This film is somewhat of a modern day classic, well for me anyway as it happens to contain one of the funniest duos to appear on the silver screen. The other reason I am writing this article is that the film is on TV at this moment in time! The two main stars of the film are Gene Wilder, and the late Richard Pryor.
The film follows the story of these two men, caught up in the most unfortunate misunderstandings, they both get framed for murder, well one of them does, and the other clumsily follows. The movie is the story of their fluke of runaway, unlikely escapes, and their friendship growing closer throughout. Something that I would have mentioned earlier; Wilder is deaf and can only read lips, and Pryor is as blind as a bat. One cannot explain the comedy genius which occurs when the two men turn up in prison to get their mug shots taken, let’s just say it involves a lot of “Could you tell him to look this way please?” and a good spattering of mis-read lips, especially regarding the word “ship”. The film follows the simple but effective line of murder, frame, chase and then the end, which of course is un-revealable. Other more subtle plot lines are touched on throughout his movie, like prejudice and segregation. Granted you have to look quite deep to see these, but they are there. There is a part in the film where Pryor says all Wilder has to do is act and they can make something of themselves. Wilder effectively comes up with the simple response of: no I can’t, and he reveals how people think he is a leper. Pryor in some places says he is only like how he is because of this blind-ness, and he would not have it any other way. People might have given this a film negative review but you cannot fault the actors for doing as well as they did with a frankly mediocre at best script. The actors do very well to portray somewhat complex characters without the best instruments at hand. The only reason this film did not fulfil its potential is due to the somewhat shoddy screenplay and “juvenile” jokes. But hey, I never claimed to be mature, and I liked the jokes, and they gave a simple easy laugh.
Watching the film back again, and paying more attention to the photography than I usually do, I noticed that there was no especially brilliant pieces of filming, but the lighting was good, and the special effects were as expected of a film of this calibre. The quality of the behind the scenes work, let me say it like this, in no places did I say, I can’t see what’s going on there, or this is quite inappropriate, but on the other hand, in no places did I say, wow these effects are spectacular and I did not expect this at all. No, it was average and passable. The point is though; I would not watch a film like this to inspect the deep character development, and spectacular special effects with technical brilliance. I watched it for a good laugh, and I think that is what the viewer should do as well.
I enjoyed this film very much and I would advise anyone to give it a try. If you are someone who is going to do the aforementioned pernickety inspections, then I do not think you are in the spirit of the movie. If you like an easy laugh, then watch this film!