IMDb > The Out of Towners (1970)
The Out of Towners
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The Out of Towners (1970) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

User Rating:
7.1/10   4,918 votes »
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Up 10% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writer:
Neil Simon (written by)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Out of Towners on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
28 May 1970 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
When they take you for an out-of-towner, they really take you.
Plot:
George and Gwen Kellerman live in the small, quiet town of Twin Oaks, Ohio with their two young children and pet dog... See more » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 2 wins See more »
User Reviews:
Going to hell in a handbasket See more (76 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Jack Lemmon ... George Kellerman

Sandy Dennis ... Gwen Kellerman
Sandy Baron ... TV Man

Anne Meara ... Woman in Police Station
Robert Nichols ... Man in Airplane
Ann Prentiss ... Airline Stewardess

Ron Carey ... Cab Driver - Boston
Philip Bruns ... Officer Meyers (as Phil Bruns)
Graham Jarvis ... Murray
Carlos Montalbán ... Cuban Diplomat (as Carlos Montalban)
Robert King ... Agent in Boston

Johnny Brown ... Waiter - Train
Dolph Sweet ... Police Sergeant
Thalmus Rasulala ... Police Officer (as Jack Crowder)
Jon Korkes ... Looter

Robert Walden ... Looter

Richard Libertini ... Baggage Man - Boston

Paul Dooley ... Hotel Clerk - Day
Anthony Holland ... Desk Clerk - Night

Billy Dee Williams ... Lost & Found - Boston
Bob Bennett ... Man in Phone Booth - Boston
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Regis Toomey ... Pilot on Airliner to New York (unconfirmed)
Ray Ballard ... Attendant (uncredited)
J. French ... Cleaning Woman (uncredited)
Maxwell Glanville ... Redcap (uncredited)
Hash Howard ... Second Hippie (uncredited)
Paul Jabara ... First Hippie (uncredited)
Milt Kamen ... Counterman (uncredited)
Norma Jean Kron ... Flight Attendant #1 (uncredited)
Alfred Mazza ... Bellhop (uncredited)

Thomas McGowan ... Sailor (uncredited)
Mary Norman ... Airline Stewardess #2 (uncredited)
B. Paipert ... Sweeper (uncredited)
Ronald Porter ... Man in Airport (uncredited)
Philip Suriano ... Liquor Store Looter (uncredited)
Arthur Tovey ... Man in Diner Car (uncredited)
Meredith Vincent ... Washroom Lady (uncredited)
A.P. Westcott ... Porter (uncredited)

Directed by
Arthur Hiller 
 
Writing credits
Neil Simon (written by)

Produced by
Paul Nathan .... producer
 
Original Music by
Quincy Jones 
 
Cinematography by
Andrew Laszlo (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Fred A. Chulack  (as Fred Chulack)
 
Art Direction by
Charles Bailey 
Walter H. Tyler (uncredited)
 
Set Decoration by
Arthur Jeph Parker (uncredited)
 
Makeup Department
William A. Farley .... hair stylist (as William Farley)
Clay Lambert .... makeup artist
Sharleen Rassi .... hair stylist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
William W. Gray .... production manager
Dale Hutchinson .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Peter R. Scoppa .... first assistant director (as Peter Scoppa)
 
Sound Department
Dennis Maitland .... sound recordist
Elden Ruberg .... sound recordist
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Edward R. Brown .... camera operator (uncredited)
Norbert Haring .... key grip (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Forrest T. Butler .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Grace Harris .... wardrobe (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Jack Hayes .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Leo Shuken .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Alan DeWitt .... dialogue coach
Don Record .... titles designer
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"The Out-Of-Towners" - Ireland (English title) (imdb display title)
"The Out-of-Towners" - USA (poster title)
See more »
Runtime:
101 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Writer Neil Simon originally intended this to be a segment of the play of Plaza Suite (1971). It was entitled "Visitor from Toledo" and was intended to open the play on Broadway but was cut during the rehearsal period. Simon once described the one-act to the 'Newark Eveing News' as being "...about a man who came to New York from out of town and lost his luggage. He got there in the middle of a transit strike. It was snowing. So after he had checked into the Plaza [Hotel] he had this monologue. We put 'Plaza Suite' into rehearsal, and after about the fifth day [the director] 'Mike Nichols' said 'We just have too much show here. If we include that monologue, the curtain will be coming down at midnight'".See more »
Goofs:
Crew or equipment visible: In one scene in a hotel room, the motion picture camera is momentarily visible in a reflection in a mirror hanging on the wall.See more »
Quotes:
George Kellerman:Tell him where you slept last night, hmm? Tell him what you had for breakfast. See how safe he feels.See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

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26 out of 31 people found the following review useful.
Going to hell in a handbasket, 21 May 2005
Author: Brandt Sponseller from New York City

I have a special name this genre--I call these "going to hell in a handbasket" (or just "hell handbasket") films. They are defined by taking "average Joes", often a bit timid at first, and setting them at odds against the world--initially through no, or at least relatively little, fault of their own--in an increasing spiral of dilemmas from which extrication seems impossible. The more they try to dig themselves out of a hole, the further they fall in. "Hell handbasket" films are often comedies, but need not be. Famous examples of the genre include After Hours (1985), Very Bad Things (1998), and My Boss' Daughter (2003). An even greater number of films have elements of the "hell handbasket" genre, combined with other genres, such as Suicide Kings (1997), Killing Zoe (1994) and Neighbors (1981). Because I really like what I consider nihilism in films, the "hell handbasket" genre is one of my favorites.

I bring all of this up, of course, because The Out of Towners is one of the earliest examples, if not the first full fledged "hell handbasket" film. Even if not the first, it is certainly one of the most influential. It may not be one of the best films of the genre any longer, but only because its successors have taken its pioneering lead and upped the ante. Still, the final verdict for me at this point in time is a B, or an 8. That, plus its historical importance, makes it well worth watching.

George (Jack Lemmon) and Gwen Kellerman (Sandy Dennis) are on their way from Twin Oaks, Ohio to New York City--George is up for a big job promotion. His company wants to make him Vice President of the head office in Manhattan. George is naturally a bit neurotic and obsessive/compulsive, and in order to make sure everything goes like clockwork, he has the trip planned out to the last minute.

Of course, things start going wrong, beginning with the flight to New York, which is first put into a holding pattern because of excessive traffic, then later sent to Boston because of the weather. They arrive in Boston hours late, and there is little chance they can get to New York City on time. Despite his planning ahead, it looks unlikely that George will be at his interview with the company President at 9:00 a.m. sharp the next morning.

If The Out of Towners has a flaw, it's that there are slight logical problems when it comes to the Kellermans getting into their increasingly difficult conundrums. A number of times viewers will find themselves asking questions like, "Wait, aren't their buses to New York City from Boston?" Or, "Why would they trust Murray (Graham Jarvis)?" Director Arthur Hiller, writer Neil Simon, and Lemmon and Dennis try to justify these decisions through characterization. George goes from neurotic and self-righteous to even more neurotic and self-righteous, which most of the time is sufficient support for him not always thinking rationally. Dennis goes from cool and collected (or at least she projects as much initially) to irritable, a bit panicky, and generally paranoid and put-off by the city. Still, there are times when the characterization isn't quite in tune with the characters' decisions. It doesn't happen too often, but often enough. Since this aspect is an extremely important element of "hell handbasket" films, it caused me to bring my rating down a point.

On the other hand, it's clear that Hiller and Simon aren't always shooting for a straightforward, literal film. In many ways, The Out of Towners is something of a New York City parable. Most of the elements that make the city a challenge are present--including dilemmas of transportation, the high cost of living, the difficulty of finding readily available and amenable services, strikes, bureaucracy, crime, trusting fellow citizens, the mostly aloof treatment of crazies, protests, social and ethnic conflicts, and so on. By the end of the film, it's no longer just a race to get to a job interview on time; it's a "universal" conflict of man against New York City.

George ends up yelling at the city in the middle of the street, "You won't beat me!"--even though he looks defeated. We could almost call it a love story for New York, although maybe only people who have lived in New York for an extended length of time would understand that. Since the Kellermans were out-of-towners, that might help justify the ending, which is otherwise inexplicable to New Yorkers. At any rate, if you're curious about what it's like to live in New York, watch The Out of Towners back-to-back with something like Woody Allen's Manhattan (1979). Even though both films are around 30 years old, the combination gives a good idea of the joys and joyous frustrations of living in the city.

Like usual, maybe I'm being overly analytical or abstract for many folks. So back to the basics. More often than not, the Out of Towners is funny--maybe not always tears-rolling-down-your-cheek funny, but at least chuckle-funny. When it's not funny, it's usually a joy to watch Lemmon's performance. Dennis can be more challenging for many viewers (quite a few people, including my wife, found her more annoying during the later portion of the film), but for me, her character worked as a good combination of foil and catalyst for Lemmon, even if she was something like a slightly toned-down Fran Drescher in "The Nanny" (1993).

Overall, the film works well enough to strongly recommend it, especially to Lemon fans, fans of comedies of this era, and fans of "hell handbasket" films, even if you didn't know you were one before you read this review.

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