6.8/10
2,654
46 user 17 critic

The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975)

PG | | Comedy | 5 May 1975 (Sweden)
A suddenly-unemployed executive suffers a nervous breakdown.

Director:

Melvin Frank

Writers:

Neil Simon (play), Neil Simon (screenplay)
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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:
Jack Lemmon ... Mel Edison
Anne Bancroft ... Edna Edison
Gene Saks ... Harry Edison
Elizabeth Wilson ... Pauline
Florence Stanley ... Pearl
Maxine Stuart ... Belle
Ed Peck ... Man Upstairs
Gene Blakely Gene Blakely ... Charlie
Ivor Francis ... Psychiatrist
Stack Pierce Stack Pierce ... Detective
Patricia Marshall Patricia Marshall ... Woman Upstairs
Dee Carroll Dee Carroll ... Helen
Ketty Lester Ketty Lester ... Unemployment Clerk
M. Emmet Walsh ... Joe - Doorman
F. Murray Abraham ... 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:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 May 1975 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

A Második utca foglyai See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Vincent Gardenia won the 1972 Tony Award (New York City) for Supporting or Features Actor in a Drama for "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" for the role of Harry Edison. Gardenia though did not play the part in the film which featured Gene Saks in the role. 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

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

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User Reviews

 
"Where you gonna get the watah???"
1 February 2009 | by blanche-2See 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.


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