No country for grumpy old men: Jack Lemmon and the age limits of suburbia

Long, Christian B. (2013) No country for grumpy old men: Jack Lemmon and the age limits of suburbia. Australasian Journal of American Studies, 32 2: 44-62.

Author Long, Christian B.
Title No country for grumpy old men: Jack Lemmon and the age limits of suburbia
Journal name Australasian Journal of American Studies
ISSN 0705-7113
Publication date 2013-12
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status
Volume 32
Issue 2
Start page 44
End page 62
Total pages 19
Place of publication Melbourne, Australia
Publisher Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association
Language eng
Formatted abstract
When Jack Lemmon died in 2001, obituaries described him as 'just our size.' One writer noted that 'few performers equalled him in communicating and indeed personifying, both comically and tragically, certain moral dilemmas of postwar American life', echoing Billy Wilder's earlier description of Lemmon as a Hollywood 'everyman.' Given that Lemmon grew up in the upper-middl-class in late-Depression Boston, graduated from Harvard, and was the biggest box office draw of 1963 and 1964, to consider him as the embodiment of 'normalcy' seems counterintuitive. Still, Lemmon's everyman star persona positions him as the illustrative figure of post-War suburban normalcy. Analysis of a selection of Lemmon's films - The Apartment (1960), Good Neighbor Sam (1964), Save the Tiger (1973), The China Syndrome (1979), Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) and the Grumpy Old Men films (1993, 1995) - shows their collective depiction of the average American relocating to the suburbs, ambivalently confronting success, and ultimately discovering an uncertain future for old age in suburbia. In this trajectory, Lemmon's star persona traces the boundaries of the post-War American suburb — first in terms of behaviours, and later as limitations confronted by the aged.
Keyword Suburbs
Motion pictures -- United States
Lemmon, Jack
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Communication and Arts Publications
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Created: Tue, 03 Jun 2014, 11:41:23 EST by Christian Long on behalf of School of Communication and Arts