Tuesday, August 05, 2003


A Video Review of "The Out-of-Towners" (1970)

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

This Neil Simon work was originally intended to be part of Plaza Suite but luckily for us found its way to the screen on its own. The story is that of a man and his wife on a trip to New York City for a job interview where anything bad that can happen does.

Jack Lemmon in his prime was the master of the mad rant. Witness The Great Race and The Odd Couple as preliminary evidence but The Out-of-Towners is the prime example. Here he is the king. In the 1990s remake Steve Martin doesn't even come close to Lemmon's mastery. Nobody can rant like Jack. He makes this film with his outrage and histrionics.

Sandy Dennis is, well, Sandy Dennis. This is the same role she plays in every film, the whiny naggy Sandy Dennis. This is not a bad thing. Her skill as this character was marvelous here and in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe? and in Up the Down Staircase.

The rest of the cast is evened out with many of the brilliant character actors of the day. Look for Billy Dee Williams with a wild 1970s afro.

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