The movie that sparked an incredibly successful television show, this adaptation of the Neil Simon play (adapted by Neil Simon) was only the second film from Gene Saks – a director with a remarkably low output in his career. He worked almost exclusively with plays, and even though he didn’t direct many movies, he churned out this classic alongside Mame, Cactus Flower and Brighton Beach Memoirs.

Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon are in top form here in a surprisingly touching comedy that has sitcom sensibilities. This is the second movie they made together (out of ten), the first being The Fortune Cookie. As it happens, Robert Evans wanted their director there, the brilliant Billy Wilder, to write and direct here as well. As usual, money got in the way, but the movie turned out more than fine.

It makes a great double feature with Grumpy Old Men, and who could forget that theme music?

Let the film marketers of the past sell you on their movie by checking out more VTOTDs


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