Amusing Sixties Satire.
peterfromkanata | Kanata, Ontario Canada | 03/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
""How To Murder Your Wife" is a very entertaining comedy, directed with his usual aplomb by Richard Quine, that provides another excellent vehicle for multi-talented Jack Lemmon. It certainly gives us a snapshot of the mid-sixties--cars, clothes, furniture and, of course, attitudes. Perhaps I should add that the "snapshot" also reflects the affluent lifestyle of someone who can afford a luxurious townhouse in New York City !
Mr. Lemmon plays Stanley Ford, a successful cartoonist and "confirmed bachelor". He wakes up one morning after a crazy bachelor party to find a blonde in his bed ( drop-dead gorgeous Virna Lisi ) , and a wedding ring on her finger--it seems that, while intoxicated, he managed to marry this young woman. To add to his befuddlement, she is Italian and speaks no English. His "very British" butler ( scene-stealing Terry-Thomas ) is "shocked and appalled" and threatens to leave this severely-compromised masculine environment. The rest of the film is dedicated to our hero's attempts to unload the new wife--by legal means or otherwise--and return to the playboy lifestyle that he champions. There is much more to the plot but, unlike at least one other reviewer, I subscribe to the theory that potential viewers do not wish to be told every scene, plot development and situation in advance.
The witty script is accompanied by an excellent cast. I have already mentioned the priceless Terry-Thomas, who also serves as the film's "narrator". Virna Lisi is extremely beautiful and seductive--the scene where she "pops out of the cake" at the bachelor party will still quicken the pulse of any red-blooded male ( and gives rise to the one central flaw in the film--why would any sane guy want to "dump" Ms. Lisi ! ? )! Eddie Mayehoff is hilarious as Mr. Lemmon's not-overly-clever lawyer, sympathetic to his client's plight, but also under the thumb of his domineering wife ( Claire Trevor, adding a fine comic performance to her distinguished film career ). Sidney Blackmer also shines in a small role as a judge who is anything but sober ! Finally--there is Mr. Jack Lemmon ( I still miss him )--having a ball as Stanley Ford, a paranoid, insecure, adolescent guy who only thinks he knows the key to true happiness.
I found the picture quality to be excellent--the sound pretty much what you would expect for a forty-plus year old film. There are no extras, except the trailer. Neal Hefti contributes a nice, jazzy score, reminiscent of his "Odd Couple" music--or perhaps vice versa !
Hopefully, people will not be discouraged by the "politically incorrect" title. This satirical comedy still has more than enough amusing scenes to entertain a modern audience, and the cast is perfect. Try it--you'll like it !"
Film's most hilarious courtroom scene
A. Haas | Chicago | 01/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film will keep you laughing until it hurts. Jack Lemmon at his best with an outstanding supporting cast like they can't find any more. Accused of the murder of his wife, Lemmon fires his lawyer to defend himself - his star witness: the fired lawyer (Eddie Meierhoff). Witness a cross examination to end all cross examinations. The jury had no choice but to acquit! This is the movie that gave us the "gloppita gloppita" machine. Don't miss it - see it as a couple."
One of the best comedies ever
Pink Panther | Florida, USA | 02/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although the movie begins saying that "we are gathered here to learn and so you shall and so you shall" at the end of the movie you come out wiser but not of what you expect. I do not want to elaborate as I should not ruin the movie for those who have not seen it. However I am going to say this: it is one of the funniest movies ever that deals with the battle of sexes and you can watch it over and over and overagain . It is that funny. The casting could not have been better while the script is magnificent. Buy it."
The best sex comedy of the early 60s
R. Schaffer | NY, NY | 08/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Another masterpiece written by George Axelrod (Lord Love A Duck, 7 Year Itch, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?), this film is the penultimate sex comedy of its day. This was made when Hollywood actually made films about adults, before youth culture erased that demographic, never to return. The scenes of the war between the sexes have never been funnier, culminating in the great courtroom scene where a juror is goaded by Lemmon to push an imaginary button that would erase his wife, and the juror yelling at his wife, "Shut up, you old bat!," as he gleefully pushes it. The scenes of Lemmon's bachelor pad are priceless, if only that's how comic artists really lived!This is essential viewing, next ot A Guide to the Married Man."