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|Index||67 reviews in total|
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."
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 club...in 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
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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