Classic Actor Spotlight: Jack Lemmon – Timing is Everything


Greetings, all and sundry! Allow me a few moments of your time to wax nostalgic, elucidate and point out some of the finer performances of an everyman character actor who achieved Stardom the old fashioned way. By working his way up through stage roles. To small, bit parts in television and onto the silver screen. Where he stayed comfortably ensconced for decades. Yet, making and taking the time to keep his talents fresh in the theater.

Allow me to introduce, or re-introduce you to:

Jack Lemmon: Timing is Everything

Though Mr. Lemmon first caught my eye as a Documentary film maker opposite Judy Holliday and Peter Lawford in George Cukor’s It Should Happen to You. Where the first inklings of his comedic timing and delivery began to peek out for all to see. it was Mr. Lemmon’s role as Ensign Frank Thurlowe Pulver in.

Mister Roberts (1955)

That really grabbed my attention. To be working with three proven heavyweights in Henry Fonda, William Powell and Jimmy Cagney. With John Ford at the wheel. And a very little changed Broadway stage screenplay by Joshua Logan and Frank J. Nugent. The film is tight. lean and sometimes spartan. Made for the stage. Describing the boring, mundane life aboard a aged. slow, stuck in the rear, away from harm’s way cargo ship stuck in the South Pacific of WW II, the USS Reluctant. “A floating delivery girl. Transporting its cargo from Tedium to Apathy and back again.”

With Mr. Cagney as the ship’s Captain, Lt. Commander Morton and Mr. Fonda’s Lieutenant Douglas Roberts as the ship’s XO and Cargo Officer. Who wants desperately to get into the war and shares a berth William Powell’s wise and cautiously calm, ‘Doc’ and Mr. Lemmon’s constantly scheming, yet overwhelmingly scared of the Captain, Ensign Pulver easily holding his own. While also managing to steal several key scenes. Especially when Pulver stutters an answer to Cagney’s Captain Morton asking how long Pulver has been aboard his ship. Rumor has it that Cagney and Lemmon had to rehearse the scene until it wasn’t funny and Cagney wouldn’t laugh. Though Pulver’s final confrontation after Mail Call with the Captain takes the cake. In a very early funny, frightened, yet humane role that earned Mr. Lemmon and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Keeping Mr. Lemmon well in the comedic vein for.

Overall Consensus:

John Ford must have seen something in Mr. Lemmon’s abilities to attach him to the brilliant adaptation of a popular stage play. That was written by Josh Logan with Henry Fonda being the only choice for the lead role. Which gives the film a comfortable and relaxed feel. Smooth, though not quite serene with Fonda’s Mister Roberts wanting to get into the war. Needing the Captain’s signature on any of many transfer requests. While Mr. Lemmon’s offers superbly timed comic relief between William Powell’s wise and sage ‘Doc’ and Fonda’s Mister Roberts. As a perpetual kid with big dreams of getting at the Captain. Though constantly hamstrung by fear of retribution. It isn’t until the final five minutes of the film that Mr. Lemmon’s Ensign Pulver finally grows up, becomes a man and confronts the Captain.

Well worth Mr. Lemmon’s Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Giving the young talent time to practice and hone his skills for.

Operation Mad Ball (1957)

With Mr. Lemmon as a supply clerk in a hospital unit in Europe after the war has wound down. Unfortunately, the unit has a stickler for Army regulations in charge. Catcher’s mitt faced Ernie Kovacs as Captain Paul Locke. Who catches Mr. Lemmon’s Pvt.Hogan while on Guard Duty trying to make time (Fraternizing) with a nurse, Lt. Betty Bixby. Flirtatiously played by up and comer, Kathryn Grant. Explanations don’t assuage Capt. Lock. Who confines Hogans to his barracks pending a Court Martial.

Which puts a huge dent in Hogan’s plan for a wild ball and going away party for the reassigned Company Commander, Colonel Rousch. Endearingly played by fatherly Arthur O’Connell. Undaunted, Pvt. Hogan makes calls and deals with the black market, NCOs who run the Officers and NCO Clubs, musicians, procurers, purveyors and petty thieves as a location is staked out and divergent parts start coming together. Hustlers like Hogan connect and bring in Mickey Rooney as Master Sergeant Yancy Skibo (Pronounced ‘Skeee-bo!’). The darker, more lecherous, Southern Good Ol’ Boy side of a rhyming Andy Hardy. Who, with his cousin, Corporal Bohun. Well played by Dick York ages before ABC’s Bewitched. Go out of their way to feed Captain Locke faulty Intel on the upcoming events. Leaving more time for Pvt. Hogan to connect the dots while reintroducing himself to Lt. Bixby.

All the parts come together as Captain Locke is sent on a wild goose chase and Colonel Rousch is unwittingly, though gently kidnapped and brought to the secluded Mad Ball.

Overall Consensus:

Having been around the world in Active and Reserve uniform for decades. I have a soft spot for Service comedies and dramas. And Operation Mad Ball has the right look and feel of Tent City, just post-war Europe, even though it was shot on the back lots and sets of Universal Studios. Thanks to the Art and Set Direction of Robert Boyle and William Calvert under Richard Quine’s deft touch. Leaving plenty of time for Mr. Lemmon to work his near manic magic and almost letting the audience see the gears turn behind his eyes as the game changes from moment to moment. In a role that earned Mr. Lemmon top billing and a juicy, kind of oily role for Ernie Kovacs and a mixed bag of eager young and old solid talent.

Which brings us to…

Bell, Book and Candle (1958)

As part of a stellar ensemble cast including James Stewart, Kim Novak, Ernie Kovacs, Hermione Gingold and Elsa Lanchester and once again under Richard Quine’s direction. In what is once again an adapted stage play moved to New York’s Greenwich Village during the Christmas season. Where modern day witch Gillian Holroyd. Beguilingly played by Kim Novak wants to break up with her fiance and get to know her neighbor, Shepherd Henderson. Well brought to life by Jimmy Stewart. While Mr. Lemmon cooly entertains and runs interference as Gillian’s warlock brother, Nicky. Who advises Gillian not to fall in love or she will lose her witching powers. When not startling passers by making a block of street light wink out and back on with a snap of his fingers.

Love takes the upper hand, of course. With the aid of Gillian’s familiar. A lovely Point Berman cat named Pyawacket. The spell is cast, almost needlessly. Sending Gillian and Nicky and occult writer, Ernie Kovacs seeking aid from Gillian’s aunt, Queenie. Sublimely brought to life by Elsa Lanchester. While Shep finds coven leader, Bianca de Passe, wondrous Hermione Gingold, for ways to break the curse. I’ll leave it right there and leave the door ajar. For a superior, smart, well written and executed comedy that shows love conquers all. And spawned the popular television series, Bewitched in
the 1960s.

Overall Consensus:

Mr. Lemmon seems to be a cozy fit in another film adapted from a popular stage play. Well versed in the rhythms and sways of what the theater and later film could get to in the Greenwich Village world of coffee houses. Four and five piece post war jazz, poetry and Be-Bop. The cast and settings are definitely not Bohemian. Much more upscale and romantic.

Just the right, quirky environment for witches and warlocks living not quite in the shadows. Mr. Lemmon’s role is not big, but it is essential and the actor admirably makes the most of each scene. Building credentials and credibility for his next major step.

Some Like It Hot (1959)

Who else, but Billy Wilder could take a fifteen minute Vaudeville Drag skit. Let out a seam here and tuck a few in there and turn it into iconic, character driven comedy? Taking a sleepless three thirty in the morning idea and fleshing it out well with a soupcon of Roaring Twenties Chicago. Rival crime gangs. Cops. Detectives. Bootleggers, speak easiest. Then filling those arenas with a Who’s Who of stalwart, A-List talent. Including George Raft, Pat O’ Brien, Nehemiah Persoff, and Mike Mazurki. Along with and two jazz musicians, Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Mr. Lemmon); who can’t seem to catch a break. Trudging through the raw wind and snow of a wicked Chicago winter from agency to agency to get a gig.

One is gotten and is raided by the cops. Leaving Joe and Jerry on the run and looking for a place to lay up while their car is being gassed up in a warm garage. Only to hide when they recognize a local thug, ‘Toothpick’ Charlie in a shadowy card game. When what looks like a police sedan rolls in and a group of what look like uniformed cops shake the card players down and line them up against the wall for what has to be a sanitized version of The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre.

Unfortunately, the gas nozzle slips from Joe’s car. The gangsters turn and looks are exchanged. Joe and Jerry are now eyewitnesses to the killing and they run for their lives amidst a hail of gunfire. Back to the booking agency, which happens to know an all girl jazz waiting at Union station. That is need of a Saxophonist (Joe) and a stand up bass player (Jerry) for their month long run through Florida. Backing up lead singer and Ukelele player, Sugar Kane Kowalczyk. Stunningly and ditzi-ly played by Marilyn Monroe.

All stirred into a shouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of working film. But it does! Magnificently. Especially when Tony Curtis channels his best Cary Grant as a playboy pursuing Sugar. And myopic Joe E. Brown’s Osgood falls for Mr. Lemmon’s Daphne. Their Tango is not to be missed. Nor, is their final scene! Garnering Mr. Lemmon an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor amongst many. Though the film’s only Oscar was for Best Costume Design.

Overall Consensus:

Give credit where credit is due to Billy Wilder sticking with his and I. A. L. Diamond’s idea and screenplay adapted from the 1935 French comedy, Fanfare d’Amour when many doors were slammed in his face. Though, through persistence MGM finally expressed and interest and fronted Mr. Wilder close to a carte blanche budget to give life to this classic, though not quite screwball comedy.

Dues are also given to Mr. Lemmon and Tony Curtis for succeeding in a selection process that included Anthony Perkins and Jerry Lewis, amongst others. In roles that could either make or break their careers. Not as women, but as men imitating women. In this arena, both Mr. Lemmon and Curtis shine, but Mr. Lemmon, even more so. Once the principals were locked in, filling out the rest of the cast must have been a dream. And the talent shows all the way around.

Which brings us to…

The Apartment (1960)

Yea, though I have written about this film on several occasions. This is where Mr. Lemmon starts showing a flair for drama. Playing an office drone in a massive New York insurance company. A passive, cubicle bound Dilbert without a cubicle. One of countless, near faceless number crunchers. With a desk, hand crank adding machine, notepads and an endless supply of pens and pencils. Though Mr. Lemmon’s C.C. Baxter has an in. His apartment is close to the office headquarters that he allows four different office managers to use for extramarital activities.

Four soon becomes five when a new manager, Fred Mac Murray’s ‘Superb Louse‘, Jeff Shelldrake is assigned to Baxter’s section. Offering tokens, trinkets and Talismans to Baxter, to be cut in on the deal. Mr. Lemmon’s Baxter concedes and advances up the ladder. Smitten by elevator girl, Fran Kubilek. A subtle, light hearted love story starts to evolve and Mr. Lemmon’s humanity starts to shine. Topped off when the Holidays come around. When secrets and near tragedy rear their ugly heads.

Overall Consensus:

It’s a treat to watch the consummate Funny Man being given free rein to be as silly as he wishes in so many memorable scenes. Yet, take his first experimental plucks and strums at the dramatic. Letting his face and eyes grasp the thoughts and emotions that his words haven’t quite mastered yet. Especially with his first dinner with Shirley MacLaine’s fragile Fran Kubilek and the impromptu use of a tennis racquet to strain pasta. Then turning the coin when returning to his apartment with a quickly picked up, post company Christmas Party date. Only to discover Miss Kublilek has found his sleeping pills. Then, setting the crowning touch by finally and succinctly confronting Mr. Shelldrake.

Well-worthy of its Academy Awards nominations for Mr. Lemmon and Ms. MacLaine for Best Actor and Actress. And wins for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Writing, Editing and Best Art Direction. Which may have laid the groundwork for Mr. Wilder remembering Mr. Lemmon and acquiring his service in later projects that will be covered in the next installment.

Check out Jack’s profile page and links to his other reviews

What do you think of Jack Lemmon and what’s your favorite movie(s) from his illustrious career? Do share ’em in the comments.

46 thoughts on “Classic Actor Spotlight: Jack Lemmon – Timing is Everything

    1. jackdeth72

      Greetings, Anna!

      Welcome to FlixChatter.

      Mr. Lemmon is one of those actors who doesn’t get enough recognition or attention, considering his copious body of work.

      As it stands, I’ve three chronological posts in the works regarding Mr. Lemmon. This first covers his comedic talents and his first attempt at drama.

      The second, is in Ruth’s capable hands. And focuses more on Mr. Lemmon’s blossoming dramatic chops and most certainly contains a critique of ‘Days of Wine and Roses’.

      I wholeheartedly agree that his role of Joe Clay planted Mr. Lemmon on the cinematic map as a formidable dramatic actor.

      Hope to see you drop by and comment more often!

  1. You know I’ve never much cared for Jack Lemmon. I always thought he overacted his comedy a bit. I even preferred Randall and Klugman’s Odd Couple to his and Matthau’s. I guess other than the Bad News Bears and Hopscotch I wasn’t really a fan of Walter Matthau’s either. That said I really liked Lemmon’s dramatic work. Missing, Save The Tiger, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Days of Wine and Roses, The China Syndrome, etc.

    Is it just me or was Shirley McClaine was pretty sexy back then? Seriously.

    Is that Joan Crawford masquerading as Kim Novak’s in that pic? Check out the eyebrows. LOL. Wow… a young Elsa Lanchester in Bell, Book and Candle. I only knew her as Miss Marbles from Neil Simon’s Murder By Death which has one of my favorite casts of all time. (Elsa of course, Guinness, Sellers, Capote, Coco, Niven, Maggie Smith, Falk, Cromwell, Brennan and Nancy Walker aka Rosie the “quicker picker-upper”. FUN FACT: Fay Wray was the voice of the “screaming” doorbell taken from her screams in the original King Kong.

    Despite the fact that I don’t even really care for Lemmon that much it’s another good read by you Kevin. Kudos.

    1. jackdeth72

      Hi, dave:

      Thanks very much!

      I discovered Mr. Lemmon through his early comedic work. Which kind of cradled me into his later dramatic roles. When I sat down in an almost empty theater for a matinee of his Harry Stoner in ‘Save the Tiger’, I knew that he was going to win big!

      One of the reasons I think Mr. Lemmon did so well in drama is due to his comedic upbringing and timing.

      And yes. Shirley MacLaine was incredibly sexy, in a vulnerable, pixie-ish way back in the 1960s. An honorary member of Sinatra’s ‘Rat Pack’ and still has great gams!

      1. It’s a shame Shirley became more known for her “other lives” and being Warren Beatty’s sister. Although in her later years she did great turns in Guarding Tess and Carrie Fisher’s Postcards From The Edge.

        1. jackdeth72

          Hi again, dave:

          Odd you should mention that. When I was growing up, Warren Beatty was noted for being Shirley MacLaine’s brother.

  2. Ted S.

    Unfortunately I’ve never seen any other films from Lemmon except Grumpy Old Men. I know he was well respected, I may check out some of his work some day.

    Another good detailed article Jack.

    1. Oh Ted… the shame. You really should see Glengarry Glen Ross, Missing, The Apartment, Save The Tiger (Academy Award), Some Like It Hot, Mr Roberts (Academy Award), and The Days of Wine and Roses. Those are pretty much essential viewing for the serious film buff IMHO and not just because Jack Lemmon is in them. How about working with directors like Mamet, Costa-Gavras, Wilder, Alvidson (Rocky), Ford, Blake Edwards. Check ’em out.

    2. jackdeth72

      Hi, Ted:

      I tried to cover as many of Mr. Lemmon’s notable facets as I could in the films chosen. Excelling for the most part and setting the bar very high for most contemporary talent to strive for. Yet most seem locked in their starting blocks.

      I’ll go deeper and into more detail in later posts. Though any of the film above would be a great place to start.

      Thanks for dropping by and adding to the conversation.

      1. Yeah I’m afraid I have only seen his performance in Grumpy Old Men and Hamlet, but I REALLY want to see Some Like It Hot and The Apartment!

        Thanks Jack, you’ve given all kinds of recommendations on this great actor. He even looks good as a woman, ahah.

        1. jackdeth72

          Hi, Ruth!

          I’ve been hoping you’d drop by and opine.

          ‘Grumpy Old Men’ is one of the better later pairing of Mr. Lemmon and Mr. Matthau. Serious kudos to Mr. Branagh for having the wisdom to hand a plump role from the Bard in ‘Hamlet’ to Mr. Lemmon. And show that a lot can be done with a little.

          To get an idea of Mr. Lemmon’s range, ‘Some Like It Hot’, ‘The Apartment’ and ‘Days of Wine and Roses’ are very close to Required Viewing.

          I’ll be more ensconced in his dramatic range in my last article. And the cool thing is that I’ll be choosing a total of fifteen films!! Out of more than 66! Can anyone name a contemporary actor today with that kind of talent, notoriety and batting average?

  3. Great salute to very versatile actor, Kevin. He successfully channeled his comedic roots into some stellar dramatic acting chops. Though different from James Stewart, he displayed a similar range with that great performer on what he could deliver on-screen. Both could do comedy and drama with equal aplomb. I can watch either at work in whatever genre they were put in. Well done.

    1. jackdeth72

      Hi, Michael.

      Thanks so much!

      Great catches.

      I agree that Stewart and Lemmon had different dramatic acting styles. Rarely did you see Stewart ‘lose it’, but when you did, it almost always leaned towards anger. As opposed to panic, fear and utter remorse. Which Mr. Lemmon grasped and held onto in ‘Days of Wine and Roses’.

      In comedy, both were equally matched. Though Mr. Lemmon’s style was more physical. While Mr. Stewart’s comfort zone seemed more verbal and laid back.

    1. jackdeth72

      Hi, Castor!

      Thanks for taking the time to peruse and add to the conversation.

      Mr. Lemmon is one of those people with talent to burn. One of the main reasons I decided to chronicle his career is to show that everyone has to start somewhere. And in Mr. Lemmon’s case, his talents matched whatever film he signed on to. And delivered!

      Culminating in ‘Glen Garry Glen Ross’. A superb Mamet play transitioned to film. With exceptional writing worthy of the heavy hitters in the cast who pull and speed the plow. Though much more so with Lemmon’s Shelley Levine.

  4. I love Jack Lemmon. His performances in The Apartment (my favorite movie) and Mister Roberts are wonderful, as he shows his comedic skills along with his dramatic range. Still need to see Operation Mad Ball though.

    1. jackdeth72

      Welcome, Josh:

      Thanks for adding to the conversation!

      ‘Mister Roberts’ had to figure prominently on my list. And the opportunity to be major cast member must have been considered Manna from Heaven. For an actor with stage experience, one film role and some time in television to his name.

      That he held his own so well and managed to steal some key scenes is testament to his talents.

      Hope to see your comments more often!

  5. Wonderful article Jack about a wonderful actor. There’s a couple films I have to check out but the ones I’ve seen of Lemmon never fail to make me smile. Some of my daves include of course Some Like It Hit and The Apartment. I also love The Out of Towners and The Odd Couple, and he was great in Glengary Glen Ross.

    1. jackdeth72

      Greetings, Dan:

      I’m glad you dropped by with such great comments.

      My idea is to create an arc of three distinct articles that covers Mr. Lemmon’s exceptional career. Keeping them in chronological order to show his incremental improvement in style and delivery. In creating a name while keeping his standards high throughout.

      What I admire about Mr. Lemmon was his starting out in comedies that are standards and Classics due to his talents. ‘The Odd Couple’ figures in my next segment. Though it is drama where he finds the confidence and space to expand and excel.

  6. HI JD.

    I must admit I haven’t seen enough Lemmon, but what I have seen of him I have loved. Such a great sense of comedy. This is a great post.

    also because of TDKR coming this week I have had to move your next Mann post back a week, sorry.

    1. jackdeth72

      Greetings, Scott!

      Thanks so much, my friend.

      What’s great about Mr. Lemmon was his ability to find something in even the smallest role to make it memorable. I still get a kick out of his Professor Fate in ‘The Great Race’. Is it very Snidley Whiplash and over the top? Certainly! Because the role demands it. When well back stopped by Peter Falk’s Maximillian Meen.

      PS: Thanks for the heads up regarding Mann.

  7. Great post Ruth. Very informative and in-depth. It’s also a great choice of performer. I love Jack Lemmon. Able to flit from comedy to drama effortlessly. My favourite performance from him has to be Glengarry Glen Ross; In an expectional cast with exceptional performances all round, it’s still Lemmon that outshines them all. Simply superb!

    1. jackdeth72

      Hi, Mark!

      Very intriguing point.

      One of the tools at Mr. Lemmon’s disposal that no doubt helped him in later dramatic roles was his rapid fire, machine gun delivery of lines in early comedic roles.

      Which connected in his role as grieving father, Ed Horman trying to find his son in Casta~Gavras’ ‘Missing’. Where he’ll review,initial and sign whatever paperwork is necessary to find his son in post-coup Chile. Delivered in a slower, melancholy pace that has its beginnings as cartoonist Stanley Ford in his ‘Push the Button!’ courtroom scene in ‘How to Murder your Wife’.

      And visited yet again as Shelly Levine in his showdown with Kevin Spacey’s John Williamson in ‘Glen Gary Glen Ross’.

  8. Nice to see this. Lemmon was such a great actor. I first saw him in his work with Walter Mathhau in the Grumpy Old Men movies and slowly started seeking out more work from both actors. Lemmon has shown he could be both funny and serious. The Apartment, Some Like it Hot are both very good movies and I also thought he was stunning in Days of Wine and Roses, showing the effects of alcohol on a relationship.

    1. jackdeth72

      Hi, Nostra!

      I’m glad you dropped by and added to the discussion.

      Mr.s Lemmon and Matthau had the ‘opposites attract’ team up dynamic down pat from ‘The Odd Couple’. And only polished and buffed it to a higher luster in ‘The Front Page’ and the ‘Gumpy Old Men’ films.

      But give him a decent story and leading lady or supporting actor to work off of. And magic happened!

      Shirley MacLaine brought out the funny. As she and Fred Mac Murray brought out the serious in ‘The Apartment’. While Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe delivered the funny in ‘Some Like it Hot’. While Lee Remick pulled out a lot of stops and helped take Mr. Lemmon places he’d never been before in drama.

      I keep marveling at ‘Days of Wine and Roses’. A definite non Blake Edwards,
      Blake Edwards film. Not just for broaching the topic of alcoholism. But for showing what it does to the one at the other end of a singly or shared bottle.

    1. jackdeth72

      Welcome, Kid:

      ‘Incredible’ certainly fits. The more I researched and wrote about these five starter films. The more I discovered that Mr. Lemmon is not your standard Hollywood actor.

      More on that in my follow on articles.

      Hope to see your comments there.

  9. PrairieGirl

    My favorite Jack Lemmon has to be The Odd Couple with Walter Matthau (1968), and loved the TV series it spawned with Tony Randall and Jack Klugman. Not really a Shirley MacClaine fan, but she was great in The Apartment, which is high on my list too.

    1. jackdeth72

      Hi, PrarieGirl:

      You’ll have to wait until the next installment, when I go into the Chemistry between Matthau and Lemmon, It’s a treat to watch them play into each others’ strengths and weaknesses. Creating a following for ABC’s later Emmy Award winning series.

      Randall and Krugman had the wherewithal to pull off Felix and Oscar with the same style and panache. I always got a kick out of the occasional episode when Oscar took on Felix’s finicky personae and quirks.

      Shirley MacLaine seems more miss than hit amongst women that I know than guys. Though she simmers and seethes with vulnerability in ‘The Apartment’.

  10. FUNK

    Great write up on a great actor, loved all those movies you mentioned above, especially Mr. Roberts. One of my other favorite roles he played is the villainous character Professor Fate, in the Great Race, watched it for the umpteenth time last winter, and it continues to get me laughing out loud.

    1. jackdeth72

      Hi, Funk!

      Good catch regarding ‘The Great Race’.

      Mr. Lemmon looked like he was having a ball as Professor Fate. Kind of an incomplete Dr. Miguelito Loveless from ‘The Wild Wild West’ TV series. Whose ahead of their times weapons of destruction just didn’t pan out properly. Mixed with more than a dash of Snidely Whiplash from the old Bill Scott, ‘Dudley Do Right’ cartoons of the early 1960s. Dark Stovepipe Hat and all.

  11. Great post Jack! I am always pleased to see Jack Lemmon get some love from the blogosphere! I ashamed to say I’ve not seen OPERATION MAD BALL but I will find it now. Nobody did exasperation as well as Lemmon and he really perfected it in MISSING (1982). For me, his performance in that is up there with my other favorites THE APARTMENT and SOME LIKE IT HOT.

    1. jackdeth72

      Welcome, Paula:

      Thanks so much!

      ‘Operation Mad Ball’ is the film where Mr. Lemmon begins to shine as a master schemer. Whose mind is several moves ahead of his mouth when it come to the herding cats like task of getting the live music, food, booze and other necessities lined up for the Colonel’s going away party. Where most of the cogitating is done with Mr. Lemmon’s eyes and facial muscles before his mouth catches up.

      Superb catch with ‘Missing’!

      Whose exasperation’s lineage can be traced back to ‘The Out of Towners’ and ‘Prisoner of Second Avenue’. Then augmented with Steroids, And whose slowed, near desperate delivery of words can be found in ‘Days of Wine and Roses’ and oddly, ‘How to Murder Your Wife’.

  12. Jack Lemmon really is one of the greatest actors of all-time. He trafficked mostly in comedies, but he has never really been truly appreciated for his body of work. An absolute legend.

    1. jackdeth72

      Greetings, Colin!

      Being a child of the 1960s, I can’t remember a time when Mr. Lemmon wasn’t working.

      Making a name for himself in comedies across the board and then stunning audiences and critics with his natural flair for drama. When not being involved with television, plays and road shows.

      Constantly doing what he loved to do. Which is as good a definition of ‘Legend’ as you’ll find today!

      I hope to see you comment more often.

  13. Hi Jack, what a great, thorough spotlight! I am relatively new to Lemmon, having only seen him in Some Like It Hot and The Apartment, but he is terrific in both. The latter of which especially blew me away. Looking forward to part two!

    1. jackdeth72

      Hi, Eric:

      Thanks so much for the compliment!

      I had originally planned to just pick five random films from Mr. Lemmon’s body of work and be send it to Ruth. But the more I scanned up from ‘Mister Roberts’, the more I knew that wasn’t going to happen.

      There are too many great roles and films for just one post! So the idea of an ‘arc’ (Hat Tip to the writers of ‘Hill Street Blues’) of three posts came up. I may even have to cheat a bit for the last segment. Adding ‘The Great Race’ and fudging its time line before ‘The Fortune Cookie’ and ‘The Odd Couple’ to make things work.

      What’s cool about ‘The Apartment’ is Mr. Lemmon’s everyman approach to a situation that gets harder and harder to control. In one of his most humane

  14. Sam Fragoso

    The Apartment is one of my favorite films of all time — much thanks due to Jack Lemmon. Also, Glengarry Glen Ross — brilliant.

    Nice overview.

    1. jackdeth72

      Welcome, Sam:

      Mr. Lemmon covered a lot of ground regarding comedy and drama in ‘The Apartment’. Which is a superb film, no matter how you slice it.

      I’ll be devoting some time to ‘The Out of Towners’, ‘Save the Tiger’, ‘Missing’ and ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ in my upcoming post. I think you’ll enjoy it.

  15. Pingback: Classic Actor Spotlight: Jack Lemmon Part III… Defining Himself

  16. Pingback: Classic Actor Spotlight: Jack Lemmon Part II… Something Old, Something New

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