The War Between Men and Women

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The War Between Men and Women
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMelville Shavelson
Written byDanny Arnold
Melville Shavelson
James Thurber (writings)
Produced byDanny Arnold
StarringJack Lemmon
Barbara Harris
Jason Robards
CinematographyCharles F. Wheeler
Edited byFrank Bracht
Music byMarvin Hamlisch
Distributed byNational General Pictures
Release date
  • June 2, 1972 (1972-06-02)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$4,000,000 (US/Canada rentals)[1]

The War Between Men and Women is a 1972 American comedy-drama film directed by Melville Shavelson and starring Jack Lemmon, Barbara Harris, and Jason Robards. The film is based on the writings of humorist James Thurber, and was released by Cinema Center Films. It features animated cartoons interspersed in the story based on Thurber's works. Shavelson was creator of the 1969 Thurber-based television series My World and Welcome to It. The screenplay is by Shavelson and by Danny Arnold, who also worked on the 1969 series. Lisa Gerritsen, who plays Linda Kozlenko in the film, previously co-starred in My World and Welcome to It as Lydia Monroe.


Peter Wilson is a sarcastic near-sighted cartoonist, author, and swinging bachelor living in Manhattan. He detests women, dogs, and children. He is flustered by women's priorities and avoids commitment, much preferring transient physical relationships. At the office of his eye surgeon, Peter meets a leggy, eye-catching strong-willed woman named Terri Kozlenko. He likes her very much, but discovers later that she is a single mother to three children, Caroline, Linda, and David. The first thing she learns about him, from his ophthalmologist, is that he's in danger of losing his sight, which would make it impossible for him to continue his work.

Nevertheless, they develop a close friendship that grows into romance, when Peter realizes that Terri is the only woman who can tolerate his strong anti-feminist opinions. When she rejects his plan of a sexual relationship conducted exclusively at his bachelor pad (so that he doesn't have to bond with her demanding family), he reluctantly proposes to her. They get married and he moves into her apartment, but her rogue ex-husband Stephen appears to spend more time with their children. Stephen and Peter clash at first, but they soon become good drinking friends, much to Terri's disapproval. Peter also begins to bond with David, who has had no stable male role model with his father perpetually off photographing war zones.

Peter's eyesight gradually worsens and his boss, Howard Mann, begins to criticize his work. On the advice of his ophthalmologist, Peter schedules an operation that could cure his problem, and tries to keep it a secret from Terri to avoid worrying her. Howard gets hysterical and inadvertently ruins Peter's alibi of working away from home on a book. Terri tells him that she had known that Peter was going blind before they ever got involved. This revelation enrages Peter, and he accuses her of only going to bed with him out of pity. She says she never once felt sorry for him, but his pride is too wounded to accept this.

The operation is partly successful in restoring Peter's vision, and he moves out of the house to his old studio to begin work on a new book, The Last Flower.

Stephen is killed on assignment, which traumatizes everyone, but Linda in particular. Her stammer is getting progressively worse. Terri insists she go talk to Peter, who takes her on an imaginary visual tour of his new book—which is about war and human stupidity, but also love and hope and restoration. She begins to conquer her stammer, and he realizes he was wrong to leave his new family, who need him. He meets Terri at a party related to the release of his new book, and they renew their bond. Much against his misanthropic nature, he is forced to rejoin humanity.


Award nomination[edit]

The screenplay by Melville Shavelson and Danny Arnold was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen.[2]

Home media[edit]

Like many other films in the Cinema Center catalog, The War Between Men and Women was long unavailable on home video, with the exception of a brief release on VHS in 1999,[3] although it was shown on television. It was released to DVD by Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment on January 28, 2014, as a Region 1 widescreen DVD.[4] It was released on Blu-ray in 2016 by Kino Lorber.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Updated All-time Film Champs". Variety. January 9, 1974. p. 60.
  2. ^ "The War Between Men and Women". filmaffinity. Retrieved November 29, 2023.
  3. ^ "The War Between Men & Women VHS". Amazon. Retrieved November 29, 2023.
  4. ^ Jahnke, Dr Adam (January 27, 2014). "War Between Men and Women, The". The Digital Bits. Retrieved November 29, 2023.
  5. ^ Hough, Matt (March 9, 2016). "The War Between Men and Women Blu-ray Review". Retrieved November 29, 2023.

External links[edit]