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The Odd Couple
Centennial Collection

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: G

Running Time: 105 Minutes

Starring: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau

Written by: Neil Simon

Directed by: Gene Saks

 

Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $24.99

Features: Audio Commentary with Charlie Matthau and Chris Lemmon, In The Beginning..., Matthau & Lemmon, Memories From The Set, Inside The Odd Couple, The Odd Couple: A Classic, Galleries, Theatrical Trailer 

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Mono, Spanish Mono, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Scene Selection (16 Scenes), Two-Disc Set 

Released: March 24th, 2009


 

 

"The Odd Couple" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The movie is now over 40 years old, but this transfer is pretty good. There is a bit of film grain, some edge enhancement plus shimmering, noise and edge halos. A fair share of blemishes and dirt pieces also pop up. But there's still a lot to like about the transfer: detail is good, fleshtones hit their mark and color saturation is pretty full. A bit imperfect, but forgivable given the age of the movie. It's certainly a transfer that is worthy of the film, though. 

 

There's an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track, that's pretty much a mono track stretched around many speakers, with a few aritifical surrounds thrown in. This remix isn't bad, nor distracts from things overall, but I still wish the original mono track was included as well. Still, the 5.1 is satisfying: dialogue is clear and easy to hear, and that great Neal Hefti score comes in quite broadly through the channels. The surround effects - while not too much - were better than I thought they'd be, but again, come off a bit artificial at times - making some sound a bit flimsy and forced. Subwoofer use is pretty non-existant while fidelity is pretty high. This is not an awful remix by any measure, and to be fair, engaged me more than I expected.

Mono tracks in French and Spanish are included, as well as subtitles in English, French and Spanish.
 




The first disc features an Audio Commentary with Charlie Matthau and Chris Lemmon. These two men, of course, are the sons of the late iconic actors who appear in this famous film. The two have a great rapport - just like their fathers - and have quite a lot to share. Sure, the commentary is not always screen specific, and they do describe what's appearing on screen here and there, but they more than hold their own. There are plenty of anecdotes about Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau - as people, as actors and as how they related to the characters in the movie. They also share quite a few behind-the-scenes tidbits about the making of the movie, such as who Matthau was originally going to be paired with. This is a light, informative and bittersweet commentary overall.

The rest of the extras are on the second disc. Lasting 17 minutes is In The Beginning... and gives a solid look at the original stage play's origins, and an overview of the film. Larry King and Brad Garrett share their thoughts, as does Carole Shelley, David Sheiner, Chris Lemmon, Charlie Matthau, Robert Evans and director Gene Saks. A lot of this piece pays respects to the talents of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, and it's a sweet and entertaining watch all around.

Inside The Odd Couple runs nearly 20 minutes, and features many of the same talking heads from the previous featurette. There is a bit on the casting of the movie, and some studio politics and deal wrangling. This is followed by the making of the movie and production stories, plus a focus on director Gene Saks. There's also a portion devoted to Monica Evans and Carole Shelley, and their budding friendship in real life. Also entertaining, and a lot of great stuff here.

Memories From The Set runs a bit over 10 minutes, and features more anecdotes - a lot pretty amusing and interesting - from the likes of Saks and Sheiner. Matthau & Lemmon is a 10-and-a-half minute tribute from nearly all the talking heads in the previous pieces to Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. While previous supplements touched on the actors as people and their relationship, there's more to go around here - including a great story from Chris Lemmon about his father meeting Walter Matthau at a hospital, after the senior Matthau suffered a mild heart attack. Plenty of stills highlight the two men, and their two sons discuss the influence their fathers had on them as far as going into show business. It's another sweet and engrossing watch.

The Odd Couple: A Classic runs only 3 minutes and is really only an extended montage with the talking heads singing the praises of the film. Rounding things out are two Galleries - one entitled Production, the other The Movie - and the Theatrical Trailer in anamorphic widescreen. 
 

"The Odd Couple" is a comedy classic that features some of the two greatest actors of the 20th century at their finest. This title certainly worth of the Centennial Collection treatment, and does not disappoint. The transfer and 5.1 mix surpass expectations, and there are some well-produced supplements to go around. A must have for any DVD collection, even if you own a previous version.