Felix's (Jack Lemmon) wife has left him and he is contemplating suicide. His friends sense his depression and one of them, Oscar (Walter Matthau), volunteers to take him in until he is fine again. The two of them are like chalk and cheese - Oscar is fun-loving, gregarious and slovenly, Felix is a shy, stay-at-home, obsessive-compulsive neat-freak. Being around Oscar brightens Felix up, but he quickly starts to irritate Oscar.Written by
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 »
As Felix and Oscar walk past the supermarket, Mackerel is misspelled on the marquee as Mackeral. See more »
When the credits for Cecily and Gwendolyn Pigeon are displayed, they are first in the wrong order (since Oscar also keeps mixing them up) and after a couple of seconds they shift to their correct positions. See more »
I have seen this film many times and I like all bad teachers want to give it ten out of ten but feel that it would be unfair to other good films. However, I do think that this is one of those rare gems: a perfect comedy. It is I would venture one of the greatest comic films of all times. Matthau and Lemmon are perfectly matched and mismatched. The script is so sharp that you need to staunch the bleeding. The story is well known and has already been described in other comments. The two leads give extraordinary performances, the girls are superb and the situations are side-splittingly funny. Not one swear-word in sight (mark that Hollywood, you don't have to swear to be funny, you have to be witty) and the move from stage to film is seamless. They don't make'em like this any more. Timeless.
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