Tag Archives: Jack Lemmon

Billy Wilder – The Front Page (1974)

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Billy Wilder’s 1974 remake of the Ben Hecht – Charles MacArthur play The Front Page, famously adapted 34 years before, by Howard Hawks as His Girl Friday, is widely regarded as that point in time when Wilder’s art went into rapid decline, that the picture demonstrated that the director of Sunset Boulevard, Ace in the Hole, and The Apartment had lost his confidence, that he had become out of step with the times and could no longer connect with the tastes of a changing movie-going audience. In fact The Front Page is a reasonably successful adaptation, darkly cynical like most of Wilder’s best work. Wilder and collaborator I.A.L. Read More »

Daniel Petrie – Inherit the Wind (1999)

This is another re-enactment of the play about the trial in 1925 of a school teacher who dared to teach Darwinian theory in his classroom. He did this as a consequence of one of his student’s request to know… The student was a lad named ‘Stebbins’, and the trial (dubbed the ‘Monkey Trial’) pitted the great attorney of the day, Clarence Darrow, against the often running presidential candidate, and famous orator, William Jennings Bryan. Read More »

Blake Edwards – Days of Wine and Roses (1962)

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In this addiction melodrama, Joe Clay (Jack Lemmon), a promising adman, meet his future wife Kirsten (Lee Remick) at a party. Once married, the pressures of his business lead Joe to seek solace in liquor. Kirsten joins him in his nocturnal drinking sessions, and before long both are confirmed alcoholics. After several frightening episodes, Joe is able to shake the habit thanks to AA, but Kirsten finds it impossible to get through the day without liquor. The two split up, although Joe clings to the hope that someday he and Kirsten will be reunited, if for no reason other than the sake of their young daughter. J.P. Miller adapted the screenplay from his own 1958 Playhouse 90 television script. Though nominated in several categories, Days of Wine and Roses won only the Best Song Oscar for Henry Mancini’s title tune. Read More »

Billy Wilder – The Fortune Cookie (1966)

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While taping a football game, cameraman Harry Hinkle (Jack Lemmon) ends up slightly injured after a collision with star player “Boom Boom” Jackson (Ron Rich). When Hinkle’s scheming brother-in-law, lawyer Willie Gingrich (Walter Matthau), catches wind of the incident, he wants Hinkle to feign paralysis to scam the insurance company. Hinkle agrees to the plan, if only to win back his ex (Judi West). But Hinkle’s growing friendship with a guilt-ridden Jackson has him questioning the ploy. Read More »

Billy Wilder – Irma la Douce (1963)

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Just three years after earning Academy Awards for Best Picture and Director for 1960’s The Apartment, Billy Wilder re-teamed with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine for another look at love and relationships. But this time the drab New York insurance building was traded for the bawdy streets of Paris, and secretaries replaced with prostitutes. Once again, Wilder poked fun at the taboo subject of sex and again, his instincts paid off: Irma La Douce was Wilder’s biggest commercial success yet, and received three Academy Award nominations, winning one for Andre Previn’s lush score. Read More »

Richard Quine – Bell Book and Candle (1958)


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A Witch in Love; ‘Bell, Book and Candle’ at Fine Arts, Odeon

THE magic in “Bell, Book and Candle,” which opened at the Fine Arts and Odeon Theatres on Christmas, is not so much black as chromatic. It’s the color that’s bewitching in this film.

Actually, its story of a young lady who possesses some supernatural power, which she uses to inveigle a gentleman into falling in love with her, is neither as novel nor engaging as you might expect it to be. Pretty young ladies in movies are bewitching gaga fellows all the time with enticements and devices that are magic, so fas as the audience can tell. So the gimmick of John van Druten’s stage play, which has been used as the basis for this film — the gimmick of a woman endowed with witchcraft—is really rather silly and banal. Read More »

Billy Wilder – The Apartment (1960)

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Immediately following the success of Some Like It Hot, Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond wished to make another film with Jack Lemmon. Wilder had originally planned to cast Paul Douglas as Jeff Sheldrake; however, after he died unexpectedly, Fred MacMurray was cast.

The initial concept for the film came from Brief Encounter by Noël Coward, in which Celia Johnson has an affair with Trevor Howard in his friend’s apartment. However, due to the Hays Production Code, Wilder was unable to make a film about adultery in the 1940s. Wilder and Diamond also based the film partially on a Hollywood scandal in which high-powered agent Jennings Lang was shot by producer Walter Wanger for having an affair with Wanger’s wife, actress Joan Bennett. During the affair, Lang used a low-level employee’s apartment. Another element of the plot was based on the experience of one of Diamond’s friends, who returned home after breaking up with his girlfriend to find that she had committed suicide in his bed. Read More »