Title: The Odd Couple
Release Date: May 2, 1968
Director: Gene Saks
Production Company: Paramount Pictures
The Odd Couple tv series was an institution of my childhood and I always enjoyed Jack Klugman and Tony Randall as Oscar and Felix. But I’d never before seen the movie it was based on (nor the Neil Simon play which launched The Odd Couple franchise). The basic plot is that Felix (Jack Lemmon) splits up with his wife and ends up moving in with his divorced poker buddy Oscar (Walter Matthau). Tensions grow between the pair as Felix’s tidiness and neuroses clash with Oscar’s slobbishness and relaxed attitude.
What I really like about this movie is that it allows men to break from macho stereotypes and actually show feelings. Both men discuss their sadness of separation from their families, Felix admits that he knows that his neat freak tendencies come from deeper problems, and they even express affection for one another despite driving each other crazy.
The movie is comic and heartwarming and has a great supporting cast. Even John Fiedler, the voice of Piglet, has a part as one of the poker night group. The movie is also a great slice of life of late 60s New York. And I have to appreciate Oscar’s dedication to the Mets when the team had not even had a winning season yet at that point.