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.
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]