Lemmon and Terry-Thomas are great, of course, but some of the outstanding supporting players should be mentioned: Virna Lisi, absolutely gorgeous (and funny!) as Lemmon's "ball-and-chain," and the relatively unknown Eddie Mayehoff, who plays Lemmon's lawyer. Mayehoff's courtroom epiphany is hilarious. This guy steals every scene he's in from Jack Lemmon, and that's not easy.

Special mention should be made of Neal Hefti's sprightly score, one of his best. Love to have it on CD.

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15 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

When Life Imitates Cartoon Art

Author: theowinthrop from United States
17 May 2005

This was the last of the three comedies that Jack Lemmon made in the middle 1960s that he hated. Like GOOD NEIGHBOR SAM (and not like the abysmal UNDER THE YUM YUM TREE) HOW TO MURDER YOUR WIFE had a clever script and good production. Lemmon played a successful cartoonist who carefully scripts and photos the scenes he will use in his detective adventure strip. He lives in a townhouse, complete with top rate valet (Terry-Thomas) and has a wonderful life as a bachelor. But while attending a stag party, he meets Virna Lisi, and takes her home. Apparently he has married her (the groom at the stag party had broken up with his fiancé before the party, and throws the wedding ring out - and Lemmon uses it). As a result Lisi starts domesticating him, and Terry Thomas walks out. Lemmon uses the changes in his lifestyle in the comic strip, but finally he revolts and kills off the comic strip version of Lisi. When Lisi sees this she walks out, but everyone thinks that Lemmon killed her. So the scene is set for a murder trial.

This is not a film for feminists. It takes a dim view at the effect of domestication on Lemmon (and his lawyer, a hysterically funny Eddie Mayehoff). But I point out that before the end Lemmon does admit he misses the domestication. Even Terry-Thomas gives into it at the conclusion. It still a good comedy, a worthy minor work if not one of the high points in Lemmon's acting career.

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Watch for the sets, scenes, and not the social commentary

Author: campbabo from Madison, WI
7 November 2005

Many will gripe about the sexist views, but watch this flick for the lifestyle that is portrayed. Stanley Ford (Lemmon) works out at his men-only full grey sweats (the scenes in the "gymnasium" are priceless)...then he drives home in his 1965 Lincoln convertible (top down, of course) and parks in his exclusive, street level garage, and enters his wild multi'level bachelor pad...furnished, and decorated to the max. Get over the social stigma, and enjoy the ride, by the way, many of the "wifes" are depicted as much sharper than their dog-like husbands. You have to watch the artwork in Stanley's apartment, the depiction of the "Club", the jogging track, the action at the parties, the booze, the dress....amazing

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17 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

If you want to laugh, watch this one ...!!

Author: ( from London, England
14 July 2000

A Jack Lemmon classic! One of his best films. It has been some years since I've seen this film. However, it is one of those films that has remained firm in my memory as being enjoyable to watch. Also from the previous comments made, my memory has definitely been jogged! The film is excellent from start to finish. Comical scenes in the solicitor/attorney's office, the party, and the gentlemen's club are most memorable - especially the court room!

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