Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mini-Review: Silver Streak

Starring Gene Wilder, Richard Pryor, Jill Clayburgh, Patrick McGoohan
Directed by Arthur Hiller

A brief synopsis: Book editor George Caldwell takes a train ride to Chicago and becomes involved in a romance with a secretary named Hilly. Shortly thereafter his trip takes a turn for the worse when he witnesses a dead body falling from the train. Now George must get to the bottom of what he saw without getting killed himself.

In a way, Silver Streak represents one of those hard-to-categorize films. Sure, it’s definitely a comedy, but there’s more to it than that. The film contains a fair bit of action and intrigue, along with some romance for good measure. Actually, the word Hitchcockian comes to mind. Add to that the pairing of Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor and you’ve got a unique mix of a film – one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

The cast of this film really shines. Gene Wilder is as appealing as ever in the lead role of George. He’s charming, sympathetic, and you root for him to beat the odds that are stacked against him. This film was the first pairing of Wilder with Richard Pryor and it’s easy to see why they made three more films together afterwards. One of the highlights of the film involves Pryor disguising Wilder with shoe polish and teaching him to “pass” for black. Watching Wilder attempt to dance and jive talk had me laughing for quite awhile.

This film seems slightly underseen today, although I'm not sure why. I think it has something for everyone to enjoy. So seek out Silver Streak for a solid cinematic ride.

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