My 100 favourite films. Entry #20: Silver Streak.

Silver Streak (1976)
directed by Arthur Hiller
starring Gene Wilder, Jill Clayburgh, Richard Pryor, Patrick McGoohan and Ned Beatty
country: USA
genre: comedy (technically)

Visuals: 6
Writing: 6
Everyday watchability: 6
Number of times Gene Wilder gets thrown or jumps from the train: 3

I say that Silver Streak is technically a comedy because it's really an experiment in how many genres you can cram into a film. It starts out as a romance film. Then suddenly it's a thriller. Then they throw in some comedy, then there's some mystery thrown in and oh hell, this movie's all over the place.

The thing that makes it so good is the chemistry between Wilder and Pryor. This is the first movie that they starred in together, and they went on to make many more films together. They're perfect comedic foils for each other. They both seem so natural and relaxed together and that really helps them make great comedy. The funniest scene might even be one of the funniest ever. Realizing they're not going to make it past some cops, Pryor dresses Wilder up in shoe-polish-blackface and attempts to teach him how to be black. It's got other funny bits and even one of the most famous climaxes in movie history where an Amtrak train crashes through the wall of a train station (pretty big budget for a comedy), but the blackface scene really steals the show.


1 comment(s).:

July 28, 2008 at 10:37 AM MPU said...

You're so right. The first time I sae Pryor and Wilder in this I laughed like I laughed during Blazing Saddles.