The Out of Towners

Day 11 of #blogjune

For the second Saturday night of our Winter of 1967 or thereabouts movie theme we chose another movie from the pen of Neil Simon, The Out of Towners, released in 1970 and starring Sandy Dennis and Jack Lemmon.


The idea for what became The Out of Towners was originally to form one of four vignettes in Simon’s Plaza Suite, but with so many comic possibilities it was expanded into a movie in its own right. Lemmon and Dennis star as George and Gwen Kellerman who live with their two children and one dog in small town Twin Oaks, Ohio, but we meet up with them as they head off to New York City where George is interviewing for a new job and a new life in the big city.

George is excited at what the future holds in New York, while slightly down trodden Gwen is happy to just tag along. She really doesn’t mind and seems content to do whatever George wants to do.

Their all expenses paid trip to New York certainly seems to be starting out in style with dinner booked at the Four Seasons followed by a night at the Waldorf Astoria before George heads off to his job interview, “just a formality”, at the company headquarters the next morning. Sadly George and Gwen never make it to dinner as their plane is diverted to Boston due to bad weather, but that’s just the start of their troubles.

To say things go from bad to worse really doesn’t even begin to describe what happens during the next twelve hours. The comedy is dark at times but the humour comes from the interaction between increasingly crazy and desperate George, who is collecting the names of everyone he meets so he can sue the pants off them, and mousey Gwen who accepts what fate deals her with quiet resignation.

George finally does make it to his job interview and against the odds he gets the job, but quiet Gwen has found her strength and her voice and finally, and gently, lets George know what she really wants in life, and it isn’t life in the big city.

Loved it.


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