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The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975)

 -  Comedy  -  5 May 1975 (Sweden)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 1,788 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 11 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
...
Man Upstairs
Gene Blakely ...
Charlie
Ivor Francis ...
Psychiatrist
Stack Pierce ...
Detective
Patricia Marshall ...
Woman Upstairs
Dee Carroll ...
Helen
Ketty Lester ...
Unemployment Clerk
...
Doorman
...
Taxi Driver
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Storyline

The story of Mel and Edna ('Jack Lemmon (I)' 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

The "Prisoner of Second Avenue" play was inspired by real life events relating to one of writer Neil Simon's relatives, his then wife's uncle. The man was a businessman who wanted to set-up his own little newspaper in a small town. The venture failed, the uncle went bankrupt and had a nervous breakdown. 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: The vice president in charge of my department used the same paper clip for six months. *Nobody* ever came to work late anymore. They were all afraid if you didn't show up, somebody'd sell your desk!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Magic Time: A Tribute to Jack Lemmon (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Where you gonna get the watah???"
1 February 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

That moment of Anne Bancroft's is my favorite part of the entire film, often imitated where I used to work.

No one loves urban blight like Neil Simon, and no one depicts it as well. "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" goes much further than "The Out of Towners" because now, the leads (Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft) are actually living in a New York apartment, sleeping in 12 degree air conditioning in their bedroom during a heat wave and sweating everywhere else. Simon leaves nothing out: not having the right change for the bus, the elevator being out, no water, noisy neighbors, mean neighbors, a cheaply put together building, robberies in broad daylight, etc. Lemmon plays a 22-year veteran of a business who is fired, suffers a nervous breakdown, and goes into psychiatric care. His problems go beyond the loss of his job - he has to cope with his country dwelling brother Harry (Gene Saks) and his two sisters (Elizabeth Wilson and Florence Stanley) who want to help but only succeed in being aggravating. Also, his wife has gone back to work as a production assistant and is never home.

This is really a comedy-drama that shows the enormous range of both actors. The beautiful Bancroft is great as an empty nester who tries to be supportive of her husband, who is losing it, as she goes toward the same territory; Lemmon is alternatively a riot, as annoying as Felix Unger, and as sad as his character in "Save the Tiger" while he attempts to work through his issues and find out who he is.

With a high rise at Second Avenue and E. 88th St. as a backdrop, "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" is timely today because it takes place during a recession. Suddenly, a lifestyle that wasn't so outrageous to begin with is hard to keep up, and nerves fray.

City dwellers won't find it difficult to relate to this film, and today, with jobs cuts and loss of income, nobody will. Lots of fun.


5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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