Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
The Narrator Returns
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:35 pm

Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

#1 Post by The Narrator Returns » Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:23 pm


User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Passages

#2 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:48 pm

The Narrator Returns wrote:Gene Wilder
Variety's obit

Devastating. Wilder has been a favorite since I was very young, and saw Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (which remains my pick for best children's film of all time), and it was a joy to discover his other film work as I got older, even though I always felt that for whatever reason either he or Hollywood missed out on a resurgence later in his life - though it sounds like he was wholly uninterested in it at a certain point.

calculus entrophy
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2014 11:32 am

Re: Passages

#3 Post by calculus entrophy » Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:53 pm

My favorite story (if true), nicely sums up Gene Wilder:
SpoilerShow
In the early-1970s, when originally offered the lead role in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory by director Mel Stuart, the great Gene Wilder accepted on one condition:
"When I make my first entrance, I'd like to come out of the door carrying a cane and then walk toward the crowd with a limp. After the crowd sees Willy Wonka is a cripple, they all whisper to themselves and thethenn become deathly quiet. As I walk toward them, my cane sinks into one of the cobblestones I'm walking on and stands straight up, by itself; but I keep on walking, until I realize that I no longer have my cane. I start to fall forward, and just before I hit the ground, I do a beautiful forward somersault and bounce back up, to great applause."

Asked why, Wilder explained: "Because from that time on, no one will know if I'm lying or telling the truth."

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Passages

#4 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:02 pm

It's rare that someone was almost literally born to play a part, but I would see to it that Wilder's portrayal of Wonka is sitting far atop that list. That whole film, with its ambiguous setting and inventive casting, feels like it landed in a capsule sent from another planet - and Wilder is the perfect centerpiece.

User avatar
Drucker
Your Future our Drucker
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am

Re: Passages

#5 Post by Drucker » Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:10 pm

What was the impact Wonka the film had on the book? By the time I was a child in the 1990s, Dahl's books were a centerpiece of Elementary School reading. Was that the case already at the time of the film's making?

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Passages

#6 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:16 pm

I would take the fact that the book didn't begin receiving notable awards and accolades until 1972 as evidence that the film had a huge impact on its popularity.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Passages

#7 Post by domino harvey » Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:19 pm

Dahl was a popular adult author long before his kids' books took off, I wouldn't be surprised if it took parents a while to warm to the idea of letting their children read something he wrote

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

#8 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:29 pm

My Uncle Oswald is one of the great unfilmable [extremely adult] novels

User avatar
bearcuborg
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 2:30 am
Location: Philadelphia via Chicago

Re: Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

#9 Post by bearcuborg » Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:39 pm

The Woman in Red is one of the very best comedies of the 80's, with one of the very best soundtracks. Its handling of a gay character had a wonderful affect on me being without prejudice from early on in life.

I saw him in person many years ago at a speaking engagement- and some kid asked him:

"Would you come on my podcast?"

after a smirk and some thought, Wilder replied:

"Would I come on your WHAT?"

He's one of those guys you see in person and think, "he sounds just like Gene Wilder!"

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

#10 Post by MichaelB » Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:45 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:My Uncle Oswald is one of the great unfilmable [extremely adult] novels
I don't see why it wouldn't be filmable. Although admittedly I haven't read it in at least three decades.

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

#11 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:54 pm

You'd need to cast actors to play dozens of historical figures having sex in outlandish situations, something tells me there'd be some kind of conflict there with a handful of estates, but perhaps I'm wrong there. Not sure what the statute of limitations is on someone's likeness.

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

#12 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Aug 29, 2016 5:03 pm

Image

Image

User avatar
FrauBlucher
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:28 pm
Location: Greenwich Village

Re: Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

#13 Post by FrauBlucher » Mon Aug 29, 2016 5:12 pm

As you can tell from my forum name, I'm a huge Young Frankenstein fan. Yeah, Mel Brooks directed it and gets a ton of credit but Wilder wrote it and is as much his towering achievement as it is Brooks'. RIP Gene Wilder

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

#14 Post by knives » Mon Aug 29, 2016 6:33 pm

While it's not his biggest role I think the one that encapsulates his popular personality is as the fox in The Little Prince. There'a pathetic goodness and sweetness that seems untrustworthy because of how sincere it is. Also his role in Bonnie and Clyde is simply hilarious.

User avatar
britcom68
Joined: Sat May 26, 2012 7:53 am

Re: Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

#15 Post by britcom68 » Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:10 pm

This past Saturday it was Cloris Leachman Day here in Des Moines, Iowa (her hometown). I was lucky enough to get to see her in person at our State Historic Society building where she gave an hour-long talk and QA. One of the attendees asked her about working with Mel Brooks and she said it was better working with Gene Wilder than Brooks since Wilder would constantly be laughing at her performance. Interestingly she said that the only line reading direction that Mel Brooks ever gave her in "Young Frankenstein" was putting the emphasis on "can" in the line, "the staircase can be treacherous."

sherlockjr
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 8:34 pm
Location: Mississippi

Re: Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

#16 Post by sherlockjr » Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:08 pm

I can't keep thinking of him in a certain jail . . . with a chess piece in his hand. That look on his face!

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

#17 Post by MichaelB » Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:11 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:You'd need to cast actors to play dozens of historical figures having sex in outlandish situations, something tells me there'd be some kind of conflict there with a handful of estates, but perhaps I'm wrong there. Not sure what the statute of limitations is on someone's likeness.
You can't libel the dead, so I don't imagine that would be a problem at all. Ken Russell's Dance of the Seven Veils only ran into difficulties because of the extensive use of Richard Strauss's music - if that hadn't been the issue, the Strauss estate wouldn't have been able to do anything except seethe.

User avatar
ando
Bringing Out El Duende
Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2004 6:53 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

#18 Post by ando » Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:33 pm

R.I.P. Always liked Wilder. Not a fan of Wonka. Young Frankenstein and the romps with Pryor are my faves. Revisiting YF tonight.

User avatar
Never Cursed
Such is life on board the Redoutable
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 12:22 am

Re: Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

#19 Post by Never Cursed » Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:21 am

When I was but 5 years old, my dad and I used to sneak VHS tapes of raunchy (for the time) movies late at night. I first saw Young Frankenstein on my birthday, and Blazing Saddles not long afterwards. He was so young in those movies, it's unbelievable to think that he died.

Seeing this news makes me feel old, even though I'm probably one of the younger members here. Rest in peace.

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

#20 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 3:22 am

From TCM on The Producers wrote:Max Bialystock: What's the matter with you?
Leo Bloom: I'm hysterical! I'm having hysterics! I'm hysterical! I can't stop when I get like this. I can't stop. I'm hysterical. Oh my god. Ah-la-la-la.
Leo Bloom :... I'm wet! I'm wet! I'm hysterical and I'm wet!
Leo Bloom: ...I'm in pain! I'm in pain, and I'm wet!... and I'm still hysterical!
He was a wonderful presence in all the films I've seen him in. Sometimes I wished he had done more dramatic roles as with his small role in Bonnie and Clyde. But his comedic roles always felt taken as seriously as any drama or thriller, and that's what makes his roles in The Producers or Blazing Saddles so great, let alone his mercurial Willy Wonka! I'd add to the praise for his wonderful team ups with Richard Pryor - Silver Streak is my favourite but even See No Evil, Hear No Evil has its moments of fun down to their playing against each other, and really is a pure vehicle for their odd couple banter.

And also the pairings of Wilder with his wife Gilda Radner in The Woman In Red, Hanky Panky and finally Haunted Honeymoon stood as a wonderful tribute to both of them.

EDIT: (And of course The Producers is weirdly anticipatory of Inglourious Basterds!)
Last edited by colinr0380 on Sun Sep 11, 2016 8:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Polybius
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:57 pm
Location: Rollin' down Highway 41

Re: Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

#21 Post by Polybius » Tue Aug 30, 2016 4:57 am

Thinking about him earlier today it occurred to me that the first film I saw him in was almost certainly Start The Revolution Without Me, which greatly appealed to my sense of humor then (I was around 5) but still holds up well (at least for me) since I'm now much more familiar with all of the events and novels it was furiously parodying.

As for Wonka, I can truthfully attest to it's Must See status in it's network showings among elementary school kids in the mid-'70's. It was always a main topic of conversation for a week afterward.

User avatar
Roger Ryan
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:04 pm
Location: A Midland town spread and darkened into a city

Re: Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

#22 Post by Roger Ryan » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:49 am

Robert Aldrich's The Frisco Kid (1979) is really just a standard "fish-out-of-water" effort, but Wilder's lead performance transforms it into the one of the best "fish-out-of-water" films, enough so that I saw it twice the summer it was released. Wilder's combination of eccentricity and sweetness seemed completely unique to him; only Harpo Marx came close, but Wilder had that wonderful voice to charm as well.

calculus entrophy
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2014 11:32 am

Re: Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

#23 Post by calculus entrophy » Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:56 am

Also worth mentioning is The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Smarter Brother
SpoilerShow
Wilder was having lunch with producer Roth when it was suggested that Wilder spoof Sherlock Holmes.

...I said I had - every other week for a year. But I couldn't see making fun of such a well-loved character in a 140 minute movie.

Roth approached Wilder again a week later and inquired if Wilder had given anymore thought to the idea of a Sherlock Holmes film. Wilder replied "No, but I have given a great deal of thought to Sherlock's insanely jealous brother Sigi."

User avatar
Lemmy Caution
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:26 am
Location: East of Shanghai

Re: Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

#24 Post by Lemmy Caution » Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:45 am

Blazing Saddles was the first rated R movie I ever saw.
I was 9. My grandfather took me.
I have no idea why it was rated R.

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

#25 Post by zedz » Tue Aug 30, 2016 4:33 pm

Lemmy Caution wrote:Blazing Saddles was the first rated R movie I ever saw.
I was 9. My grandfather took me.
I have no idea why it was rated R.
Children shouldn't know about farts until they're 18.

Post Reply