At the center of The Fortune Cookie is Whiplash Willie, a.k.a. William H. Gingrich, the mother of all shyster lawyers. As described by director/co-writer Billy Wilder, this guy is so full of angles, he starts to describe a donut, it comes out a pretzel. This mordant and funny 1966 look at chiseling ambulance chasers was the first of at least ten films pairing Walter Matthau (who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his memorable Willie) with Jack Lemmon (his brother-in-law client). While nowhere near Wilders accomplishments with Sunset Boulevard, Some Like It Hot, or even Sabrina, this black-and-white comedy is the best of his late-career work and is a genuine laugh maker. Music for The Fortune Cookie is by André Previn, longtime Music Director of the Houston Symphony. 7 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit www.mfah.org/films. $6 to $7.
Sun., March 29, 7 p.m., 2009