Forget all those $250 million blockbusters, if you want to see one of the finest Blu-ray releases of the year then you need look no further. Just released on the other side of the pond (but thankfully region-free) is this absolute gem of a movie. I fell in love with The Odd Couple many, many years ago (back in the late ‘seventies I think) when the BBC showed a season of Jack Lemmon films over Christmas.
I adore anything with Jack Lemmon in; its a real crime that so few of his films have made it to Blu-ray so far. I have a shelf of DVDs of his films that are desperate for the HD treatment- its shocking that The Fortune Cookie, How to Murder Your Wife, Avanti and The Prisoner of Second Avenue have yet to be released in HD.
Surely everybody has seen The Odd Couple (and if you haven’t, goodness, you are in for a treat!) so there is little for me to say here really, except that the film is a perfect comedy, endlessly re-watchable, and looks gorgeous on Blu-ray. This is a really fine-looking HD presentation, and I doubt the film has ever looked this good since its original theatrical release. Colours are vibrant and details sharp and defined, you know the drill- its amazing how some of these ‘sixties films look so good in HD. Perhaps its something to do with the film stock and lenses they used? The original mono soundtrack has been replaced by a 5.1 DTS-HD track, but as you’ll expect there isn’t much of a sound-stage to interfere with here so its not so far removed from the original that fans will be bothered.
Extras-wise there is a nice selection; almost an hour of featurettes, mostly of the ‘talking-heads’-type but quite informative, and a commentary track by the sons of Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, that I haven’t listened to yet. I think all these extras date back to a DVD special edition from a few years back.
In short, this is a wonderful movie. Even had it been a bare-bones release this Blu-ray would be one of my favourites of the year, but as it is its a shining example of releasing catalogue titles in HD. Extras are fine, the price is a bargain (Amazon have it at $14.99). What’s not to love?