Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Odd Couple (1968)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Odd Couple (1968)

In director Gene Saks' version of scriptwriter Neil Simon's comedic 1965 Broadway hit, the basis for a TV-sitcom series in 1970 (with Tony Randall and Jack Klugman) and a sequel The Odd Couple II (1998) with the original two actors:

  • the continuing contrast of two opposing, completely incompatible - and separated male friends (both having serious marital issues with wives Blanche and Frances)
  • during his weekly poker game, ultra-slobbish, unkempt sportswriter Oscar Madison's (Walter Matthau) offer to share food from his refrigerator now broken for two weeks - spoiled and rotten brown and green sandwiches: ("I got brown sandwiches and green sandwiches. Which one do you want?" "What's the green?" "It's either very new cheese or very old meat"); they were warned that Oscar's refrigerator had been out-of-order for two weeks
  • during the poker game, the compulsive, prissy, hypochondriacal, neat and tidy, know-it-all photographer Felix Ungar (Jack Lemmon) arrived late (he just split with his wife) and retreated to a locked bathroom where the players wondered what he might do to himself: use poison, razor blades or poison, commit suicide by jumping out the window, cut his wrists, or "flush himself into the East River"; Oscar was speechless: "What do you say to a man who's crying in your bathroom?"; after consoling Felix about his break-up, it was decided that Felix would move into his friend Oscar's Manhattan apartment
  • the scene of Felix's "emergency" phone call to Oscar who was attending a Mets ball-game at Shea Stadium - to warn him: "Don't eat any frankfurters at the ballgame today. I decided to make franks and beans for dinner tonight"; at the same time, Oscar had turned his back to take the call and missed "a triple play" - his fellow sportscaster rubbed it in further: "The Mets did it! The greatest fielding play I ever saw, and you missed it, Oscar! You missed it!"
  • the scene of Oscar's goading of an angered Felix to hurl a coffee cup into the wall, but then wondering why he hesitated: Oscar: "You felt like throwing the cup. Why didn't you throw it?" Felix: "Because I would still be angry and I would have a broken cup"; Oscar kept urging: "Stop controlling yourself, Felix! Relax! Get drunk! Get angry! Come on! Break the lousy cup!" but when Felix tossed the cup, he injured his arm (he was suffering for bursitis)
  • the scene of compulsive and neurotic neat-freak Felix vacuuming, when Oscar deliberately entered the living room, unplugged the vacuum, and deliberately dirtied up the room - to exasperate Felix
Opposing Views on Cleanliness
Neat-Freak Felix Vacuuming the Apartment
Oscar Deliberately Messing Up the Living Room
  • the restaurant/coffee-shop scene where Felix loudly demonstrated to Oscar his honking technique to clear his habitual sinus problems; he also complained about his allergies: ("I'm allergic to foods and pillows and curtains and perfumes...I was impossible to live with"), and then described what he was doing: "I'm trying to clear up my ears. You create a pressure inside your head. It opens up the eustachian tubes"; when he had finally cleared his head and irritated all of the other restaurant customers, he added: " I think I strained my throat"
  • the classic scene of their intense fight when Oscar made explicit demands: "If you want to live here, I don't want to see ya, I don't want to hear ya, I don't want to smell your cooking, all right? Now kindly remove that spaghetti from my poker table"; Felix impertinently laughed back: "It's not spaghetti, it's linguini"; now furious, Oscar threw the linguini at the kitchen wall and made a mess: "Now it's garbage" - and challenged Felix to try cleaning it up: "You touch one strand of that linguini, and I'm going to punch you right in your sinuses"
  • in the next scene, a major confrontational sequence, Oscar was asked what made him go off "the deep end"; he presented a laundry list of problems to Felix, and his interpretation of the note he found from Felix on his pillow: ("I can tell you exactly what it is. It's the cooking, the cleaning, the crying. It's the talking in your sleep. It's those moose calls that open your ears at 2:00 o'clock in the morning. I can't take it anymore, Felix. I'm crackin' up. Everything you do irritates me, and when you're not here, the things I know you're gonna do when you come in irritate me. You leave me little notes on my pillow. I've told you 158 times I cannot stand little notes on my pillow. 'We are all out of cornflakes. F.U.' Took me three hours to figure out that F.U. was Felix Ungar")
  • Felix had also reached his boiling point and told Oscar what he really thought; after thanking Oscar for taking him in, Felix added one additional sentence: "You are also one of the biggest slobs in the world...Totally unreliable, undependable, and irresponsible...That's it, you've been told off. How do you like that?"; Oscar retaliated with his own issues after three weeks: "For six months, I've lived alone in this apartment, all alone in eight big rooms. I was dejected, despondent, and disgusted, and then you moved in, my closest and dearest friend. And after three weeks of close personal contact, I'm about to have a nervous breakdown. (his voice began to waver) Do me a favor, will you, Felix? Move into the kitchen. Live with your pots, your pans, your ladles, your meat thermometers. When you want to come out, just ring a bell, and I'll run into the bedroom. I'm asking you nicely, Felix, as a friend. Stay out of my way"; Felix reminded Oscar not to dirty up the bathroom floor, causing Oscar to crack; he began chasing after Felix, and threatening him: "This is the day I'm gonna kill ya!"; Oscar ordered Felix to move out: "I want you to pack your things and get out!"

Poker Game: Oscar's Choice Between Brown and Green Sandwiches

Overhearing Felix Crying in the Bathroom

Oscar's Missed "Triple Play" at the Ball Game During Phone Call with Felix

Oscar: "Break the lousy cup!"

Felix Loudly Clearing His Sinuses

Staring Each Other Down After Oscar Heaved Felix's Linguini at Kitchen Wall

Oscar Going Off "the Deep End"

Major Confrontation: Oscar's "Nervous Breakdown" - And Demand That Felix Move Out


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