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'The Sunshine Boys'

The two old boys try to harm each other through emotional unkindness, and one of them gets sick enough to die.


By Julie D. Griffin

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 16: (L-R) Sylvester Stallone, Kevin Hart, Alan Arkin, Robert De Niro, and Kim Basinger attend the 'Grudge Match' screening benefiting the Tribeca Film Insititute at Ziegfeld Theater on December 16, 2013 in New York City.
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Neil Simon wrote the Alan Arkin film adaptation, The Sunshine Boys and with stars George Burns as Lewis and Walter Matthau as Clark, the boys put on a show which rocks more than just the ritz of the film theater, The Palace. A tableau of jeweles sure enough to thrill, George M. Cohan, featured at the opening of the film as a statue with a pigeon on top, the town and a lot of growing since, still at 354 East, one W.K.R.P. disc-jockey, and along with Walter Matthau (Edward's Bela Lugosi), they say makes frumpies sound like something you'd do unto some funkie chimpanzees. "How do you know it's him?" Trouble is, it is him. And with Matthau and Burns who play two elder once vaudeville stars who reunite as seniors to make one final play together, it takes everything the son agent who puts them together to do to keep them together. He does everything he can from updating the apartment by method of cleaning, to bringing the men enough groceries for while they work on the acting assignment.

You keep calling it toilet paper. But the theme of how, "I got you on that show $10,000." The two elder men who have a bone to pick with each other since one of them, the man who George plays, walked away from the act years ago, that and the history the two had playing together at the Greek Theater. S. Wolf's Sons, and from an old tin for apartment No. 70, it is still no minor wall over black and white beiged tile. The two still find themselves at the lunch table of the launchpad of The Beatles, The Ed Sullivan Theater. "Meet my nephew," complains Matthau. "If he were your agent, you would not be working." Matthau fixed up by the cinematography of David M. Walsh and make-up to look a lot older than what he really was at the time of the 1975 film, also highlighted along with Burns within the walls of the film itself as actors playing actors the likes of the Friar's Club.

Al Lewis was the best, the best you ever saw, the two vaudeville greats assure each other. The poor, overworked nephew finally gets The Sunshine Boys to work on the play at hand, and which also included several fiery near knock-down, drag-outs between the two, one of which during as Matthau plays the fluid throughout the film, hard-headed one, and Burns of course the easy-going guy. A task likely harder than training a service-dog, Richard Benjamin as Ben Clark eventually works his plan as therapist, or go-between between the two old friends and restores more than the relationship they once had through it. A comedy of high humor, the story also had some places sad enough to make you cry, after the two old boys try to harm each other through emotional unkindness, and one of them gets sick enough to die.