The Odd Couple (1968)
Directed by Gene Saks
Starring: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau
In 1968, Neil Simon earned an Oscar nomination for his brilliant writing for this classic comedy. The film was also nominated for Best Editing at the 1969 Academy Awards. The movie stars Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, two men who would be paired together for a number of films including Grumpy Old Men, The Odd Couple II, Grumpier Old Men, and Out to Sea.
Oscar (Matthau) is a bachelor and a slob. When he’s not working on writing sports articles he’s out with the ladies or home playing cards with the guys. Felix (Lemmon) is one of those guys, but life has just thrown him a curve ball. When his wife asks him to leave, Felix finds himself living with Oscar while he seeks to put his life back together. Soon the differences between the two of them begin to stand out, with Felix working to create order and Oscar looking to keep things the way they always have been.
It’s always fun to watch this movie, the start of a great partnership between two wonderful actors. Thankfully, these two actors had a Neil Simon screenplay to work with. Matthau and Lemmon translated that script into comedy gold, with great dialogue and wonderful physical comedy. They also created a chemistry that feels genuine and honest throughout the entire film. It’s a partnership that I just haven’t seen equaled with any two other actors since.
The movie is visually good, and well-directed. The actors all do a wonderful job with their roles. The whole movie just works. It’s got an incredible repeat value as well. If you’ve seen this one, maybe you need to watch it again. If not, take time and see a real comedy. It’s great for the whole family and it’s a great example of the comedy of the 60’s. I give this one 5 out of 5 stars.