Length: 97 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio: DD English Mono, DD French Mono
English Subtitles, French Subtitles
S.R.P. $19.99 USD
The Out-Of-Towners is Neil Simon at his acerbic best, but it’s not his funniest film. The nod for that would have to go to The Odd Couple or Murder By Death. What makes this film work, more than the writing, are the performances of Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis.
George and Gwen Kellerman fly from their home in Ohio to New York City, so that George can interview for a new job. Unfortunately, the plane is diverted to Boston due to fog in New York. Arriving in Boston, they find that the airline has lost their luggage. No time to argue, however, because they have to race across Boston to catch a train at South Station so they can still make it to New York.
Arriving late in Manhattan, the couple finds that there is a major transit strike going on... no cabs, buses or subway. They walk to the hotel only to find that their room was given away (due to their lateness) and there is not a room to be found in the city.
During their night in New York, they are mugged, kidnapped, rained on, mugged again, injured... and they have gone more than a day without eating while stranded in Central Park with four cents to their name.
There are some genuinely funny moments, but there are times when you cringe from the repetitiveness of it all... not to mention that whining from Sandy Dennis. Still, the performances, especially Lemmon’s, generally make up for areas where the film is lacking. This is a dark comedy, and it isn’t to everyone’s taste. It is a must, though, for all fans of Jack Lemmon or Neil Simon.
Ironically, Steve Martin would act in two retellings of this film - the generally likable Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987), and the remake of The Out-of-Towners (1999), with Goldie Hawn.
The Out-of-Towners was directed by Arthur Hiller and has a wonderful score by Quincy Jones.
The film is delivered in anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen, with a sharp picture which retains moderate grain from the original film elements. Bright and with good contrast, this presentation does suffer from less than perfect black levels - never delivering a perfect black. Hues are true and colors are well saturated. The print displays occasional specks of dust or dirt, but nothing severe. Overall, this is a solid transfer, given its age of 33 years.
English Dolby Digital Mono, or French dolby Digital Mono. The soundtrack is clean with good frequency response. Dialog is always clear and intelligible.
This film isn’t to everyone’s taste, but it is a good dark comedy by Neil Simon, with an excellent performance from Jack Lemmon. The DVD is a no-frills catalog release, but the transfer is clean and looks good for its age.