Tag Archives: Gene Wilder

The Set of 400: #280 – My Favorite Shadow Horn

Today! Because I will not submit –

Rhinoceros (1974)

Directed by Tom O’Horgan

Starring Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder (x2), Karen Black, Joe Silver, Robert Weil, Marilyn Chris, Percy Rodrigues, Don Calfa (x2), Anne Ramsey

Just barely reaching our minimum requirements for inclusion on this list, Rhinoceros has virtually never been shown in a movie theater. It was produced as part of a brief early ’70s experiment called the American Film Theatre, wherein popular stage plays were adapted to film and had limited engagements at select theaters. It really was an idea ahead of its time, as Fathom Events does similar releases nowadays with operas and British theater offerings, but in ’74 it wasn’t exactly a monster hit concept.

Some of these productions have found minor success on home video, particularly Lee Marvin’s Iceman Cometh, and this ingenious re-teaming of 1968’s The Producers, with Zero recreating his Tony winning turn as Jean/John from the 1961 staging of the Ionesco play, and Wilder in the less flashy Stanley/Berenger role. It’s not a movie or play for everyone, with its wildly absurdist plot and heavy, talky scenes, but the novelty of there existing a Rhinoceros movie has always outweighed the inherent stagey-ness of the film for me.

Plus, Dick Nixon cameos!

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The Set of 400: #359 – My Favorite Blueberry Allergy

Today! Because the suspense is terrible – I hope it’ll last –

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Directed by Mel Stuart

Starring Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Roy Kinnear, Peter Ostrum, Leonard Stone, Nora Denney, Michael Bollner, Denise Nickerson, Paris Themmen, Julie Dawn Cole, Gunter Meisner

One of those movies you see again as an adult and wonder “Is this too scary for kids?” But you remember watching it as a kid and this never occurring to you. Really, it’s just the boat ride, the rest of the movie is fun musical weirdness. But man, that boat ride!

This movie is rated G??

On Gene Wilder’s death three years ago, I wrote that growing up he might’ve been the top movie star in my whole world, and almost exclusively because of films made previous to that present day. Along with Harrison Ford and…Kermit the Frog maybe? But it seemed like Gene Wilder movies were playing all the time in my house in the ’80s, and many of those will appear in this space in days to come. Continue reading

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