The Odd Couple
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Neil Simon's beloved story about two divorced men who decide to share a New York apartment. Felix is fussy and fastidious to a fault. He proves that cleanliness is next to insanity. Oscar wreaks havoc on a tidy room with the speed and thoroughness of a tornado. An enduring and endearing picture with the intelligence one usually misses in comedies.
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It is disappointing that the manufacturer couldn't invest just a little bit more in quality control when mastering this blu-ray. We are not returning this disc because if one unit is like this, then most or all units will be like this (it depends on whether the problem was ever corrected before all units were made). There is no point in going to the trouble of exchanging discs just to get another one exactly the same.
This is a great movie and the blu-ray picture quality is excellent. If you are not sensitive to the sound-sync being a little bit off towards the end of the story, then go ahead and purchase this blu-ray for the enjoyable performances and excellent picture quality.
Whereas the TV shows put a lot of emphasis on Oscar's hangups, the Movie takes two divorced (and clearly heterosexual) men, and turns them into a squabbling yet committed "married" couple in the sort of satire of marriage that they seemed to do so well back then. Matthau's Felix is as dazed by Oscar's complexities and irrational demands as one guesses he must have been by those of his wife. And Oscar is just as blind to how his needy and demanding nature are driving Felix crazy as he was to his actions towards his wife, even though he talks about it quite openly. Trying to watch the first TV show, which I saw as a kid, is much more difficult than watching the current version, but both are a pale effort compared to this well written and well acted movie. Lemmon has had other "odd couple" pairings, and had them before this too, but none hit the mark so well and with such sophistication as this one does and its the sophistication that is what is missing in so many of today's movies.
The previous 1966 pairing of Matthau and Lemmon in The Fortune Cookie was a critical and box office success, so the following year Simon's hit play was scheduled for filming. The same primary talents were expected to be involved, namely Matthau, Lemmon and director Billy Wilder. But the combination of Wilder and Lemmon was too much for the proposed budget, and Wilder was replaced by Gene Saks as director. Even with this bit of economizing, Lemmon's salary alone accounted for the majority of the budget.
A first-rate Blu-ray re-master now heightens the viewer's experience with a pristine look at this classic comedy. Loaded with great lines, some of which have entered the language, The Odd Couple has one line in particular with which divorced men everywhere can identify. Showing the Pigeon sisters snapshots of his former home, Felix mentions that the lamps were purchased in Mexico on his honeymoon. A sympathetic Pigeon asks, "did she get the lamps, too?" So for beer, poker and sympathy drop by and visit Oscar and Felix. Come for the angst, stay for the laughs. Just be wary if Oscar offers you your choice of "brown sandwiches or green sandwiches."