The Odd Couple (USA, 1968)

7CSMNVVsGFkRLa1djDAQxLW8D82Directed by: Gene Saks. I love a movie that has an iconic poster image, such as this one. I grew up watching Tony Randall and Jack Klugman in that iconic sitcom on Nick at Nite, and I had seen Lemmon and Matthau cut it up on Grumpy Old Men, but I hadn’t seen the original source. As much as I dislike automatic canon worship, this truly is one of those “classics” that lives up to its praise. I think that maybe modern audiences might not respond to this form of comedy. I can’t know if audiences viewed The Odd Couple in 1968 with the same brainless belly laughs that people are enjoying with Ted today, but I think that a modern viewer watching an earlier type of humour will necessarily appreciate it in a different way. To me, watching these two performances of Lemmon and Matthau is like reading a painting. There is something sublime in watching how this simple story, in its simple setting and small casting, unfolds. I had no idea about the suicidal exposition at the beginning, which gives the whole thing such a stark emotional underpinning. You laugh because they feel like real characters, even as they’re surrounded by the aura of distance, by those near-surreal colours and textures of 1960’s colour film stock, and pre-modern, presentational acting styles. Also, I could listen to that theme music all day.

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One response to “The Odd Couple (USA, 1968)

  1. Pingback: The In-Laws (USA, 1979) | Offhand Reviews·

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