BOOK INTO NEIL SIMON’S HOTEL SUITE FOR THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE.
When one of Neil Simon’s most successful plays headed for the big screen, the director selected for the job was Arthur Hiller who already had experience from working with the writer on The Out-of-Towners the previous year. The results are very enjoyable and a showcase for Walter Matthau who does the lead in all three vignettes. The main difference from the play is that the female leads are played by three actresses instead of one, but they all match Matthau very well. The heated arguments (and wickedly sharp and funny lines) reflect the strained realities of long relationships… but the second vignette is less rewarding than the others.
1971-U.S. 115 min. Color. Produced by Howard W. Koch. Directed by Arthur Hiller. Screenplay, Play: Neil Simon. Music: Maurice Jarre. Cast: Walter Matthau (Roy Hubley/Jesse Kiplinger/Sam Nash), Maureen Stapleton (Karen Nash), Barbara Harris (Muriel Tate), Lee Grant (Norma Hubley), Louise Sorel.
Trivia: George C. Scott, Peter Sellers, Barbra Streisand and Lucille Ball were allegedly considered for parts.
Last word: “I was very unhappy about it. I didn’t like the cast. I didn’t like the picture. I would only have used Walter in the last sequence and probably Lee Grant. I think Walter Matthau was wrong to play all three parts. That’s a trick Peter Sellers can do. I have to accept some of the blame for the film. I kept all the action in one room. It was rather confining. We could have gone into other suites. I didn’t think it out, but I learned from that.” (Simon, TCM)