|Cast: Gene Wilder, Jill Clayburgh, Richard Pryor, Ned Beatty, Scatman Crothers, Patrick McGoohan, Richard Kiel, Fred Willard|
Director(s): Arthur Hiller
Saw it a lot as a kid, but didn't remember a damn thing about it except the train crash at the end. Deril suggested a rewatch, so I rented it.
Man, it's pretty lousy. Aside from being overly long, you at least hope to get the usual great chemistry between Wilder and Pryor, but Pryor only shows up after an hour of tedious ho-hum mystery-on-a-train nonsense. There's no real snap to any of the dialogue, and some scenes are downright embarrassing. It wants to be sort of a mystery/comedy/adventure but doesn't really succeed as any of those. The murder mystery plot aspect is so far-fetched, compiled of plot devices that stray from the simple-is-best plan.
On a technical level, the backgrounds seen going by through the train windows are obviously stock footage, and the stunt doubles are a little on the sloppy side too. Can't quite see how this a big hit back in the day (apparently grossed 51 mil!) and "more recently, it was listed at #95 on the AFI's list of the 100 Funniest American Movies of All Time and is number 84 on Bravo's 100 Funniest Movies."
That last statement, lifted from Wikipedia, is utterly baffling to me. At best this film has cute moments, that's being nice.
I have to agree on all counts here. I remembered liking this as a kid, but it was loooong and drawn out this time around. Pryor is good once he shows up, but by that point it's too little too late. I still think I liked it better than Mitch, but he's right about it missing the mark as a comdey, action or thriller. I'd also like to point out that there is no actul streaking in this movie.
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