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Getting Away with Murder (film)

Getting Away with Murder is a 1996 American black comedy film directed and written by Harvey Miller.[2] Dan Aykroyd stars as Jack Lambert, an ethics professor who believes that his next door neighbor, Max Mueller (Jack Lemmon), is an escaped Nazi war criminal. Believing Mueller will escape justice, Lambert plots to murder Mueller.

Getting Away with Murder
Directed byHarvey Miller
Produced byPenny Marshall
Frank Price
Written byHarvey Miller
Music byJohn Debney
CinematographyFrank Tidy
Edited byRichard Nord
Distributed bySavoy Pictures
Release date
  • April 12, 1996 (1996-04-12)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$197,322[1]


Jack Lambert's (Dan Aykroyd) neighbor Max Mueller (Jack Lemmon) is revealed on the TV news to be the escaped Nazi war criminal Karl Luger who was sentenced to death by the courts. Under the constant duress of the news media's allegations, Mueller plans to flee to South America.

Angered that Mueller might never pay for his crimes, Lambert takes the drastic step of poisoning him by injecting cyanide into some of the fruit in Mueller's apple tree, from which he regularly makes freshly juiced apple juice. At first the police believe it's a suicide, which upsets Lambert so much that he mails them a cryptic letter to reveal that it was actually a murder to carry out the court sentence and to revenge all the lives taken.

Later, the TV news reveals that Mueller was misidentified and is innocent. Feeling guilty, Lambert does penance by dumping his fiancée Gail (Bonnie Hunt) and marrying Mueller's daughter Inga (Lily Tomlin). However, after the wedding, Lambert receives information assuring him of Mueller's guilt.



This was the final project for veteran writer and director Harvey Miller.[3] It received poor reviews and was panned by critics.[3][4][5][6][7]

Roger Ebert gave the film two out of four stars, writing, "Here is a film that tries to find comedy in the Holocaust, and it looks in the wrong places, in the wrong way, and becomes a sad embarrassment."[2]

Nathan Rabin wrote, "Murder suffers from what I call Craig Brewer Syndrome [...] Filmmakers afflicted with Craig Brewer Syndrome make the least offensive films out of the most offensive premises. [...] Lemmon and Tomlin deliver better performances than the material warrants. A deceptively playful Lemmon is plausible as both a genocidal monster in hiding and a harmless old man and Tomlin's uncompromising performance is refreshingly devoid of sentimentality. Yet their best efforts are wasted in a movie that aspires to make audiences laugh and think and only achieves half its goals."[8]

Home formatEdit

After the film's theatrical run, HBO released the movie onto VHS. In 2004, the film was finally released on DVD. The DVD is now discontinued and as of March 29, 2010, neither HBO or Focus Features, the latter of which has begun to acquire some of Savoy's movies, has announced any plans to release a new DVD of the film.


External linksEdit