THE FORTUNE COOKIE (1966)

A cameraman is knocked over during a football game. His brother in law as the king of the ambulance chasing lawyers starts a suit while he’s still knocked out. The cameraman is against it until he hears that his ex-wife will be coming to see him. He pretends to be injured to get her back, but also sees what the strain is doing to the football player who injured him. Production was halted for weeks after Walter Matthau had a heart attack. He had slimmed from 190 to 160 pounds by the time filming was completed, and had to wear a heavy black coat to conceal the weight loss. This was director Billy Wilder’s second film in a row in which one of his lead actors suffered a heart attack. In preceding film, 1964’s Kiss Me, Stupid, Peter Sellers’ health problem forced Wilder to replace him with Ray Walston. In Fortune Cookie, Walter Matthau suffered attack midway through production but shooting was postponed until he recovered; his drastic weight loss from scene to scene is noticeable. Billy Wilder came up with the idea for this film when he saw a player run into a cameraman on the sidelines while watching a football game.

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