Odd Couple
  • Odd Couple
  • Odd Couple

Odd Couple

5.0 6
Director: Gene Saks

Cast: Gene Saks, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, John Fiedler

     
 

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Gene Saks' The Odd Couple (1967) wasn't, on its face, a likely film to be shot in Panavision, A character-driven comedy that was a hit on Broadway with Art Carney and Walter Matthau, the anamorphic lens would seem to destroy any intimacy that one might be able to develop with those characters. But Saks wisely chose to open up the play and turn New York CitySee more details below

Overview

Gene Saks' The Odd Couple (1967) wasn't, on its face, a likely film to be shot in Panavision, A character-driven comedy that was a hit on Broadway with Art Carney and Walter Matthau, the anamorphic lens would seem to destroy any intimacy that one might be able to develop with those characters. But Saks wisely chose to open up the play and turn New York City into a co-star, giving us a theatrical framing for the apartment where a good chunk of the action does take place. For all of those reasons, the DVD of The Odd Couple, which is fully letterboxed at 2.35:1, is essentially like seeing the movie for the first time. The restoration of the image also gives a glowing, glistening look at New York City of the era, the exterior shots possessing a new allure that no full-frame presentation could possibly equal -- from the silken darkness surrounding Felix's lonely walk by the river to the bright morning on Riverside Drive as he runs to catch the M-5 bus, the movie contains myriad images of the city at its most distinctive. Much more important, the movie is genuinely funnier when seen this way. In the scene at Oscar's apartment with the poker-playing buddies, it's a revelation to see all five of the players and their reactions and interactions in one shot, or to watch them chasing Jack Lemmon around the apartment. Not only do we see the care and skill with which Saks directed every corner of the scene, but we see it all amid the squalor of the Oscar Madison apartment. A lot of care was spent in decorating that set and it pays off when you can actually see it; and when Lemmon's Felix is clearing his ears in the luncheonette, it's three times funnier to see the entire row of customers turn from the counter in his direction to see what the honking is about. The other amazing element of the disc is the sheer beauty of the transfer and the source print, which is extraordinary; the image is gorgeous, even in its depiction of the horrendous condition of Oscar's apartment. The 16 chapters are well chosen and labeled in terms of breaking down the plot. The only disappointment is the sound, which is mastered at a fairly low volume but pumps up nicely and does justice to Neal Hefti's score. English subtitles and a French audio track are also available, accessible through a two-layer menu that also offers the original trailer.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Matthew Grimm
Bearing little resemblance to the TV sitcom that later diluted its memory, this small gem of a film represents the tasty darker side of playwright Neil Simon's often melodramatic work. The setup is almost mythic by now: Felix Ungar (Jack Lemmon), dumped by his wife and borderline suicidal, is taken in by the warmhearted but slovenly sportswriter Oscar Madison (Walter Matthau), and neuroses of the highest order ensue. Lemmon, American cinema’s first obsessive-compulsive antihero, serves as the perfect straight man to Matthau’s wisecracking guy’s guy, a vaguely domesticated, willfully devolved caveman. The dichotomy yields rampant domestic conflict and, better still, some deliciously delivered Matthau murder threats. Even amid regrets over his mistreatment of his roomie, Matthau fears Felix’s ghost returning to the apartment, "haunting and cleaning, haunting and cleaning." Nimble performances abound, including those of the four poker buddies, who click so well on screen you almost wish Simon had written them bigger roles. Still, it is Matthau and Lemmon who made cinema history here, forging a partnership that made this and all their subsequent movies -- from The Front Page to the Grumpy Old Men series -- must-sees.
All Movie Guide
Perhaps the funniest film version of a Neil Simon play, The Odd Couple benefits from the superb comic interaction of Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. It was Matthau and Lemmon's second movie together (following 1966's similar Fortune Cookie), though it would not be their last. Adapted for the screen by the playwright and helmed by Broadway director Gene Saks, the film successfully walked a fine line between sheer comedy and sincere drama. Matthau and Lemmon would re-team for the rest of their careers, but never with the vitality that they exhibited in this film. The Odd Couple was later a popular, long-running television show, with Tony Randall and Jack Klugman in the Lemmon and Matthau roles.

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Product Details

Release Date:
12/12/2000
UPC:
0097360802641
Original Release:
1968
Rating:
G
Source:
Paramount
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Mono, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
1:45:00

Special Features

Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jack Lemmon Felix Unger
Walter Matthau Oscar Madison
John Fiedler Vinnie
Herb Edelman Murray
David Sheiner Roy
Larry Haines Speed
Monica Evans Cecily
Carole Shelley Gwendolyn
Iris Adrian Waitress
Roberto Clemente Actor
Bud Harrelson Actor
Maury Wills Actor
John C. Becher Hotel Clerk
Heywood Hale Broun Sportswriter
Maury Allen Actor

Technical Credits
Gene Saks Director
Jack Bear Costumes/Costume Designer
Robert R. Benton Set Decoration/Design
Frank Bracht Editor
John R. Carter Sound/Sound Designer
Charles Grenzbach Sound/Sound Designer
Robert B. Hauser Cinematographer
Neal Hefti Score Composer
Howard W. Koch Producer
Paul K. Lerpae Special Effects
Hank Moonjean Asst. Director
Ray Moyer Set Decoration/Design
Hal Pereira Art Director
Jack Petty Makeup
Harry Ray Makeup
Neil Simon Screenwriter
Walter Tyler Art Director
Wally Westmore Makeup

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Scene Index

Scene Selection
0. Scene Selection
1. To My Wife And Beloved Children. [8:53]
2. Poker Night. [5:42]
3. Felix's Breakup. [4:53]
4. Impossible To Live With. [9:47]
5. Oscar's Proposal. [2:25]
6. Triple Play. [8:31]
7. Four Minutes Of Poker. [4:09]
8. Break The Lousy Cup. [:01]
9. Looking For A Little Entertainment. [2:15]
10. Double Date. [3:54]
11. The Coo-Coo Pigeon Sisters. [4:33]
12. Separate Keys. [3:26]
13. Now I'm Going To Tell You Off. [1:17]
14. Let It Be On Your Head. [5:43]
15. The Game Must Go On. [14:17]
16. End Credits. [2:32]

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