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OUT OF TOWNERS, THE (1970): DVD

SYNOPSIS:
George Kellerman (Jack Lemmon) and his wife Gwen (Sandy Dennis) are Ohio greenhorns so excited about their V.I.P. all-expenses paid trip to New York, where George has lined-up a job interview, that they refuse an in-flight meal. Things begin to go horribly wrong when their plane is diverted from a fogbound airport and they land in Boston to find that their luggage has gone missing. Eventually they squeeze onto a crowded train and arrive starving in New York to find it crippled by strikes and awash in a howling blizzard. Things can only get better, they think, but soon they learn that in The Big Apple, reality bites.


Review by Keith Lofthouse:
Neil Simon’s first comedy written specially for the screen hasn’t the satirical thrust and parry of his most refined work, but as a laugh-out-loud “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong” kind of comedy it has few peers. Originally intended to be part of his Plaza Suite portmanteau released the same year, the segment was shelved and then stretched (maybe a bit overstretched) into a feature-length screenplay.

George Kellerman and wife Gwen live happily in Ohio, but George wants the best for his family as any family man would do. A new highly-paid job in Manhattan flirts with his ego as well as his pocket and with almost child-like exuberance he is soon on the plane with his twittery spouse in search of a better life. After an excruciating chain of delay and misfortune, the hapless couple finally arrives dazed and bedraggled in New York to find that not only have their Waldorf reservations been cancelled but there is nowhere to curl up but in Central Park…at night, where all the local kooks come out to play. The “new life” that they had their hearts set on is crystallised into just one day when they are plunged into a whirlpool of muggings, demonstrations, strikes and humiliations.

Somehow, a perfect cast makes the impossible seem possible. Lemmon, before his mannerisms got the better of him later in his career, is a joy as the doggedly optimistic and finally fatalistic George. When he chips a tooth on the prize in a Crackerjack pack his whistling lisp is a stroke of genius. And Dennis, a unique personality with her dopey demeanour and trademark twitching, is a sublime neurotic. Simon has always worked wonders with characters whose psyche has become somewhat twisted by fate. Despite the frightmare that his victims are forced to endure his screenplay is both funny and inoffensive and it was judged by his peers (The Writers Guild Of America) as the Best Original work of its year. By comparison, the 1999 remake (which starred Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn) is redundant.

Published December 11, 2003



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OUT OF TOWNERS, THE: DVD (G)
(US, 1970)

CAST: Jack Lemmon, Sandy Dennis

DIRECTOR: Arthur Hiller

RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes

PRESENTATION: Widescreen enhanced for16.9 TVs 1.78-1. Dolby digital: English mono

SPECIAL FEATURES: None

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount

DVD RELEASE: December 4, 2003







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