The Odd Couple – the classic comedy film starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. Set in New York City in the mid 1960s, the film was originally written as a play and very much feels like it through the set design and flamboyancy of some of the scenes. The characters make the most of the stage and The Odd Couple is as much a physical comedy as it is an intelligent, witty comedy with great dialogue. The film is genuinely funny, although few elements may not hold up to well with time, however there is an authenticity to the acting, dialogue and story you rarely see in modern comedies.
The film centres mainly around the ‘suicidal’ Felix Ungar (Jack Lemmon) who has recently separated from his wife and moves in with his poker buddy, Oscar Madison (Walter Matthau), a leading sports writer and slob divorcé. The anally retentive Ungar takes up the 1960’s role of the wife in the relationship and “hilarity ensues”. The pair continue to grate on one another during their regular Friday night poker sessions, they have a particularly interesting double date at the apartment and continue to have increasingly common conflicts.
A film of this quality is rare, no matter the time period. It’s rightfully included on many film lists for must-see films, many Oscar & Golden Globe nominations, has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and was apparently the fourth highest grossing film of 1968. The reason I’m reviewing it for a Niche Film blog? Well, because I think many younger people might not be well acquainted with it and unaware of the genius behind a mid-1960s film simply about two men living together.