Chris Wilkinson on

The Fortune Cookie

Released 1966
Distributor United Artists

Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon first met on this film, the beginning of a beautiful friendship. A seven-week hiatus ensued between the scene of Matthau racing up the stairs to Lemmon’s apartment, check in hand, and his opening the door, as Matthau suffered a near-fatal heart attack at the top of the stairs. When he finally returned, forty pounds lighter, Billy Wilder directed him to “act heavier”. He followed those instructions and landed an Oscar as best supporting actor. UK title: Meet Whiplash Willie.

About Chris Wilkinson

Christopher Wilkinson only works in the movie business to support his music habit — so many guitars, so little time. His screenwriting credits include Nixon, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, Ali, starring Will Smith, Copying Beethoven, which he also produced, and was a writer and executive producer on both Pawn Sacrifice and Miles Ahead. In addition, he wrote and directed the PBS documentary, Virtuosity.