The Odd Couple(1968) G
|Director:||gene saks||Runtime: 1 hrs 45 min (105 min)|
|felix ungar||.....||jack lemmon|
|oscar madison||.....||walter matthau|
|sports announcer||.....||bill baldwin|
|home plate umpire||.....||al barlick|
|hotel clerk||.....||john c. becher|
|bowler||.....||patricia d. bohannon|
|first base umpire||.....||augie donatelli|
|public address announcer||.....||jack lightcap|
|go - go dancer||.....||angelique pettyjohn|
|matty alou||ken boyer|
|heywood hale broun||jerry bucher|
|roberto clemente||tommy david|
|jack fisher||bud harrelson|
|cleon jones||ed kranepool|
|vernon lalo||bill mazeroski|
In today's society, it would be grounds for a diagnosis of OCD. Maybe this is one of the many reasons I am so attracted to this movie. I am afflicted with OCD. However, there is a line, and Felix Unger (Jack Lemmon) crosses it several times over. Actually, taking Felix on his own doesn't seem like as much an absurdity. It's when you stick him in the same apartment with Oscar Madison (Walter Matthau) that the sparks start flying.
These two are really best friends. They have to be in order for Oscar to provide Felix with a place to stay. This is exactly what this movie is about. Every Friday, Oscar hosts a poker game in his apartment with Felix and four other guys; Vinnie (John Fiedler); Murray (Herbert Edelman); Roy (David Sheiner); and Speed (Larry Haines). This Friday, Felix doesn't show and the gang is worried.
It turns out Felix has been kicked out of the house and is wandering the city thinking about and trying to kill himself…emphasis on the ‘trying.’ He ends up at Oscar's apartment anyway, and the gang is panicked for what he might try to do from this 12th floor apartment. Oscar says he can stay with him. Little does Oscar know what he is in for.
Oscar is the epitome of sloppiness and Felix is Mr. Clean himself. They say that opposites attract. Neil Simon doesn't think so. The idea of having a maid and butler at your service sounds pretty ideal. Unless it's Felix Ungar.
Oscar likes sloppiness. But his friend is in trouble, so he concedes to give a little and let Felix keep house, long as Felix stays out oh his way…which he doesn't. Still, Felix was going to commit suicide (or so he intended). But then Felix cleaned up the last straw. Oscar gets excited about a couple of girls he met in the elevator. He has invited them over for a &quo;double date&quo; with cocktails and dinner in his apartment. He thinks it will help Felix get out of his slump from being thrown out of his house.
When the girls arrive, however, somehow Felix manages to screw Oscar's plans up for the evening by relaying his own recent catastrophy with his wife Frances. This Oscar cannot overlook. Now Felix is being thrown out again
Once again the poker gang is worrying about Felix when they are told that he is out on his own again, so they set out to scour the city to look for him (or his body). From here the laughs continue until the end when…you guessed it…see the movie! One hour and forty-five minutes never passed so quickly!
I am a big fan of Niel Simon; as I am a big fan of Jack Lemmon; as I am a big fan of Walter Matthau. To have them all in one story is just gut-wrenching! For fans of the television show with Tony Randall as Felix and Jack Klugman as Oscar, be prepared for the step up to real comedy. Don't take that wrong, but there is no way that Randall and Klugman and television writers can even come close to Matthau and Lemmon in a play by Niel Simon.
Just reading the script puts me in stiches. Unlike many other decent comedies, The Odd Couple relys on absurd dialogue for laughs, and gets them every time. But wait…there's more…when you take that absurd dialogue and add the visual comedy of a cmedy team tnat was made in comedy heaven, I just don't have sufficient words. (Case in point…they made 10 great movies together.)
Speaking for a moment on behalf of the actors, both leads have comedy credit on their own to be proud of. Lemmon is notorious for great solo comedy such as The Out-Of-Towners (1969). Incidently, he is just a great all-around actor. See Days of Wine and Roses for an example.
Walter Matthau proves he can bring on his own laughs in The Bad News Bears. The duo is double the fun. Even more recently, they prove they still enjoy badgering each other in Grumpy Old Men (a rare case whereas I find the sequel, Grumpier Old Men to be just as entertaining as the first movie).
Back to this movie, though, although showing up for only small parts, John Fiedler and Herb Edelman are there to support what I thought couldn't be a funnier movie.
As for the tech stuff…who cares? The comedy is the only thing that is important here. Alright, the music is pretty good, too. And even THAT'S funny!
Finally, a short list of quotes and verbal exchanges I think are worth repeating.
You may recognize some if you've seen the movie, but these are my own picks, not ones that are particularly famous:
- oscar :
I got brown sandwiches and green sandwiches. Which one do ya' want?
What's the green?
It's either very new cheese or very old meat.
I'll take the brown.
- roy :
If he's laying in a gutter somewhere, who would know who he is?
He's got 92 credit cards in his wallet. The minute something happens to him, America lights up.
- murray :
A suicide telegram? Who sends a suicide telegram?
Felix the nut, that's who.
- felix :[to Felix]
Where are you going?
To the john.
I always go alone. Why?
No reason. You gonna be in there long?
As long as it takes.
- felix :
We don't always watch TV. Sometimes we read. Sometimes we talk.
Yeah, I read and you talk. I try to work and you talk. I go to sleep and you talk. We got your life arranged pretty good, but I'm still looking for a little entertainment.
What are you saying — I talk too much?
- felix :
Oscar, what is it? Is it the cooking…or the cleaning? The crying?
I'll tell you exactly what it is. It's the cooking, the cleaning, the crying. It's the talking in your sleep. It's those moose calls that open your ears at 2:00 in the morning. [honk…honk]. I can't take it anymore, Felix. I'm cracking up. Everything you do irritates me. And when you're not here, the things I know you're gonna do when you come in irritate me. You leave me little notes on my pillow. I've told you 158 times, I cannot stand little notes on my pillow—&quo;We are all out of Cornflakes–F.U.&quo; Took me three hours to figure out that ‘F.U.’ was ‘Felix Ungar.’ It's not your fault, Felix. It's a rotten combination, that's all.
- felix :
You're a wonderful guy, Oscar! You've done everthing for me.If it weren't for you, I don't know what would have happened to me. You took me in here. You gave me a place to live. You gave me something to live for. I'm never going to forget you for that, Oscar. You're tops with me!
If I've just been told off, I think I may have missed it.
- felix :
You mean move out this minute?
Yes. This minute. If you can do it sooner, I'd appreciate it.
In other words, you're throwing me out.
Not in other words. Those are the perfect ones!
- vinnie :
C'mon. Let's go back. He'll show up.
I know. He'll kill himself just to spite me. Then his ghost will come back following me around the apartment haunting and cleaning, haunting and cleaning, haunting and cleaning.
- oscar :
Aren't you going to thank me, Felix?
The two greatest things I've ever done for you—taking you in, throwing you out.
- felix :[to Oscar]
So long, Frances.
oscar :[to Felix]
So long, Blanche.
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