One movie is never enough. Don't just grab two new releases tonight, theme your evening with this Double Feature.

Double Feature

You were probably up late last week, surfing channels between bad movies (but at least nude ones) on Cinemax, when you hit this news item: Jack Lemmon dead. Oh yeah, you thought, that grumpy old guy. He started in comedy, veered into drama, and ended his career balancing between the two. But for today, look toward that early part of his career, in particular some obscure but funny work.

Lemmon took a supporting role in Bell, Book, and Candle, a movie better known as a vehicle reuniting Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak. Underneath a somewhat sappy love story between a mortal and a witch (later, um, "borrowed" for Bewitched), Lemmon steals the film as Nicky Holroyd, a beatnik warlock eager for infamy. He spends most of his time sharing sorcerous secrets with a drunken writer played by Ernie Kovacs, who off-screen had been an early supporter of Lemmon's career.

And so to dig deeper in the video shelf, pair Bell, Book, and Candle with The Best of Ernie Kovacs. Kovacs produced, wrote, and starred in a variety of innovative sketch shows from the early days of television, and often involved Jack Lemmon. This stuff really pushed the envelope for the time, and remains funny today. Lemmon's most famous contribution to the show was as a member of "The Nairobi Trio," three guys in bad monkey suits playing drums.

Though a tribute to one of Hollywood's greats, consider this double feature preparation for the rest of 2001. Watching The Nairobi Trio will make you marvel even more at Planet of the Apes. Then pretend Nicky Holroyd is just a young Dumbledore.

Derek McCaw

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