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Strangers When We Meet

4.5 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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(Feb 22, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET features an all-star cast including Kirk Douglas, Kim Novak, Ernie Kovacs, Barbara Rush and Walter Matthau. Douglas stars as Larry Coe, a gifted architect who, unhappily married, falls in love with his beautiful neighbor Maggie (Novak), whose marriage is also on the rocks. The two meet secretly while Larry is at work building a dream house for the eccentric writer and playboy Roger Altar (Kovacs). These clandestine trysts are known only to one other person'their mutualfriend Felix Anders (Matthau). But when Larry is offered a tremendous career opportunity in Hawaii,he is suddenly torn between his home, his career and his love for Maggie. And when Felix starts making passes at Larry's wife (Rush), the foundations of his entire life starts to crumble. Based on Evan Hunter's novel, STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET is a film in the tradition of classics such as Peyton Place and No Down Payment.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Kirk Douglas, Kim Novak, Barbara Rush, Ernie Kovacs, Walter Matthau
  • Directors: Richard Quine
  • Producers: Richard Quine
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Japanese
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Columbia / Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: February 22, 2005
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00070HK3I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,757 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Strangers When We Meet" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"Strangers When We Meet" (1960) is simply a magnificent movie. In this reviewer's opinion, the acting performances from every single member of this first-rate cast are brilliant -- from Kirk Douglas to Kim Novak to Ernie Kovacs to Walter Matthau. They are each just perfect here. Also keep an eye peeled for Sue Ane Langdon, who pops up in a brief cameo role.

And I certainly don't want to leave out Barbara Rush, who gives a knockout portrayal of Douglas' wife. Rush's final emotion-filled scenes in the film are literally worth a replay every time this movie is watched.

Walter Matthau's role in the film is fairly small, but powerful. Walter is thoroughly repulsive here as an aggressively-lecherous, scheming, and oversexed neighbor, who lives just a few doors down from Douglas.

Can you imagine that -- Walter Matthau being deemed "repulsive"? Hardly seems right, does it? But, in this flick, it applies. "Strangers" was made at a time when the then-39-year-old Matthau was playing more serious roles in the movies, and before all of his excellent comic parts. Four years after "Strangers", Matthau played another rather unlikable character, in 1964's "Fail-Safe", which was yet another fine performance by the versatile actor.

It's also kind of funny to note (in an "in-joke" fashion) that Matthau's character's name in "Strangers" is "Felix", which is a name that would be closely associated with Walter in the film "The Odd Couple" (1968), when Matthau's "Oscar" played opposite Jack Lemmon's "Felix".

Douglas and Novak are "strangers when they meet" in the supermarket one day, and they seem to have a genuine chemistry on screen here.
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Format: DVD
After World War II movies became more frank in subject matter. This was in part due to the changing mores of the returning vets and the women they came home to. After the horrors of war things would never be the same for them or for Hollywood. The other factor was the slow demise over the 50's of the studio system and the rise of television as a threat to the box office. The censors began to relax and allowed more adult themes to be presented on the big screen. By the early 1960's movies were well on there way to growing up. Taboo subjects such as prostitution, homosexuality and adultery were now subjects Hollywood was now eagerly taking on.

One of the more interesting and surprisingly un-judgmental of these films was the 1960 Colombia release, `Strangers When We Meet'. Produced by Kirk Douglas' company Bryna Productions and Richard Quinn Productions and taken from the novel by Evan Hunter the film is a fascinating look into the suburban lives of a Los Angeles architect, his wife and the other woman in his life.

Kirk Douglas gives a fine, understated performance as the architect Larry Coe. It is a stark contrast to his epic Spartacus of the same year. At a cross roads in his life he is given the chance to build the kind of house he always wanted to for upcoming novelist Ernie Kovaks while his company wants him to go on doing the same dull work they expect. He fights for his chance to take the chance of a life time with the skill of a fine screen actor.

As his wife, Barbara Rush is outstanding in one of her finest moments on screen. She is cold and withholding yet needy of her husbands love.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This is a taunt story of a love affair in an early 60's suburb. Kirk Douglas, Kim Novak, Ernie Kovack and Walter Mathau, a stunning cast, play out the story of an architech, Douglas, who wants to soar. His wife wants him to be successful and go for the stable. He meets a housewife, Kim Novack, at the school bus pick-up station. She has an air of danger. Douglas is intrigued.
Douglas is designing a house for a novelist, Ernie Kovack. Douglas and Kim Novack met at the site. They then proceed to have a torrid love affair.
Where is Novack's husband? Apparently out to lunch. In these modern times I would say he was probably gay, but never admitted it. He did not want to talk to his wife about sex, was not interested in touching her or anything else. She was starving for affection, but stayed because he provided middle class trappings.
In this movie Douglas looks his best. He is beyond the almost doll like handsomeness of his youth. He has enough maturity to make his face interesting. At 13 I fell in love with Kirk Douglas looking at this movie.
At that age I did not know enough to get the name of the movie, so when I happened to see it on AMC in the fall of 2001 I decided to buy it.
Well written, cinematography excellent,black and white, directed well.
A must see for Douglas, Novak, Kovack, or Mathau fans.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Larry (Kirk Douglas) meets Maggie (Kim Novak) and sparks start flying as soon as their eyes meet (during the opening credits!). They both have spouses, but are bored and, of course, unappreciated at home. Soon they're lying to their mates and meeting regularly for romantic trysts. Eventually, the truth comes out and Larry must choose between Maggie and his family.

The romantic drama is set in an affluent suburb in 1960, with beautiful clothes, bright orange furniture, and copper-colored kitchen appliances. Douglas's Larry is real, sensitive, and undeniably sexy; I really enjoyed his performance. Novak's sultry-voice and sleepwalker-style are overdone, but she's still believable as the housewife who wants to be good, but always ends up in trouble because she's just so gosh-darned pretty. Barbara Rush is lovely and charming as Larry's long-suffering wife. Walter Matthau plays a mild-mannered neighbor who turns out to be a rat.

There's a lush, romantic musical score and beautiful photography, and the seasoned actors make it seem real. "Strangers" ranks as a satisfying soaper and memorable chick flick. The DVD has no extras, but the story is worth watching again and again.
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