Picture: B- Sound: C+
Jack Lemmon won his second Academy Award for Best Actor for 1973's
Save the Tiger, which didn't do much business in theaters, and is
largely forgotten more than three-decades later, but remains a great film of
Lemmon stars a Harry Stoner, a self-made success
in business who produces a line of women's clothing with his longtime
partner, Phil (Jack Gilford). Harry has a wife, a daughter off at
college, a house in Beverly Hills and a business of his own. At first
glance he's achieved the American Dream. But the more we see of
Harry, the more it becomes apparent that he's a deeply unhappy man who comes to
question if all his years of hard work were really worth it?
It turns out Harry's business is in jeopardy of failing, and
cooking the books the previous year is the only reason it survived this
long. A veteran of World War II, Harry suddenly finds himself stuck in
the past, yearning for the good old days, when his life and America seemed a
whole lot simpler.
Insightfully written by Steve Shagan and directed by John G.
Avildsen (who would win an Oscar himself three-years later for directing the
original Rocky), Save the Tiger is a fascinating character study
of a man from the World War II generation who seems lost in a world that was
undergoing a lot of change at the time. It's an unusually thoughtful film
that questions the very nature of the American Dream in an increasingly
stressful modern world -- this might explain why the film failed to find
much of an audience. People generally don’t like movies that question the
very nature of their existence.
It's great that studios are digging into their catalogs to unearth
buried treasures such as Save the Tiger. This is one of those
movies that becomes more and more resonant the older I get. Paramount's
new DVD release of Save the Tiger is a basic, anamorphic 1.85 X 1
widescreen edition sans any extras.
But it's better than nothing, and the film has been given a decent
transfer with good picture quality for a film of its age and adequate Dolby
Digital 2.0 Mono sound. I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record
on this, but I really wish Paramount would start putting more effort into
getting even a grainy old theatrical trailer onto these older catalog titles.
- Chuck O'Leary