Janson Media // 1996 // 50 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // May 22nd, 2008
"It's hard enough to write a good drama, it's much harder to write a good comedy, and it's hardest of all to write a drama with comedy. Which is what life is." -- Jack Lemmon
Your honor, we, the jury, thoroughly filled out the 15-question survey you have given us regarding the guilt or innocence of Jack Lemmon: America's Everyman. We would also like to express that we feel this is a perfectly adequate way to come to a proper legal conclusion, regardless of what those stuffy old law books say.
Question 1 -- Who is the subject of the documentary?: Jack Lemmon, the fine American actor. Regarding the question you asked off the record, your honor...Mr. Lemmon was not every man in America. That would be impossible. He was America's Everyman.
Question 2 -- What fruits are discussed or shown in the documentary?: The documentary concentrates on a Lemmon.
Question 3 -- When you think about the documentary, what is the first thing you remember?: The horrible, horrible, horrible sound quality on this documentary. Oh, good gracious, what on earth happened with this? It was made in 1996, but the audio has all the superb sound quality of a 1929 Al Jolson picture. The sound is just unforgivable; it makes the documentary just about unwatchable.
Question 4 -- Were there many scandals in the life of this particular Hollywood star? If so, are they discussed much?: No, not really. From what this documentary tells us, Jack Lemmon has always been a pretty stand-up guy.
Question 5 -- How much of the documentary relies on clips from this particular actor's movies?: This is a very clip-heavy documentary. It's nice to see moments from Lemmon's career, but we could do with a few less.
Question 6 -- Which well-known or well-respected individuals participate in this documentary?: Billy Wilder, Garson Kanin, Kevin Spacey, Gregory Peck, Neil Simon, Maureen Stapleton, and Charles Durning. However, Lemmon himself gets more interview time than anyone else.
Question 7 -- Who narrates the documentary?: There is no narration. It relies primarily on comments from Lemmon to provide a sense of narrative drive.
Question 8 -- How long is the documentary?: Shorter than other documentaries in "The Hollywood Collection." It's only 50 minutes instead of a full hour.
Question 9 -- What is your opinion on the morality of viewing a flea circus?: We find the very idea of a flea circus nothing short of horrifying. However, if Jack Lemmon were a flea, and he were in the flea circus, we would probably go watch it. That's how much we love Jack Lemmon.
Question 10 -- If you had to pick between watching this documentary or watching Speed 2: Cruise Control, which would you choose?: Could we alter the options? We would prefer to watch a remake of Speed 2: Cruise Control, featuring Jack Lemmon as Sandra Bullock, Walter Matthua as Willem Dafoe, Tony Curtis as Jason Patric, and The Love Boat as the boat.
Question 11 -- On a scale of one to ten, how huggable would say the subject of the documentary is?: Approximately a 7.6, your honor.
Question 12 -- Just on a personal level, name five films you would recommend as a good introduction to this particular actor: Almost any of the collaborations between Lemmon and director Billy Wilder are worth checking out. We particularly recommend the touching comedy/drama The Apartment and the riotous Some Like it Hot. Lemmon is remarkable as an alcoholic in Days of Wine and Roses, and you can check out some of the charming chemistry between Lemmon and Walter Matthau in The Odd Couple. Finally, Lemmon's turn as a desperate salesman in Glengarry Glen Ross may be the best role of his career.
Question 13 -- How does the documentary look and sound?: It looks okay, despite some grain...but as we said earlier, it sounds horrible. Just awful. It's bad enough to keep us from recommending this.
Question 14 -- Are there any extras included on the disc? If so, are they worth checking out?: Only some trailers and photo galleries, nothing of significant interest.
Question 15 -- Would you recommend this documentary for humans and/or animals?: No. This is a charming look at Jack Lemmon's career, but the technical problems prevent it from earning a recommendation of any sort.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Janson Media
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 50 Minutes
Release Year: 1996
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Photo Galleries