The Fortune Cookie


Action / Comedy / Romance

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN


Top cast

Ned Glass Photo
Ned Glass as Doc Schindler
Judy Pace Photo
Judy Pace as Elvira
Walter Matthau Photo
Walter Matthau as Willie Gingrich
Judi West Photo
Judi West as Sandy Hinkle
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.01 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 5 min
P/S 2 / 1
1.97 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 5 min
P/S 3 / 6

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by blanche-28 / 10

Matthau and Lemmon directed by Wilder in a Wilder script - who can ask for anything more?

When a cameraman is knocked over during a Cleveland Browns game, the sharks move in - or should I say shark - in the form of "Whiplash Willie," his brother-in-law, in "The Fortune Cookie," a 1966 film written and directed by Billy Wilder.

Lemmon plays Harry Hinkle, a television cameraman, who is involved in a freak accident during a football game, when he is knocked over by "Boom Boom" Jackson. As soon as his brother-in-law, attorney Willie Gingrich (Matthau) hears that Harry suffered a compressed vertebrae in his youth (from jumping off of a garage roof without opening his umbrella),he warns his hospitalized victim not to get well. He has a paroled dentist come in and shoot him up with drugs so that he can pass the insurance medical tests, puts him in a wheelchair, a collar, and a corset, and takes him home to recover. Meanwhile, the insurance company has a camera on him and his apartment bugged. Harry's tramp ex-wife (Judi West),an aspiring singer, comes back to him as soon as she smells money to jump-start her career. The guilt-stricken Boom Boom becomes his servant. Boom Boom's football game suffers, and he turns to drink. Whiplash Willie, in the meantime, is negotiating a $200,000 settlement.

Insurance fraud and ambulance chasers are still very topical. One has only to look at the number of commercials for attorneys telling you an accident is worth big bucks. Leave it to Billy Wilder and partner I.A.L. Diamond to write such a witty, cynical script about a man with a conscience up against a man who will stop at nothing to cheat the insurance company.

Walter Matthau is an absolute riot as Willie, and won the Academy Award for his performance. Willie is an obvious cheat who knows all the angles and is able to get around them. Lemmon is great as a lonely man who goes along with the subterfuge with the carrot of his ex-wife returning dangling in front of him. Ron Rich gives a natural, sympathetic performance as Boom Boom, the devastated football player.

The script is very witty and the performances are great. Billy Wilder was one of film's greatest writers and directors, and in "The Fortune Cookie," he shows he's still got what it takes.

Reviewed by MartinHafer9 / 10

Not exactly a comedy....but well made.

"The Fortune Cookie" is a very dark comedy--with an emphasis on serious drama as well. So, if you're looking for a rollicking comedy, this is not the film for you. Now I am not saying there's anything wrong with the movie...but it's just a very different sort of film and has a sharp edge to it.

The film begins at a Cleveland Browns game. A player, Boom Boom Jackson (Ron Rich),is returning a kick and accidentally plows into a cameraman on the sideline. The poor schnook (Jack Lemmon) is knocked cold in front of tens of thousands of fans and find himself awake in the hospital. However, before he can even try to get out of bed, his sleazy brother-in-law (Walter Matthau) tells him of his scheme--to exploit a childhood injury and pretend it's from the football tackle. Then, this sleazy lawyer (am I being redundant?!) plans on suing everybody for a million bucks--a ton of money back in 1966. To get him to agree to the lawsuit, the sleazy lawyer convinces him that he could use his injury to get his ex-wife to return...and when she smells money, she's quick to come running. The scheme seems to be coming off perfectly...until the real damage of all this starts to become apparent.

The film is well written and very well acted. Is it a fun or feel- good movie? No way...but it is an interesting lesson about human nature and greed. And, sadly, it's a story every bit as timeless today as it was back in the day.

By the way, the film might surprise you a bit with all the cursing for a 1960s movie. This isn't so much a complaint but an observation about the earthy style of this incredibly cynical film.

Reviewed by bkoganbing9 / 10

One Bottom Feeding Lawyer

In The Fortune Cookie, Billy Wilder took on the great American legal system and twisted a lot of laughs out of it. It's the underside of the great American dream, sue someone with deep pockets and you can be a millionaire. It's why we have too many lawyers in our society, it's what creates Willie Gingrich.

In three previous Wilder pictures folks like Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity, William Holden in Sunset Boulevard, and Kirk Douglas in Ace in the Hole all had some similar notions about a get rich and/or famous quick scheme and they all ended in tragedy. Interesting that protagonist Jack Lemmon as TV cameraman Harry Hinkle has more strength of character than those three before him.

Not at first though. Jack Lemmon is a TV cameraman who is covering a Cleveland Browns football game in Municipal Stadium when running back Ron Rich takes him out when Rich goes out of bounds. That's where attorney and brother-in-law of Lemmon, Walter Matthau hears about a previous spinal injury Lemmon sustained and he hatches a scheme involving Lemmon who is supposed to now act paralyzed so he can sue CBS, Municipal Stadium, and the Cleveland Browns for as much as he can wring out of them.

Matthau won his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor playing bottom feeding lawyer, Whiplash Willie Gingrich. With that kind of nickname in the profession it's no wonder that the white shoe firm representing the defending parties goes all out to trip him up. They get private detective Cliff Osmond to shadow Lemmon night and day. The results he gets from his surveillance are not unexpected, but a lot of laughs come along with them.

Matthau is so good as Gingrich that you can literally see his mind at work as he hears about Lemmon's childhood fractured vertebrae from his wife who is Lemmon's sister. Watching his kids skateboarding in the hospital waiting room you kind of wonder what kind of ethics he's been teaching them at home. Note that when you last see Willie Gingrich in the film, he's down, but not yet out.

There's a couple of other good performances here. Ron Rich as the Brown halfback who really is concerned that he permanently paralyzed Jack Lemmon. Also Judi West as Lemmon's ex-wife who when she hears about Lemmon's possible windfall, she's ready to reconcile with him. Matthau is ready to use her of course, but even he gets kind of put off with her ethics. This is also the farewell performance of Sig Ruman, who Billy Wilder liked to use when he could, both of them being refugees from Hitler. Ruman is one of the specialists brought in and the only one who's not fooled by Lemmon's performance.

The Fortune Cookie even after 40 years still has plenty of laughs for this generation. That is sadly because this is part of the American legal system that if anything has increased exponentially since 1966.

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