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Neil Simon’s THE ODD COUPLE starring JACK LEMMON and WALTER MATTHAU

A New York live TV-and-theatre man, Neil Simon writes funny, pointed dialogue you memorize and trot out in real-life to suggest that you're wittier than you are ("Don't point that finger at me unless you intend to use it"), but he is the master of properties where the humor really does come from the situation. Having written a hit play and movie (Barefoot In The Park, 1967) about getting married, Simon followed through with one about divorce, but avoided the predictable marital screaming matches. Instead, he devised a set-up where, as in many sitcoms irreconcilable characters are trapped together, unsure whether they love or hate each other and locked in patterns of behavior that are funny but also tragic. In the long opening sequence, fussy TV news writer Felix (Lemmon), just booted out by a wife driven mad by his endless neatening, checks into a hotel to commit suicide (offered a room on the third floor, he asks "Haven't you anything higher?"), then seeks refuge with his already divorced best friend, slobbish sports writer Oscar (Matthau). The two share Oscar's apartment and grind up against one other, echoing the way they destroyed their marriages (they both semi-accidentally call each other by their ex-wives' names).

Though this is a widescreen, colorful film - with an irresistibly cool theme by Neal Hefti, creator of the "Da-na-na-na-na-na Batman!" tune - it's almost all set in the spacious apartment. Director Saks merely referees the performances of a couple of pros, working together for the second time after Billy Wilder's The Fortune Cookie (1966), in which they were also trapped together, when shyster lawyer Matthau forced Lemmon to pretend to be wheelchair-bound to make an insurance claim.

Matthau chews on Simon's dialogue ("Why doesn't he hear me? I know I'm talking. I hear my voice") as if it were aspirin, while Lemmon plays broader and more physically, clearing his ears with a "fmah fmah" sound compared to a moose-call and twittering around in an apron. Despite Oscar habitually calling his men friends "pussycat", "baby", "darling" and "dear" and Felix snapping at him for coming home late as the meatloaf he has prepared starts to frazzle, the joke is not that these two middle-aged men might be gay but that their nonsexual friendship is falling apart exactly as their marriages did.

Lemmon and Mathau's finest hour.

MOVIES ARE ON ARCHIVAL QUALITY TAIYO YUDEN OR VERBATIM ***All DVDs are MOD (made on demand) using archival quality DVD-Rs, with full color inkjet art on the discs and full DVD jacket art, in a standard DVD box. All DVDs are also in protective sleeves for the best protection of your new DVD as possible. Every DVD is guaranteed against defects. Thank you!*** and here is the basic disc info: MOVIES ARE ON ARCHIVAL QUALITY TAIYO YUDEN OR VERBATIM All DVDs are MOD (made on demand) using archival quality DVD-Rs, with full color inkjet art on the discs and full DVD jacket art, in a standard DVD box. All DVDs are also in protective sleeves for the best protection of your new DVD as possible. Every DVD is guaranteed against defects. Thank you! MEDIA, LABELED WITH FULL COLOR ART. PICTURE AND SOUND ARE ALWAYS 10 OUT OF 10, UNLESS NOTED, AND ARE COMPARABLE TO, OR BETTER THAN ANY COMMERCIALLY PRODUCED DISC. THEY ARE HOUSED WITH FULL-COLOR BOX ART IN STANDARD DVD CASES.