Don't be fooled by the title of the 1965 film How to Murder Your Wife. It's not really a black comedy about getting away with a crime or combining death with the usual conventions of the romantic comedy. It's not even fair to call it a Battle of the Sexes comedy -- common in the age of Rock Hudson and Doris Day -- because calling it a "battle" implies that there are two sides. In this movie, the women are the enemy and the men are the victims until they're just not going to take it anymore. Its gender politics aren't just outdated for 1965; they predate 1935, too.
I know I'm being too hard on How to Murder Your Wife. None of it is meant to be taken seriously, and I suspect the filmmakers knew they were making a dinosaur even in 1965 -- it plays like the desperate rantings of a population that senses the changing of the tides and can do nothing but shake its fists against it. At two hours, the movie is criminally overlong (two sequences in which Stanley plays out his Brash Brannigan fantasies in real life feel like they go on FOREVER) and too ready to play the same notes again and again. Lemmon keeps it afloat, though, twinkling without an ounce of meanness -- it's all a goof, his performance tells us. Everything else feels like a relic from a period long-gone. As a time capsule, it's an amusing diversion...even if it does leave a bitter aftertaste.
Blu-ray release date: February 17, 2015
1.66:1 widescreen (1080p)
DTS HD 1.0 Mono (English)
Bonus features: None
Buy How to Murder Your Wife from Olive Films here