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Q: I'm trying to remember the name of an old movie. It starred the "Odd Couple" stars as reporters for a newspaper. I think there were several other big stars in it as well.

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Author: 
Adam Thomlison / TV Media

The film you're looking for is the 1974 Billy Wilder production of "The Front Page," a beloved, decades-old stage play.

It starred, as you say, Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, the third of 10 collaborations the two friends made over their long careers.

Lemmon played a reporter at a Chicago tabloid who was weary of the business and planning to quit. His scheming editor, played by Matthau, convinces him to stay on to cover the sensational story of the execution of a convicted murderer.

As for other stars, TV great Carol Burnett appeared, but she said in her 2010 memoir, "This Time Together," that she was less than pleased with her performance.

She relates a story of being on a plane on which "The Front Page" was the in-flight movie. When it finished she got on the flight's intercom and apologized.

The other notable appearance was by a very young Susan Sarandon. She had a fairly prominent place, though "The Front Page" was released a year before her real breakout role, as Janet in 1975's "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

"The Front Page" was in fact the third film incarnation of the play by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur.

It was first produced way back in 1931, however it's better remembered for a rendition made in 1940 under the title "His Girl Friday" (which recasts Lemmon's reporter role as a lady, a love interest of the editor).

It was made again in 1988 under the title "Switching Channels," keeping the editor-reporter romance angle of "His Girl Friday," and changing the setting from a newspaper office to the more '80s-appropriate cable news studio.

 

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