6.8/10
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44 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

According to the Jack Lemmon's biography "Lemmon" by Don Widener, actress Anne Bancroft recounted this episode from the film's shooting: "[Jack was] nice to a point where he's crazy...We had a scene in 'Prisoner [of Second Avenue'] where he had to carry a shovel in - a very close two-shot favoring me. I played the scene with tears in my eyes because Jack had accidentally hit me in the shin with that shovel. The director saw something was wrong so he stopped everything. I had a big bump on my leg, but it was Friday and over the weekend I fixed it up. When we came back on Monday the first scene was a retake of the shovel thing. Well, Jack brought the shovel in and I anticipated getting hit again. He's so full of energy, you're sure he's not noticing; but he never touched me. The take was fine, but Jack limped away. To avoid hurting me, he had cut himself. He was bleeding and we had to bandage his leg; his wound was much worse than mine. He is so kind he hurt himself rather than injure someone else. That's a little crazy! It's the nicest crazy I know, and I know a lot of crazy people." See more »

Goofs

When the elevator is broken and Edna (Anne Bancroft) is walking up the 14 flights, the two grocery bags she's carrying change arms. The boxes of baggies and crackers are in the bag in her right arm in the lobby, switch to her left arm when she starts up the stairs, and are back in her right arm mid-climb. See more »

Quotes

Edna: We've been robbed.
Mel: What do you mean, "robbed"?
Edna: Robbed. Robbed! What does "rob" mean? They come in, they take things out. You had 'em, now they got 'em. They used to be yours, now they're theirs. We've been robbed!
Mel: Uh, I don't understand... You mean someone walked in here and robbed us?
Edna: What do you think, they called up and made an appointment? We've been ROBBED!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Harry O: Street Games (1975) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Jack Lemmon= Awesome!
1 September 2008 | by michael_the_nermalSee all my reviews

After giving a positive review of the (apparently) universally-maligned "Disaster Movie", I thought it'd be nice to give another positive review of a comedy that, unlike the one I've mentioned, is very-well written and stars the cream of the Broadway crop. Jack Lemmon is excellent as the neurotic and ambiguously-crazy apartment dweller, harried as he is by noisy neighbors, chronic unemployment, and Sylvester Stallone bumping into him at the park. Neil Simon is a maestro of dark comedies about harried New Yorkers ("Biloxi Blues" with Matthew Broderick is another excellent example). In spite of Simon's cool dialogue and ability to make brilliant observations about minor events (such as a ransacked apartment), this movie would not be superb without Lemmon's proficient performance. Anne Bancroft seems like the perfect foil for Lemmon to play off against, and she fulfills that roll beautifully. Lemmon shows he as just as brilliant with comedy as he is drama (i.e. "The China Syndrome"), and this movie is just another example of why he was an underrated Hollywood legend.

P.S. Pay close attention to the one-liners disguised as news reports in the voice-overs by Gary Owens.


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