Daily Archives: September 18, 2010

That is right, another Gene Wilder & Richard Pryor Classic: Stir Crazy (1980)

After taking a look at Silver Streak, it seemed only natural to watch Stir Crazy the second of four comedies Wilder and Pryor made together. Skip Donahue (Gene Wilder) and Harry Monroe (Richard Pryor) are best friends living in New York City. Donahue is a bad amateur playwright, working a day job in department store its plain clothes security guard. Monroe is working as a catering waiter wannabe actor who has made $35.00 acting. Both fired on the same day, Wilder is canned for harassing a starlet in the department store and Pryor is fired because his marijuana “from the mother land” ends up in the food at a high table dinner, Wilder uses the occasion as the perfect opportunity to finally leave New York and go west. Neither adapt well to life outside of New York, and they end up framed for a Bank Robbery and are sentenced to 125 years in prison.

Neither one of them is handling prison very well. Then one day the warden discovers that Wilder is a natural rodeo star and wants him to participate in the prison’s event. Wilder is told that if he refuses long enough, the warden will become so desperate that he will strike a deal with Wilder and his crew creating the possibility of a jail break while at the event. Wilder is subjected to different forms of coercion but makes it look like he enjoys the torture. Eventually the warden and Wilder strike a deal and its off to the rodeo they go.

The rodeo scenes comprise about the last 30 minutes or so. Pryor leads the convict team out of the stadium just as their lawyer is en route to tell the duo that they are free legitimately. Naturally things are tied up nicely in the end.

Yes the script is thin and yes it is a corny film, but Pryor and Wilder pull it out again and manage to make another gentle comedy suitable for most viewers. Also, a couple of facts many people overlook about Stir Crazy is that it was directed by none other than Sidney Poitier and that Gene Wilder sung the opening lyrics.


Posted by on September 18, 2010 in Movie Reviews

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