Skip to content

First Monday In October (1981)

Can you see Walter Matthau as a rather grumpy member of the supreme court justice system?

matthau as judge

Not really much of a stretch to see Walter play anything with a grumpy, sarcastic slant to it. Especially as we have the benefit of looking back and seeing him actually play a Grumpy Old Man in a couple of surprise hits at the box office.

Walter Matthau’s character here of Dan Snow was originated on stage by Henry Fonda who by this time was in rather frail condition so Matthau stepped into the role of a cantankerous Judge ( “You’re not bothering me, you’re interrupting me, but you’re not bothering me. “) who isn’t at all happy when Jill Clayburgh is assigned to take the seat of a recently deceased member of the Court.

The days of the old boys club have come to an end with changing times.

“Would you like tea or whiskey?” Walter’s response, “Both. No, skip the tea, I don’t want to overdo it. ”

clayburgh_2

For her part, Jill has to get tough but remain smart to swim in D.C. with the constant references to her sexuality when standing before the senate as they grill her about the job she has been appointed to and then the other seven Judges of the Supreme Court where Walter seems to carry much of the weight.

There are two cases that the pair will preside over and of course bicker about. First off is a pornographic movie titled The Naked Nymphomaniac and whether or not it can be shown theatrically. Things sure have changed as we look back to 1981 from our vantage point today so this actually forces the film into a time capsule through no fault of it’s own.

first-monday-in-october

The other issue happens to be about an invention that has been stymied that could have been considered an alternative fuel thus putting the gas companies out of business. The status of this case is that Jill may be somehow connected to it thus disqualifying her from the bench.

There’s really not much more to this Ronald Neame film that I must admit to thinking was a battle of the sexes that led into an outright romantic comedy. Not the case.

first monday half sheet

Matthau is actually married to Jan Sterling in this one and though they have a rocky relationship it isn’t used as a catalyst to Walter and Jill getting together. The implication is there that it could happen but the film like a stage play mainly keeps them in the courts and their offices behind the courtroom.

Walter astutely points out to Jill that she has a male secretary thus completing the role reversal.

Not as laugh out loud funny as I expected though as a Matthau fan I can’t help but smile as he gives us some of his lines through a grimace.

FIRST MONDAY IN OCTOBER, Walter Matthau, Jill Clayburgh, 1981, (c)Paramount Pictures

“To you it’s a mess, to me it’s a wilderness of free association. Don’t ever straighten up my desk Mason, I’d never be able to find anything. I’ve always been suspicious of neatness. If there is nothing on top of a man’s desk, he probably shoved all the clutter in the drawers and if his drawers are empty, what the hell does he need a desk for? ”

Generally speaking a two part film with good work by the leads but yes, I wish it played out a bit differently and morphed into the rom-com which it threatened to do but couldn’t quite bring itself around to committing itself to.

1 Comment »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

"DESTROY ALL FANBOYS!"

Smashing System Bias Since 1972...

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

IDENTIKIT

The current online container for the writer Konrad Wardh

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film Club

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

Talking Pulp

All things pulp and then some

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Scenes from the Morgue

The Lost Art of Pulp Ads: Film, Booze, Smokes & More!

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking deeper at the best classic movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

Canadian Cinephile

"The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them." - Alfred Hitchcock

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

hitchcockmaster

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

An Irreverent Blog of Old Movies

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

movies galore

"DESTROY ALL FANBOYS!"

Smashing System Bias Since 1972...

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

IDENTIKIT

The current online container for the writer Konrad Wardh

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film Club

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

Talking Pulp

All things pulp and then some

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Scenes from the Morgue

The Lost Art of Pulp Ads: Film, Booze, Smokes & More!

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking deeper at the best classic movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

Canadian Cinephile

"The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them." - Alfred Hitchcock

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

hitchcockmaster

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

An Irreverent Blog of Old Movies

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

movies galore

%d bloggers like this: