Save the Tiger (1973)
His performance in this bleak drama gained Jack Lemmon his only leading actor Oscar - not completely undeserved, although he gave better performances later which would have been more worthy winners. However, seen today, almost 40 years later, this part is arguably one of the few dramatic performances of his which the course of time hasn't been too kind to. In Lemmon's defence, this has more to do with Steve Shagan's situational and temporal script than with Lemmon's deep and devoted performance. Because although Save the Tiger still has valid social observations and interesting characterizations, the film comes off as too self-conscious and introspective - heavy lingering on its downheartedness and constant messaging. There are also a couple of key scenes which probably will come off as too stylized for today's audiences, notably Lemmon's breakdown at the opening of his show. This is a scene oversoaked with meaning, which for seasoned viewers may lead to a counter-productive effect; in short, unnecessary elucidative. Despite this criticism, the strength of Save the Tiger remains Lemmon's performance and, in retrospect, the portrait of the pessimistic atmosphere and moral ambiguity which developed particularly in urban commercialized USA in the wake of the Vietnam War and the Red Threat.