Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Ron Rich, Judi West, Cliff Osmond, Lurene Tuttle, Harry Holcombe, Les Tremayne, Lauren Gilbert, Marge Redmond, Noam Pitlik, Harry Davis, Ann Shoemaker, Maryesther Denver, Ned Glass
Written by: Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond
Directed by: Billy Wilder
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 126
Date: 10/19/1966

The Fortune Cookie (1966)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Old Football Injury

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon team up for The Fortune Cookie (1966), a not-entirely-successful black comedy about a shyster lawyer (Matthau) who sues after a football player (Ron Rich) smashes into a TV cameraman (Lemmon) during a game. Of course, nothing is really wrong with him, but the lawyer makes him play injured until they can collect. Unfortunately, the football player is a gentle soul who gives up everything to be by Lemmon's side. Though it unfolds with sitcom logic, Matthau in particular gives an outstanding performance, loading up his grandstanding with quietly hilarious little moments. (He won an Oscar.)

Kino Lorber released this beautiful, black-and-white, widescreen movie on Blu-ray in 2021. It includes a knowledgable commentary track by cinema professor Joseph McBride, a tribute to screenwriter I.A.L. Diamond, some footage of Matthau and Lemon rehearsing, a brief "call" from Lemon, asking for extras for the football game, a "Trailers from Hell" episode, and a batch of trailers for other Wilder/Matthau/Lemon movies.

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