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.
...and you think you've got problems.
Did You Know?
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
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
We've been robbed.
What do you mean, "robbed"?
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!
Uh, I don't understand... You mean someone walked in here and robbed us?
What do you think, they called up and made an appointment? We've been ROBBED!
Referenced in Harry O: Street Games