During a high profile Mafia testimony case in California's Riverside County, a hired killer checks-in a hotel room near the courthouse while his next door depressed neighbor wants to commit suicide due to marital problems.
Felix Ungar has just broken up with his wife. Despondent, he goes to kill himself but is saved by his friend Oscar Madison. With nowhere else to go, Felix is urged by Oscar to move in with him, at least for a while. The only problem is that Felix is neat, tidy, and neurotic, whereas Oscar is slovenly and casual. Written by
Murray Chapman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
According to former Paramount production chief Robert Evans in his memoir "The Kid Stays in the Picture", producer Howard Koch originally wanted to use the Broadway cast, Walter Matthau (Oscar) and Art Carney (Felix) in the movie. Evans wanted Jack Lemmon for Felix. Evans also wanted Billy Wilder, who directed Lemmon and Matthau in The Fortune Cookie (1966), as writer-director. The cost for the Lemmon-Matthau-Wilder package was $3 million plus 50% of the profits. Paramount owner Charlie Bluhdorn balked at the demands and personally took over negotiations. Wilder eventually dropped out. Lemmon was signed for $1 million against 10% of the gross and Matthau got a straight salary of $300,000. See more »
In Oscar's apt., there is a wall lamp on either side of the front door. Each lamp holds two bulbs, but one of them is missing a bulb. This missing bulb jumps back and forth between the two lamps throughout the opening scenes. See more »
I am not a Neil Simon fan. Most of his movies I simply cannot take; they are so staged and contrived. They have such an air of a play about them; a total lack of verisimilitude. Please, watch Seems Like Old Times and tell me what the statistical probability of those occurrences would be: One in a billion? This movie is funny; the scene with Felix clearing his throat with those Moose calls is worth one showing alone. My other favorite is when one of the guys smells the cards,"He washed the cards, I can't believe it, He washed the cards, I'm getting out of here I can't take it anymore." Felix's anal retentive clean freak with Oscar's biggest slob on earth personalities generates lots of laughs. You will not suffer like you did in Barefoot In The Park with personalities around the couple that never have nor ever will live with you in an apartment building. The movie works because of the strength of the acting and the chemistry and comic timing of: Matthau and Lemmon. They work so well together. Walter was always so great with his facial expressions; often, the look he gets on his face is funnier than Simon's dialog.
No movie can be perfect, this is no exception. The pigeon sisters are not funny they are annoying, in the extreme. The scene is painfully bad. It drags on and on; when you read attacks on the movie here, trust me, this is what younger viewers are hating so badly. The scene was always too long and the writing with the two dumbest actresses they could have found lay waste to this part of the otherwise great movie. It is so phony, no women this stupid could possibly have functioned out in the world. The other part of the film, that drags, is after Oscar throws Felix out; this goes on and on pointlessly and without the slightest bit of humor. Simon always had dead spots in his writing; this movie is no exception. I, to be honest, get up during the Pidgeon sisters part, I come back ten minutes later. I usually turn the movie off after Oscar throws Felix out; the movie is over for all intents and purposes all that is left is unfunny resolution and boredom. Despite these flaws, which are minor compared to Biloxi Blues, Goodbye Girl or the dreadful Max Dugan Returns, the bulk of the movie is very hilarious.
The best of all that Neil Simon ever wrote. I agree with some of the above criticism; yet, it has some of the funniest scenes ever seen in a film and the two of them work together so well. A Very Good Comedy
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