The Odd Couple (1968)

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Released 11-Oct-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1968
Running Time 101:05
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (57:35) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Gene Saks
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Jack Lemmon
Walter Matthau
John Fiedler
Herb Edelman
David Sheiner
Larry Haines
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Neal Hefti


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
German
Spanish
French
Italian
Danish
Dutch
Norwegian
Swedish
Turkish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The Odd Couple was released in 1968 and I don't think it has aged well at all, although I seem to be somewhat alone in this opinion as it rates quite highly on the IMDB. In 1968, a man acting like Felix does in this film was probably out-of-the-ordinary and as such had comedic value. These days, he would either be classed as an obsessive compulsive and given treatment or classified as the perfect modern man and a perfect husband. Is a man wearing an apron funny these days?

    On the other hand, the play between the two characters is very good. Walter Matthau (whose face is at least 3 inches higher in this film) plays the character of Oscar perfectly. While Felix's character may be out of context these days, Oscar's is universal and timeless.

    The Odd Couple is the story of two divorced men. Oscar has been divorced for a number of years and lives alone. He is completely disorganised and his flat looks like the aftermath of a nuclear and biological holocaust. Felix is a man whose whole life is defined by those around him; his wife and his kids. When he manages, after 12 years, to finally drive his wife nuts with his obsessive behaviour he gets thrown out onto the street. After an abortive couple of suicide attempts, he ends up on the doorstep of his friend, Oscar. Oscar takes pity on Felix and offers to let him stay.

    While things go well at the start and Oscar appreciates that the housework is being done and hot meals cooked for him, things soon start to go wrong. Felix slowly but surely drives Oscar out of his mind, eventually reaching a climax in one of the funniest scenes of the movie.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Unfortunately this transfer has all the signs of being right on the edge as far as over-compression is concerned.

    We have here a transfer that is presented in what appears to be the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    Foreground objects are reasonably sharp when they are not moving. Objects that are moving lose sharpness in direct proportion to how fast they are moving. The blacks are all right but shadow detail is a little lacking. The film presents an overall impression of grey, with the brightness and contrast both less than they should be. The majority of the film is shot in an apartment and the lighting is poor in many scenes. There is a fair amount of low level noise, particularly in the background.

    Colours are also very drab throughout the film.

    There is subtle break-up and blocking in almost every scene. If you single step the transfer at any point, about every 11th or 12th frame shows break-up, both in the foreground and background. A good example is right at the start of the movie at 1:22 where Felix walks into the hotel. In particular, watch his jacket. Another clear example is at 18:45. There is also a fair degree of aliasing present such as at 8:44 on the creases in the shirts and at 42:46 on the bus and the centre lane marking on the road. Film artefacts consist mainly of white flecks and appear at a low but constant rate throughout. It is hard to separate the grain from the low level noise but it appears that both are present.

    There are a range of subtitles including English for the Hearing Impaired. They are reasonably accurate to what is being said.

    The layer change is very well placed at 57:35 in a dark scene with little movement - you have to look hard to see it.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are two English language soundtracks present. One is a 'restored' Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack with the surround flag set (this means that if your receiver is in auto decode mode everything will come from the centre speaker). The second English language soundtrack is Dolby Digital 5.1. Other than giving a little width to the soundstage for the music and a very small amount of echo in the surrounds, I heard little difference between the two tracks. I listened to the 5.1 track completely and sampled the 2.0 track.

    There are no problems with the dialogue quality and all the audio is in sync.

    There is very little music in this movie other than that most famous of theme tunes.

    The surrounds were barely audible during the music and were not heard from otherwise.

    The sub took the night off.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    A simple static menu with a stylised picture of the two main characters. There is no audio accompanying the menus.

Theatrical Trailer (2:41)

    The trailer is in rather poor shape with a large amount of grain and other film artefacts. It also ends very abruptly, almost as if it were cut short. It is accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack that has the surround flag set but again is mono.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The R1 and R4 releases appear identical right down to the comments on the quality of the transfer. The R2 reports speak more kindly of their transfer but as I have not seen a copy I cannot comment (Ed. It is most likely exactly the same transfer).

Summary

    Considering the age of this film, the transfer could have been worse, though it is still a disappointment. The two main characters do make a very good comedy team and there are some good scenes, but there are others that play like fingernails scraping down a blackboard, although to be fair this is a testament to the acting skill of Jack Lemmon as he portrays the neurotic, obsessive Felix.

    The video quality is spoiled by the overcompression.

    The audio is mono - there is little in this film to energise a 5.1 setup.

    The extras are limited to a trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Saturday, October 19, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252q CRT Projector, Screen Technics matte white screen 16:9 (223cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationSony STR-DB1070
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

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