If I ever get a spare moment, I want to write a proper appreciation of Gene Wilder at Big Hollywood. Wilder turned 79 this year and retired from Hollywood over a decade ago. As a child of the 70’s, though, Wilder was one of those movie stars who was always around and always reliable.
Wilder also doesn’t get his due (he most certainly deserves an honorary Oscar). How many actors (comedic or otherwise) can lay claim to starring in five timeless career masterpieces: “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles,’ “Willy Wonka,” “Young Frankenstein,” and “Stir Crazy.” (Personally, I’m not a “Producers” fan but I acknowledge its place in film history.)
Wilder adapted and directed “The Woman In Red” in 1984, and while it doesn’t rank with those listed above, it is still a very entertaining and very funny adult comedy — especially the scenes involving Wilder’s real-life wife (at the time), “Saturday Night Live” alum Gilda Radner.
What makes Wilder so unique and irreplaceable is on full display in “Woman” — his accessible likability mixed with an unpredictable edge that tells you he’s capable of anything (this is why he was the PERFECT person to play Willy Wonka). “Woman” is also ahead of its time thanks to a touching subplot involving Charles Grodin’s character (which I won’t spoil.)
Not for the kids, but a great way to spend 90-minutes.
Have a good weekend, everyone.