Back in 1958, Walter Matthau co-starred with Elvis Presley in King Creole and took some lip from the Hungarian director Michael Curtiz: "Matthau, you are high-priced actor. Pretend you are low-priced actor. Don't act so much." Matthau has built a long and lucrative career by ignoring that advice. Insiders are already touting him for an Oscar for overacting his grumpy old head off as Nat Moyer, the 81-year-old Jewish radical who harangues the denizens of New York's Central Park, especially Midge Carter (Ossie Davis), also 81, a black superintendent who also complains, but more quietly. Playwright Herb Gardner has directed the film version of his comictragic-unendurable 1986 play, which inexplicably won a Tony award, without restraining Matthau in the least. Where is Michael Curtiz when you need him?
From The Archives Issue 378: September 16, 1982