1968 / Director. Gene Sacks
The Odd Couple is based on Neil Simon's stageshow of the same name and it's an example of the perfect comedy. It was the second of several Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau collaborations, but it was the first to fully showcase their dynamic as a comedy duo. With the help of an amazing script, the movie tells of Felix and Oscar, two best friends with opposing personalities. Felix is divorced, slobbish and happy in life, while Felix is recently divorced, obsessive-compulsive and suicidal. When Felix (Lemon) hits an all time low, Oscar offers him a place to stay and what Oscar expects to be a swinging bachelor pad turns out to be a bickering marriage arrangement. Aside from two amazing performances, the film's strength lies with it's drama. The opening sequence is both heartbreaking and hilarious as Felix attempts suicide and fails. Lemon presents a man at his lowest, with deeply seeded sadness in his eyes. Every time I see these early scenes, I am blown away. In turn Matthau rolls out one hilarious line after another, the way only Matthau can, and what looks like a basic comical performance on the surface soon evolves into something emotional and strong. There is a reason why these two guys continued their partnership over several decades. Their relationship feels (is) genuine. Beneath the hostility is a love for one another that glues the story together and makes for one of the greatest comedy films ever made. A true classic in every sense.