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
During pre-production, writer Neil Simon flew from New York to Hollywood to attend rehearsals to do any necessary rewrites as requested by director Melvin Frank due to the dark tone of the work, a black comedy. However, after a time, Simon became sick in LA and had to fly back home instructing Frank to "make any changes in the script as he saw fit". See more »
The apartment building's supposed address, 385 East 88th Street, is actually nearer to First Avenue than to Second. See more »
Being a Jack Lemmon fan, I can't help but be biased when it comes to watching his films. But I have to say, even by Lemmon's standards, "Prisoner" is one of his finest performances. He displays a broad range of emotion as Mel Edison, a corporate exec who falls victim to the unemployment crisis of the seventies. Anne Bancroft is nicely cast as his wife, Edna--it's almost hard to believe watching this film that this is the same woman who played in "G.I. Jane" as a crooked senator. And, although another viewer here frowned upon the casting of Gene Saks' as Mel's brother Harry, I always enjoy seeing the director in front of the camera (Saks directed another of my faves, "The Odd Couple"). The direction is pretty tight, and the interludes between acts include humorous voice-overs from a fictional radio announcer (you'll have to listen closely to catch some of the jokes). Look for Sylvester Stallone in a cameo appearance. I heartily recommend this film to all Jack Lemmon fans, as well as to those who enjoy a good comedy that's not all slapstick and guffaws.
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