Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 11th, 2015
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1965
Director: Richard Quine
Writer: George Axelrod
Cast: Jack Lemmon, Virna Lisi, Terry-Thomas, Eddie Mayehoff, Claire Trevor, Sidney Blackmer, Max Showalter, Jack Albertson, Mary Wickes
BluRay released: February 17th, 2015
Approximate running time: 118 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
BluRay Release: Olive Films
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.98
Synopsis: A bachelor who illustrates a hugely popular comic strip that reaffirms masculinity has his life turned upside when he wakes up morning and discovers that he now married to woman who he just met last night. And to further complicate matters he discovers that she only understands Italian. Not ready to give up just yet and wanting to get the freedom he had back when he used to be a bachelor he comes up with a plan to remove her from his life.
How to Murder Your Wife was directed by Richard Quine whose other notable films include, My Sister Eileen, Bell Book and Candle and The Notorious Landlady. Key collaborators on How to Murder Your Wife include cinematographer Harry Stradling Sr. (A Streetcar Named Desire, My Fair Lady), screenwriter George Axelrod (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Manchurian Candidate) and composer Neal Hefti who is most known for composing the theme songs for the Batman and The Odd Couple T.V. series.
On the surface this film looks like an antiquated interpretation of relationships and more specifically a woman’s role in said relationships. When in actuality there is so much more going on this film, then just a series of one liners and sight gags! And though society has changed since this film initial release, the core of its message remains as potent after all these years.
The film’s narrative is tightly contrasted and pacing is never an issue as thing move along briskly. Visually the film does a superb job letting the actors flow within the scenes and when it comes to this film use of humor it delivers and then some. Also when it comes to the look of the film another one of its strengths are the moments when it incorporates a comic book vibe into the visuals. These moments all occur when the protagonist is staging a plot for his next comic strip. And though there are far too many great moments to list them all. Ultimately this film’s moment of truth is a court scene where this film’s protagonist finds himself on trial for murdering his wife.
Without a doubt this film’s greatest assets are its two leads, Jack Lemmon (Some Like it Hot, The Apartment) in the role of Stanley Ford, a bachelor who illustrates a hugely popular comic strip and Virna Lisi (Casanova ’70, The Statue) in the role of Italian speaking bride, her character’s first name is never revealed. They have a tremendous amount of chemistry, with their early moments where their language barrier providing some of this films funniest moments. Another performance of note is Terry-Thomas (Danger: Diabolik, The Abominable Dr. Phibes) in the role of Charles, Stanley Ford’s Butler. His character tries to sway Stanley to entice Stanley to divorce his wife and get back to being a bachelor, while Lisi’s character uses her more than ample assets to keep Stanley happy.
How To Murder Your Wife comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The source used for this transfer is in great shape. Colors reproduction looks very good, flesh tones look healthy, black and contrast levels look consistently strong and details look sharp. Also grain looks natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono English. The audio is in great shape, as dialog is always clear, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs too. Range wise things sound very good as the sound effects and score are well represented
Extras for this release are limited to a trailer for the film (3 minutes 55 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen). Overall How to Murder Your Wife gets a solid audio / video presentation from Olive Films.
Note: Olive Films are also releasing this film on DVD.