Walter Matthau

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?

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For 36 days straight, we’ll be exploring the famous 36 Dramatic Situations by presenting a film that exemplifies each one. From family killing family to prisoners in need of asylum, we brush off the 19th century list in order to remember that it’s still incredibly relevant today.

Whether you’re seeking a degree in Literature, love movies, or just love seeing things explode, our feature should have something for everyone. If it doesn’t, please don’t hide a dead fish in our backseat.

Part 11 of the 36-part series takes a look at “Rivalry of Kinsmen” with Grumpy Old Men.

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