Blu-ray review: “The Out-of-Towners” (1970)

“The Out-of-Towners” (1970)


Running Time: 98 minutes

Written by: Neil Simon

Directed by: Arthur Hiller

Featuring:  Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis

Gwen Kellerman: “George, what are we doing wrong? We can’t ride, we can’t walk, we can’t eat, we can’t pray.”

George Kellerman: “Well, we can think. As long as we got our brains, we can think.”

Gwen Kellerman: “Oh, they’ll get that too, George. You’ll see.”

Critical Commentary

“The Out-of-Towners” is a 1970 comedy film directed by Arthur Hiller and starring Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis. The film follows the misadventures of a couple from Ohio, George and Gwen Kellerman, as they attempt to navigate the chaos of New York City.

Overall, “The Out-of-Towners” is a charming and amusing film that offers plenty of laughs. Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis deliver great performances as the hapless couple who are constantly thwarted in their attempts to get to their destination. The film’s humor is largely derived from the couple’s encounters with the eccentric and often unhelpful inhabitants of New York City.

One of the film’s strengths is its depiction of New York City as a frenzied, chaotic metropolis. The city itself almost becomes a character in the film, with its bustling crowds, confusing subway system, and unpredictable weather adding to the couple’s woes.

The film is not without its flaws, however. Some of the jokes feel a bit dated, and the pacing can be slow at times. Additionally, some viewers may find the couple’s constant misfortunes to be frustrating rather than funny.

It’s also worth noting that “The Out-of-Towners” was adapted from a Neil Simon play of the same name. Simon was known for his witty and humorous writing, and the film stays true to his style. The screenplay was written by Simon himself, and his talent for crafting clever and hilarious dialogue is on full display.

The film was remade in 1999 with Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn in the lead roles. While the remake has its own charms, many fans of the original prefer the chemistry and performances of Lemmon and Dennis.

Despite these flaws, “The Out-of-Towners” remains an entertaining comedy that offers a fun and nostalgic glimpse into a bygone era of New York City. It’s worth watching for Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis’s performances alone, and it’s sure to leave viewers with a smile on their face.

The film also features a great supporting cast, including Anne Meara, who plays a sarcastic airline ticket agent, and Paul Dooley, who plays a seedy hotel clerk. The interactions between the couple and these characters add to the film’s comedic moments.

In addition to the humour, the film also touches on themes of perseverance and resilience in the face of adversity. Despite the numerous setbacks they face, the Kellermans never give up on their quest to get to their destination.

The film’s soundtrack, composed by Quincy Jones, is also noteworthy, featuring jazz and big band numbers that perfectly capture the energy and spirit of the city.

Overall, “The Out-of-Towners” may not be a groundbreaking comedy, but it’s a solid and enjoyable film that still holds up today. With its likable leads, zany New York City setting, and witty humour, it’s a fun and nostalgic trip back to the 1970s.

Technical Commentary


Unfortunately, this 1080p transfer provided by Paramount Pictures falls short of what is widely considered to be the standard high-definition quality. The 1.78:1 image has a few tell-tale signs of one either sourced from a digital stream or a touched-up standard definition master; namely washed out colours combined with a lack of detail and texture. Interior and daylight scenes look decent, but much of the film takes place during night hours when the flaws are most noticeable, but they didn’t keep me from enjoying the film, which is the main thing. 


LPCM 2.0 Mono carries the weight of New York’s heavy urban sounds very well for such a limited scope of audio with good base and loud appropriately dialogue. English HOD subtitles are included.

Special Features

  • Audio commentary by film historian Lee Gambin (2022)
  • Theatrical Trailer

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