This is a collection of 4 United Artists films starring Jack Lemmon, 3 of which are written & directed by the legendary Billy Wilder. 2 are indisputably classics, the third an overlooked minor gem and the fourth, well . . .
The classics are "Some Like It Hot" and "The Apartment." It would be hard to find someone who HASN'T seen or at least heard of "Some Like It Hot," so I don't need to repeat its merits. "The Apartment," which won Best Picture for 1960, is about an up-and-coming business exec who succeeds by loaning out his apartment to his bosses for affairs. It features great performances by Shirley Maclaine (moving away from her early "kooky" roles) and Fred MacMurray who today is best remembered for "My Three Sons" and his Disney films. His role here reminds you that he is also the guy from the original "Double Indemnity." "The Apartment" is the romantic comedy which manages the difficult feat of being both cynical and sentimental and features a wonderful title song. Ray Walston (of "Damn Yankees" and "My Favorite Martian" fame) has a small role as one of Lemmon's lecherous bosses.
"Avanti" is an overlooked gem. A minor gem, to be sure, but still. It concerns a stuffy Baltimore business executive who flies to Italy to recover the body of his father who has died in a car accident. While there, he meets a young English woman (Juliet Mills), the daughter of the woman Lemmon's father was secretly dating. It is neither grim like "Stalag 17" or borderline slapsticky like "Some Like It Hot." Instead it's a quiet comedy, focussing on the gradual evolution of Lemmon's character and the culture clash between Baltimore and Italy. Clive Revill nearly steals the movie as the hotel manager, Carlucci. The music, mostly traditional Italian songs, also adds to the film. This movie was made in the 1970's and reflects that era's view towards sex. Note: while the other 3 films are all rated G, this one is rated R for mild nudity.
The last film, "How to Murder Your Wife," unfortunately hasn't aged well. Jack Lemmon is Sam Ford, a cartoonist who leads the "ideal" bachelor lifestyle. His comic strip, "Bash Brannigan," is notable for the fact that everything "Bash" does has already been done by Sam. After getting drunk at a party one night, Sam finds that he has married a pretty Italian girl who doesn't speak English. The macho cartoonist quickly becomes stereotypical henpecked husband. Sam decides to kill off his alter ego's wife, but when his actual wife disappears, Sam is suspected of foul play. As I said, the film's attitudes about relationships is dated. Terry-Thomas is a hoot, though, as Sam Ford's manservant.
The only extras are trailers of Billy Wilder films, such as "Irma la Douce" and "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes." Despite this, it's worth the price for "Some Like It Hot" and "The Apartment" with "Avanti" for dessert!