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How to Murder Your Wife

Overview

George Axelrod's script for How to Murder Your Wife isn't politically correct in the least, but you're likely to get a charge out of it -- provided you are of the male persuasion, that is. Jack Lemmon stars as Stanley Ford, a successful cartoonist and a confirmed bachelor who shares a lavish apartment with his misogynistic manservant, Charles Terry-Thomas. While attending a friend's bachelor party, Stanley falls head over heels in love with the gorgeous bikini-clad girl Virna Lisi who pops out of a cake. He ...
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Overview

George Axelrod's script for How to Murder Your Wife isn't politically correct in the least, but you're likely to get a charge out of it -- provided you are of the male persuasion, that is. Jack Lemmon stars as Stanley Ford, a successful cartoonist and a confirmed bachelor who shares a lavish apartment with his misogynistic manservant, Charles Terry-Thomas. While attending a friend's bachelor party, Stanley falls head over heels in love with the gorgeous bikini-clad girl Virna Lisi who pops out of a cake. He impulsively marries her, but thinks better of it the next day. Alas, Stanleycan't get a divorce because his bride is an Italian Catholic this is 1966. Dicier still, she is a "domestic goddess," lovingly plying her hubby with rich Italian food until Stanley's once-athletic physique is as bloated as the dirigible Hindenberg. Stanley's descent into husbandhood is reflected in his work: his popular adventure comic strip "Bash Brannigan" metamorphoses into a Blondie-like "idiot husband" daily. As a catharsis, Stanley vicariously "kills" his lovely wife by having Bash Brannigan murder his missus. Stanley's wife sees the finished strip on his desk and runs tearfully out of his life at least temporarily. The publication of the strip, coupled with his wife's disappearance, results in Lemmon being put on trial for murder. We won't tell you how things turn out; suffice it to say that most feminists will be outraged, while most husbands will laugh immoderately. Eddie Mayehoff and Claire Trevor provide sparkling support as Lemmon's bombastic editor and his dragon-like wife.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
If a viewer can look at How to Murder Your Wife as something from a time capsule, a piece that captures a certain societal attitude circa 1965, he or she will likely have an easier time enjoying it. The basic premise will still likely offend some, but if they can get past that and enjoy the skill that has gone into making Murder, they may start laughing in spite of themselves. In a way, it's too bad the filmmakers didn't go further, making a film that was really darkly comic and edgy in an over-the-top manner. But by making this a "tired businessman" comedy, they dilute the impact while elevating the potential to pointlessly offend. Still, George Axelrod's script has some pithy moments, and Richard Quine directs with precision, although both lose track of things toward the end, when Murder just gets to be a little too much. Fortunately, Jack Lemmon is on hand and is in top farceur mode, making zircon-level humor shine and glisten like diamonds, and providing enough personal charm to keep the entire enterprise aloft all by his lonesome. That he doesn't have to do so, thanks to an excellent supporting cast, is a bonus. Virna Lisi is a sexy delight, Terry-Thomas makes disapproval into a comic art form, and Eddie Mayehoff and Claire Trevor are a perfect duo. Add in Richard Sylbert's period bachelor accoutrements, Harry Stradling's glossy photography, and Neal Hefti's groovy score, and the result is a movie that manages to be enjoyable in spite of itself.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/17/2015
  • UPC: 887090091305
  • Original Release: 1965
  • Source: Olive Films
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:58:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 87,025

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jack Lemmon Stanley Ford
Virna Lisi Mrs. Ford
Terry-Thomas Charles
Eddie Mayehoff Harold Lampson
Claire Trevor Edna Lampson
Sidney Blackmer Sr. Judge Blackstone
Max Showalter Tobey Rawlins
Jack Albertson Dr. Bentley
Alan Hewitt District Attorney
Mary Wickes Harold's Secretary
Barry Kelley
William Bryant
Charles Bateman
Edward Faulkner
Lauren Gilbert
Howard Wendell
Khigh Dhiegh
Technical Credits
Richard Quine Director
George Axelrod Producer, Screenwriter
Gordon Carroll Producer
Neal Hefti Score Composer
William Kiernan Set Decoration/Design
Moss Mabry Costumes/Costume Designer
Robert Sidney Choreography
Harry Stradling Cinematographer
Richard Sylbert Production Designer
David Wages Editor
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