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Sunshine Boys, the


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Product Details

  • Actors: Walter Matthau, George Burns, Richard Benjamin, Lee Meredith, Carol Arthur
  • Directors: Herbert Ross
  • Writers: Neil Simon
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: Warner
  • Release Date: April 6 2004
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00013WWIY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #65,808 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Amazon.ca

Based on Neil Simon's popular Broadway play, this 1975 film directed by Herbert Ross (The Turning Point, Footloose) pairs the legendary comic talents of Walter Matthau and George Burns as two old-time vaudevillians who could never stand the sight of each other. The two curmudgeons are roped into appearing on a television reunion special, and they find themselves rehashing the same arguments they had 50 years earlier. Burns came out of retirement for this role and won an Oscar for his work as the laconic half of the duo, while Matthau shines as the ham-handed antagonistic egomaniac. One of Neil Simon's snappiest creations has been energetically brought to life in this enjoyable comedy, and it's a rare opportunity to see two legends in finest form. --Robert Lane

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: DVD
When one thinks of the films and stage plays of writer, Neil Simon, popular titles like "The Odd Couple" and "The Goodbye Girl" usually come to mind for most people. But I always think of Simon's wonderful show biz comedy, "The Sunshine Boys". Over the years I would catch here and there, bits and pieces of this 1975 film on late night television. For some reason, I never got to see the whole thing. Well finally this chuckle inducing movie has come to DVD and I love it! In the story we meet Willy Clark (Walter Matthau) a septuagenarian and former half of the legendry, Vaudeville comedy team of 'Lewis & Clark'. He now spends his days traveling the streets of NYC, going on casting calls. Willy drives both directors, casting people and his agent/nephew, Ben Clark (Richard Bejamin) crazy with his stubborn and obnoxious behavior. It looks like forced retirement is in the wings. But at the last moment, Ben comes up with a big job offer. ABC television wants Willy and his former partner, Al Lewis (George Burns) to have a one time only reunion and bring back a 'Lewis and Clark' sketch for a "History of Comedy" special. There is just one...little catch. These two elderly, comedians literally can't stand the sight of each other! Just getting them into the same room is a major undertaking. This humorous film shows us how this original 'odd couple', fight it out during their reunion and eventually come to terms with each other. Herbert Ross's direction is steady and well done. But what really makes this film is Neil Simon's story and hilarious back & forth dialogue, which is filled with both zingers and heart.I love how as Willy leaves his botched casting call, he gives a speech to his nephew, Ben on what words can get a laugh. "Alka-Selzer is funny...Read more ›
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Format: VHS Tape
Hilarious, incredible, cynical and just about every emotion and nuance are on display in this vibrant film about that great comedy team.
Matthau is simply at his zenith as W. Clark, king of all Kvetchers and mostly everything else. You should be warned...Matthau,s gate contains so much body language that you cant resist.Once in a great while he does listen to a very frustrated Dick Benjamin( who is terrific). Mr. Clark, cant open his own door easily, gets trappped in elevators..cant read directions ..cant find or read the copy...and lives in a world where seemingly everyone has gone mad..except for him.??
Through the laughs we see some meloncholy...just a bit mind you but enough. Burns is droll as ever as Mr Clark's old partner..
During one of the most funniest bits ever Clark gets " Fingered" and " Spritzed" Al this while he issues his revenge with a high pitched " ENTER"..
Truly a one of a kind film..its almost heartbreaking to know that a film like this can never ..never be made again..EVER!
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Format: VHS Tape
Just because most of Neil Simon's work doesn't appeal to me doesn't mean he never hits the bullseye. I've always loved his brassier, vaudeville-inspired early work, where he was simply and shamelessly out to make you laugh, as with this movie. There are 'serious' moments here, but they're not destinations, just short bridges to more one-liners. For some, this represents artistic laziness, but I find Simon doesn't do 'serious/introspective' well at all: he's a seltzer bottle in an age of plastic Evian containers. THE SUNSHINE BOYS is one of the funniest urban comedies to have emerged from the 70s, an era that produced a lot of good ones. Simon, here working with archetypes as familiar to him as an old shoe & comfortably in his element, whips up a consistently hilarious 100 minutes. Matthau and Burns are great, but you already knew that; Richard Benjamin, however, is the film's secret weapon. He plays Matthau's long-suffering nephew/agent, and some of the biggest laughs in the film are his - such as the closeup of his face in the elevator following Matthau's blown audition for the potato-chip commercial that opens the film. He wears an utterly blank, almost zen expression of serenity-in-utter-failure. A later scene at the Friars Club, which has him desperately pleading with Burns on the phone while Matthau harangues him outside the phone booth, is played to comedic perfection. And all of his exchanges with Matthau had this viewer in convulsions. Matthau holds up a roll of paper towels and grumbles, "Here! Why didn't you get me an audition for this?" Benjamin, sighing deeply and painfully, responds, "I did get you that audition, Uncle Willy. You kept calling it 'toilet paper', remember?Read more ›
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Format: VHS Tape
This brilliant Neil Simon comedy about two old vaudevillians who for 43 years were a tremendous comedy team onstage, but who irritated and eventually hated each other offstage is a gem of comedic acting and timing.
Based in fact on a pair of real vaudevillians who barely spoke to each other offstage, Simon has found another bickering Odd Couple with which to mine great humor. Willy Clark (Matthau) is an irascible old coot that can't give up showbiz and has his poor harassed nephew (Richard Benjamin) flogging up commercials etc. which he invariably messes up. He has not spoken to the other half of the team Al Lewis (Burns) in years, still angry at percieved onstage slights and the fact that Lewis retired. The nephew gets the idea to reunite them to do one of their classic routines on TV and that's when the insults begin to fly.
I cannot disagree more with the reviewer that disparaged Matthau's performance. He is absolutely wonderful. The old age makeup is subtle and it is his brilliant acting that convinces us he is the same age and era as his wonderful counterpart George Burns, even though Matthau was probably 20-30 years younger. The various voice modulations Matthau uses for different effects is especially noteworthy.
George Burns was called out of near-retirement to replace Jack Benny (when Benny died) in this role, and it created a new career for this marvelous old trooper. He and Matthau are superb together, and they have these old poops down to a T.
There is much fun made of these old boy's lapses due to their age. Probably politically incorrect, it is gentle and affectionate humor to my mind. Simon loves these old guys, and his ear for dialogue and eye for observation of behavior is as good here as anything he's done.
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