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I saw this film in the cinema as a teenager when it came out. It was sold, I think, as a Hitchcock parody and I thought parodies were great. Gene Wilder was the star, that was one more reason for me to see it, as I had greatly enjoyed his performance in Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein. Stuff like that attracted me much more than movies with Robert Redford or Charles Bronson who then were the big male heroes of the screen.
Now, a good 30 years later, I watched Silver Streak a second time. It is an unusual mixture of comedy, action thriller and disaster movie. Characters like the ones played by Wilder, Clayburgh or Pryor seem to have become extinct in the movies, I mean. They just seem to be so ... ordinary and normal and also kind hearted. Everything about Silver Streak is so unpretentious, seeing it today that really was a kind of a revelation to me.
A lot of the movie deals with masculinity and the assertion of it. It all happens in a very relaxed manner. Nothing and nobody is taken too seriously, conquests are made without effort, failure is accepted with grace. In a strange way, this movie really represents a better, unattainable world. I doubt if someone like Gene Wilder wold make it as a movie star today the public, it seems, needs the grimaces of Jim Carrey to be amused. Pity.
Come to think of it, in France they had a movie comedian who looked very similar to Wilder. His name was Pierre Richard and his fame reached its zenith at about the same time as Wilder's before fizzling out somewhere in the eighties, when the Stallones and Schwarzeneggers took over.
Silver Streak is an entertaining and in a positive way - forgettable movie. It has a pleasant musical score by Henry Mancini, this great eclecticist of the 20th century. The older I'm getting the more I enjoy his music and respect his enormous body of work.
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