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This documentary is essentially an extended interview with Gene Wilder.
Alec Baldwin is the interviewer. But because both of these men have had
long and varied show business careers, it's more like a filmed
It's fascinating to hear Wilder comment on the many films he's been in. In fact, seeing this documentary is a reminder of just how many great films he's done. If you're someone who has long admired The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex, etcetera, you'll enjoy hearing Wilder's inside take on these projects.
GENE WILDER gets to talk with ALEC BALDWIN about a lot of things,
mostly to do with how he got his start in show biz, how he trained for
eighteen years to become an actor, and the ups and downs of a busy
career--and finally, why he's happy now in Connecticut, married and
living far away from the lure of show biz (a business he doesn't like).
Interesting to note that he studied with Lee Strassberg and Elia Kazan, who was largely responsible for getting him into Actor's Studio, that YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN required four drafts before they got it right (with lots of help from Mel Brooks), that acting and directing at the same time is almost impossible, that he replaced an ailing Gig Young at the last moment for BLAZING SADDLES, and that he got along fine with Richard Pryor unless Pryor was doing his drugs.
He gives lots of praise to fellow co-stars like LEE J. COBB, MADELINE KAHN (she could do anything, comic or dramatic), and ZERO MOSTEL with whom he made one of his biggest hits, THE PRODUCERS (which was called "Springtime for Hitler" during shooting). It wasn't a big hit on first release but has since become a cult classic.
Wilder admits that like most actors, he's a bit "crazy", and he examines the shy, timid side of his personality as well as the "take over, in charge" kind of guy that emerges sometimes on screen. What I didn't realize was that he wrote several of his most popular screen hits, including SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL, THE WOMAN IN RED, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN and THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES' SMARTER BROTHER.
Covering quite a bit of ground, it's a must for any fan of Gene Wilder.
Role Model: Gene Wilder (2008)
*** (out of 4)
Turner Classic Movies production has Adam Baldwin sitting down with movie legend Gene Wilder for a candid interview that covers WIlder's early career, hit movies and then his retirement from the screen. Over the years I can't recall the number of people who would ask me if Wilder was dead or not and it seems if he has been since he rarely does any interviews. I can't remember the last time I saw him doing anything so it's a great treat getting to see him here. His walk is a little slower but overall his is in great spirit throughout the film and still has that wonderful timing when telling his stories. We get to hear about his work on Bonnie and Clyde as well as his golden period with Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles. Baldwin eventually asks him about love and talk turns to Gilda Radner and Wilder comes off with some shocking things to say. There's also talk about Richard Pryor and the two men's relationship, which was nice to hear. Baldwin does a good job asking all the right questions but I think the film runs a tad bit too short (around 60-minutes) to cover everything as there are several films that are never mentioned.
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