The Out of Towners

The Out of Towners, filmed in 1969, is a Neil Simon comedy starring Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis.  Simon originally planned for the story of The Out of Towners to be included as one of four vignettes in his play Plaza Suite, but while writing it ,he realized there was so much that could be done with the story, so he decided to write a feature-length screenplay instead.  Both Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis were nominated for Golden Globe awards for their work in the film, and Neil Simon received the Writers’ Guild of America award for Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen.

The plot of The Out of Towners revolves around a couple named George and Gwen Kellerman.  George has a job interview in New York City, and so the couple travels together from Twin Oaks, Ohio to New York.  Along the way, it seems that every possible thing that could go wrong does indeed go wrong.  Heavy fog forces their flight to land in Boston rather than New York.  In Boston, they find out that their luggage, which contains George’s ulcer medication and Gwen’s extra cash, is still back in Ohio.  They then miss the train to New York, so they chase it down in a taxi, and meet up with the train at the next stop.  Finally on board the train, they wait for two hours to get something to eat in the dining car, but the only food left is peanut butter sandwiches, green olives, and crackers.  When they arrive in New York, with no money, they find out that the New York City mass transit, cab drivers, and sanitation workers are all on strike.  So the couple heads out on foot in a rainstorm to the Waldorf-Astoria, where they are told that their room reservation has been given away and there are no rooms available in that hotel or any other, due to the strike.

The night gets even worse when they sleep outside in Central Park, get mugged not once but twice, Gwen’s shoe breaks, they are kidnapped by armed burglars, they get thrown out of a church, and many, many other crazy things happen.  Somehow, miraculously, George manages to make it on time to his job interview!  Central Park is seen on the Central Park TV & Movie Sites Walking Tour and the NYC TV & Movie Tour.  Central Park was used in both the original film and the remake.

The Out of Towners was remade in 1999 and starred Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn.  Although there were a few minor changes, the plot of the remake was very similar to the original.

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