The Billy Wilder Film Collection

The Billy Wilder Film Collection
I guess with a director as prolific as Wilder, it’s hard to decide what makes the cut in a small collection like this. This set of four of Billy Wilder’s romantic comedies includes some funny films and an array of special features but the conspicuous absences of comedies like The Seven Year Itch or Irma la Douce are unfortunate. In Some Like it Hot, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis are two hapless musicians who’ve just witnessed a mob hit. The solution to their woes? Hitting the road in drag with an all-girl band, of course! The film gets going when the complicated romantic hi-jinx between Curtis and Marilyn Monroe heat up. This DVD’s chock full of special features, including two nostalgic featurettes, a press book gallery and the film’s original trailer. The Apartment introduced the world to the on-screen magic of Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. Lemmon’s Bud Baxter makes his Manhattan bachelor pad available to company execs for their discrete affairs, but of course, his boss’s girlfriend turns out to be the girl he’s sweet on. The eternal choice between love and business! It includes a commentary with a film historian, a doc about the film and a featurette about Jack Lemmon. Kiss Me, Stupid pits a self-parodying Dean Martin (as Deano Latino) against would-be-composer Orville Spooner (Ray Walston, who as it turns out is a great comic lead). When Deano’s car breaks down in the aptly named town of Climax, Nevada, Spooner and his songwriting partner concoct a scheme to keep him there long enough to sell him a song. Kim Novak is the sexy barmaid who pretends to be Orville’s wife so that he can keep the real Mrs. Spooner away from the stranded crooner’s charms. Includes one alternate scene and a theatrical trailer. The Fortune Cookie is too much of a morality tale to be as laugh-out-loud funny as the others, but at least it’s really well acted by the dynamic duo of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. In their first film together, Lemmon plays a reluctant victim whose slight injury is exploited for big bucks by his brother in law (Matthau), an ambulance chaser par excellence. The charlatans are set to split a lot of insurance company dough if Lemmon can stick to the program. Unfortunately, there are no special features for it. (Warner)