The Fortune Cookie

  • Film
  • Comedy
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Wilder's first match of Matthau and Lemmon pushes the idea of role-playing even further than Some Like It Hot: TV cameraman Lemmon gets knocked out accidentally during a football game, and his shyster attorney-cum-brother-in-law Matthau gets him to feign partial paralysis in order to claim huge damages. On the surface it's a complete delight, with Matthau's relentlessly funny lines taking most of the honours, but underneath lies a disenchantment as bleak as The Apartment: amoral, misogynist characters (in Lemmon's case, literally spineless) racing through ever more futile efforts to outmanoeuvre each other. The friction between the laughs and the cynicism generates more heat than most Hollywood comedies even aim at, including Wilder's later The Front Page with the same stars.

Release details

Duration: 124 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Billy Wilder
Screenwriter: Billy Wilder, IAL Diamond
Cast: Jack Lemmon
Walter Matthau
Ron Rich
Cliff Osmond
Judi West
Lurene Tuttle
Harry Holcombe
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