Review: ‘Pete ‘n’ Tillie’

Pete 'n' Tillie is a generally beautiful, touching and discreetly sentimental drama-with-comedy, starring Walter Matthau and Carol Burnett as two lonely near-middleagers whose courtship, marriage, breakup and reunion are told with compassion through producer Julius J. Epstein's fine script and Martin Ritt's delicate direction.

Pete ‘n’ Tillie is a generally beautiful, touching and discreetly sentimental drama-with-comedy, starring Walter Matthau and Carol Burnett as two lonely near-middleagers whose courtship, marriage, breakup and reunion are told with compassion through producer Julius J. Epstein’s fine script and Martin Ritt’s delicate direction.

Based on a Peter De Vries novella, Witch’s Milk, screenplay neatly establishes the two main characters – Matthau as an awkward, pun-prone market researcher who covers his gaucheries with a sardonic veneer; and Burnett as a maturing woman beginning to harden into uneasy spinsterhood.

In particular, Burnett is the key to the film’s viability by largely playing straight man to Matthau’s ironies, so there is a smooth credible transition to the drama of later reels.

1977: Nominations: Best Supp. Actress (Geraldine Page), Adapted Screenplay

Pete 'n' Tillie

Production

Universal. Director Martin Ritt; Producer Julius J. Epstein; Screenplay Julius J. Epstein; Camera John Alonzo; Editor Frank Bracht; Music John Williams; Art Director George Webb

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1972. Running time: 100 MIN.

With

Walter Matthau Carol Burnett Geraldine Page Barry Nelson Rene Auberjonois Lee H. Montgomery
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