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The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975)

PG  |   |  Comedy  |  5 May 1975 (Sweden)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 1,964 users  
Reviews: 39 user | 14 critic

A suddenly unemployed ex-executive suffers a nervous breakdown.

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Title: The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975)

The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Edna Edison
Gene Saks ...
Harry Edison
...
Pauline
...
Pearl
...
Belle Edison
...
Mr. Jacobi
Gene Blakely ...
Charlie
Ivor Francis ...
Psychiatrist
Stack Pierce ...
Detective
Patricia Marshall ...
Mrs. Jacobi
Dee Carroll ...
Helen
Ketty Lester ...
Unemployment Clerk
...
Joe
...
Taxi Driver
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Storyline

The story of Mel and Edna (Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft), a middle-class, middle-aged, middle-happy couple living in a Manhattan high rise apartment building. Mel loses his job, the apartment is robbed, Edna gets a job, Mel loses his mind, Edna loses her job . . . to say nothing of the more minor tribulations of nosy neighbors, helpful relatives and exact bus fares. The couple suffers indignity after indignity (some self-inflicted) and when they seem on the verge of surrender, they thumb their noses defiantly and dig the trenches for battle. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

...and you think you've got problems.

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 May 1975 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

A Második utca foglyai  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the Jack Lemmon's biography "Lemmon" by Don Widener, actress Anne Bancroft recounted this episode from the film's shooting: "[Jack was] nice to a point where he's crazy...We had a scene in 'Prisoner [of Second Avenue'] where he had to carry a shovel in - a very close two-shot favoring me. I played the scene with tears in my eyes because Jack had accidentally hit me in the shin with that shovel. The director saw something was wrong so he stopped everything. I had a big bump on my leg, but it was Friday and over the weekend I fixed it up. When we came back on Monday the first scene was a retake of the shovel thing. Well, Jack brought the shovel in and I anticipated getting hit again. He's so full of energy, you're sure he's not noticing; but he never touched me. The take was fine, but Jack limped away. To avoid hurting me, he had cut himself. He was bleeding and we had to bandage his leg; his wound was much worse than mine. He is so kind he hurt himself rather than injure someone else. That's a little crazy! It's the nicest crazy I know, and I know a lot of crazy people." See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 12 mins) Harry's hands jump from being neatly interlaced on his lap to sprawled out on the chair arms. See more »

Quotes

Mel: If you're a human being, then you reserve the right to complain, to protest. If you give up that right then you cease to exist.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Urban Living: Funny and Formidable (1975) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pertinent Prisoner
6 August 2008 | by (Silicon Valley) – See all my reviews

I've always thought of Neil Simon as being the one playwright consistently able to capture the genuine flavor of New York as a backdrop to the realistic personalities of his characters. Not being a New Yorker - Silicon Valley is about as far away as you can get - I'm afraid I have not been drawn to movies of his plays as strongly as to other comedies.

But Prisoner of Second Avenue is an exception. Maybe it's because I am indeed in Silicon Valley, where layoffs are something we all get to experience. But this movie captured so aptly the craziness of being laid off, staying home all day - seeing only the one you love (but starting to hate him/her too as an extension of your own self-hatred). Making petty grievances huge, and trying to pretend the truly huge issues no longer exist. And worrying about the bills, and the clothes, and how silly the family behaves when money gets involved. And how the bad luck seems to snowball. And how "therapy" sessions seem so futile.

The acting is superb - but I don't know of a movie where Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft have ever given us any less. Bancroft, in particular, when she makes the transition to anger, is perfect. Thankfully we're not handed any sop at the end either.

The subject is so realistic that I don't find it funny at all - but that's a failing of the times we live in, not the movie. A great flick.


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what a classic film....Jack Lemmon was great!!! eric_rosenberg7
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