Wednesday, December 24, 2008

How to Murder Your Wife

Richard Quine | 1965 | 118 mins | USA

Stanley Ford (Jack Lemmon) lives the perfect bachelor lifestyle. He's a successful cartoonist whose rough and tumble hero Bash Brannigan leaps from adventure to adventure (each storyline meticulously tested by Ford in real life). He's got a luxury townhouse and the world's best full-time valet, Charles. He works out at a men's club every day, wines and dines a variety of women every night, and is quite deliriously happy to be unmarried.

When Stanley wakes up the morning after a very boozy stag party to find that he's married to the knockout who popped out of the party cake, he assumes he can quickly take care of the boo-boo at his lawyer's office. Unfortunately, the new Mrs. Ford (Italian sexpot Virna Lisi) doesn't speak a word of English, and as it turns out his lawyer is delighted to see that Stanley's finally settling down.

Pretty soon, Bash Brannigan has gone from daredevil crime fighter to fumbling family man. The female readership of the strip is skyrocketing, Ford's publishers are ecstatic, and even poor Stanley is slowly and reluctantly adapting to the married life. Determined not to slip too far into marital comfort, Ford cleverly hatches a plot to murder his wife, which plays out step by step in his comic strip. The problem is - will his wife (or his readers) take the story too seriously?

This is the kind of gender-relations comedy that would never get made in the present day. There's something about a man convincing a jury of his peers that he should be acquitted of murder because wives kinda deserve it that wouldn't fly anymore, but it's fantastically hilarious when Jack Lemmon does it. How to Murder Your Wife is a fun and sexy romp, and if you're a Jack Lemmon fan, let me tell you this - he's brilliant in it, but relative unknown Eddie Mayehoff (who plays his lawyer, Harold) steals the show from him a couple of times, and it's worth watching for those moments alone!

1 comment:

Richard said...

I really love this movie, although Mr. Lemmon did not. Along with "Good Neighbor Sam" this is one of his least favorite films. While it's true that this is a broad farce, and somewhat dated, it's still hilarious, due to all of the leads contributions. Virna Lisa was especially gorgeous in this. And I need tell you nothing about Eddi Mayehoff (who had also done television work and he appears as Jerry Lewis' father in, "That's My Boy". For some reason his name has been omitted from books and information sites for quite some time, ergo little is now known about him. I'd like to see that rectified. He was a real original.
I really like "How To Murder Your Wife"! I bought a very expensive DVD of it about 2 years ago!