The Odd Couple - Centennial Collection Gene Saks

The Odd Couple - Centennial Collection Gene Saks
As the seventh release in Paramount's ever-expanding Centennial collection, The Odd Couple holds up with a shiny new transfer of the film, improved from the previous version released in 2000, but stumbles in the supplements department, having shorter and less varied featurettes with far less substance than the recently released Audrey Hepburn titles. In fact, all of the features on the second disc are essentially one "Remembering" feature divided into categories with flaky, hagiographic interviews from Larry King, Brad Garrett, Gene Saks and the sons of both Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. Directed by Gene Saks, as comedy auteur Billy Wilder proved far too pricey a director in conjunction with Lemmon's million-dollar paycheque, the adaptation of Neil Simon's hit play was strongly influenced by the on-set presence of Paramount production head Howard W. Koch, whose interest in the project translated into secondary direction. Many remember this film about two recently divorced men whose conflicting personalities clash when they move in together as the birthplace of the Lemmon and Matthau comic pairing, when really, the duo had been matched up two years earlier in Billy Wilder's The Fortune Cookie, for which Matthau earned an Oscar nomination. The success of The Odd Couple solidified this match, however, as the two demonstrated a strong comic chemistry, in reaction and inherent difference. With a decidedly dark tone, examining the anxieties of the middle-aged man when rejected from the family unit in an exaggerated manner that involves suicide attempts, the film proves interesting as a contemplative comedy but doesn't hold up well to modern day standards. What revisiting this film does is emphasize how Grumpy Old Men, for example, understood what worked well with the bickering buddies and what didn't. The pacing of The Odd Couple is bizarre at best, even if jokes about the initials F.U. and linguini still prove amusing. Without a Blu-Ray version of the film available, this Centennial Collection edition is easily the superior version out there for fans of this early example of a complicated bromance. (Paramount)