But Jack had another collaborator for whom he starred in comedies that were equally great (and undeservedly neglected) - Richard Quine.
Together, at their home base at Columbia, they made the superior musical "My Sister Eileen" (1955), the scrappy service farce "Operation Mad Ball" (1957), the bewitching "Bell, Book and Candle" (1958), the it-gets-better-with-age "It Happened to Jane" (1959) and especially the sophisticated "The Notorious Landlady" (1962), a playful, clever take on Hitchcock.
"The Notorious Landlady" is my preferred Lemmon movie (hands-down) and one of my favorite films in general. Its titanic supporting structure is, of course, its sceenplay - an incredibly literate affair penned by no less than Blake Edwards and Larry Gelbart, by way of British nutneggy Margery Sharp, who wrote the short story (originally published in the Saturday Even Post as "The Notorious Tenant") on which the script is based.
Quine's direction here is his most assured as he blends subtle comedy, snappy repartee and Hitchcock quotes with incredible, impressive ease.
One memorable scene follows another, the highlight of which is a comic chase staged at Penzance, the location of an elderly residence whose tenants are enjoying an open-air concert atop the forbidding cliffs.
Here is Jack in a selection of shots bounding through the air in the film's climatic and wonderful chase sequence, which Quine and composer George Duning set to selections from - what else? - "The Pirates of Penzance" and other Gilbert and Sullivan goodies. "Take me back before I miss "The Mikado!," the wheelchair-bound Estelle Winwood snaps at her nefarious caregiver, Phileppa Bevans, before Winwood is pushed down a rocky hill. The scene makes me want to jump, tumble and fly, too. Enjoy!
Note in Passing: Richard Quine directed Jack Lemmon's screen test when Jack was hired by Columbia and put under contract by Harry Cohn and, along with Wilder, Quine was a Best Man at Jack's wedding to Felicia Farr in Paris in 1962, the year "The Notorious Landlady" was released. Kim Novak, Jack's co-star in "The Notorious Landlady" and Quine's muse, also attended the wedding. Wilder and Lemmon were in Paris at the time, with Shirley MacLaine, filming exteriors for "Irma La Douce" (1963).
~Jack Be Nimble - Lemmon doing his own stunt work in "The Notorious Landlady"
~photography: Columbia Pictures, 1962©