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4.6 out of 5 stars
Silver Streak
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63 of 67 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
This movie is one I can watch over and over again. While Gene Wilder's cluelessness may seem to wear a little thin in places, the chemistry between the characters works. Admittedly when Richard Pryor appears the movie goes from humorous to hilarious, but in the meantime the Hitchcockian flavor will keep most viewers entertained.

Gene Wilder is a book editor travelling by train from Los Angeles to Chicago. Jill Clayburgh is a professor's assistant. During a romantic interval in Jill's compartment Gene see's a man killed. Of course the man is the professor. Let the fun begin.

Gene Wilder is a perfect straight man for this movie. He is clearly intelligent, but unused to crime and guns. His bravado is likely that of a typical suburbanite, and while we laugh at his actions, we also identify with his character.

Other stars make this movie an absolute joy to watch over and over. Richard Kiel of James Bond "Jaws" fame makes another silent appearance. Ray Walston is a sleazy hood. Clifton James, another James Bond movie character, also makes an appearance about the same time as Richard Pryor. Ned Beatty plays a government agent and Scatman Crothers plays a conductor. An all-star cast of characters actors in somewhat stereotypical roles, but they are so instantly recognizable that their appearance is enjoyable.

The train is a center piece of the movie, and the most important action scenes take place on or around the train. Train buffs who also enjoy comedies will find this movie to be fascinating. The end of the movie is particularly spectacular and intense as we wonder whether Jill, Richard, Gene and Scatman are going to survive to the end.

This movie was nearly an instant classic when it was released. Light comedy and very good entertainment, this movie is worth having on DVD.
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
More than a quarter of a century has passed between the release of this movie and my review. It looks current, exciting, and brand new. I highly recommend it. The pace is great, the suspense is ubiquitous, but not overblown (as it tends to be in so many contemporary movies), and the comedy is fantastic. I believe this is one of the best comedies of the last thirty years.
Gene Wilder displays more energy in this one than Richard Pryor. He is still quite young here and runs all over the place, being thrown off the train and all. But when Pryor shows up, the overall tempo of the movie picks up somehow, and we move from the middle to the conclusion so quickly that one can hardly stop to catch his breath.
The train wreck conclusion was nicely done. Somebody mentioned that this was the forerunner of Speed, and I think that is right one the mark. Nice comedy/suspense that made me feel a litte better after I watched it. I have not taken a train since I don't know when. In Southern California, the car is king. This movie made me almost nostalgic about the place I grew up--in a universe far away--where people used trains all the time, and I was among them.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Of all of the collaborations between Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor, this one is my favorite. The characters are well drawn, the plot is balanced nicely between the elements of romance, adventure and mystery, plus the dialogue sparkles wittily.
The story is about a man who decides to combine a business trip with a little bit of relaxation, by taking the train from Los Angeles to Chicago. Along the way, he is involved with a beautiful woman, murder, a loveable thief and slate of "bad guys" well worthy of black hats.
The film is a charming diversion from the world; one that can be enjoyed by most of the family. It is a must have, either as a family film (for kids over 13) or a "date" movie. If you like to laugh, then add Silver Streak to your collection.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2000
Format: VHS TapeVerified Purchase
SILVER STREAK needs to come out in a restored letterboxed DVD (adding the reminiscences of the stars on an alternative track would be great - but seems unlikely given Gene Wilder's and Richard Pryor's health concerns). Sitting down to watch this movie is like embarking on a weekend holiday with a group of terrific friends. You feel the excitement as you step on the train with Gene Wilder's character, and you're off! For anyone nostalgic for the 70's, this has the clothes, the cheesy decor, the innocent sense that saying "dirty words" was naughty and funny, and of course it has Pryor and Wilder -- two of the decade's greatest icons. Wilder in his prime here projects a sweetness and grace that is one-of-a-kind, and so endearing. Pryor is at the height of his hilarious talent and skill. Their pairing produced magic. Fine direction from Arthur Hiller following a warm-hearted script by Colin Higgins.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2005
Format: DVD
I've waited for this title on DVD ever since the format arrived. Even though the disc is essentially bare-bones (although the original theatrical trailer is included), you do get an anamorphic widescreen transfer--I've never seen the movie look this good. For the price, not a bad deal. I'm not sure what the other reviewer meant about the DVD being too dark; the colors and brightness look just fine to me. As to the movie itself, I always thought it was best described as a screwball comedy on rails. Only drawback (for some) might be that a lot of the comedy was probably unintentional! If you're a train freak like me, you know you have to have it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: Blu-ray
'Silver Streak' from 1976 is a film that can be enjoyed more than once as fans of the film have discovered over the years. It has very good "watchability" and why not? It's a classic and introduces audiences to the well matched and very popular comedy team of Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. Add Jill Clayburgh , Ned Beatty, Scatman Crothers, Ray Walston and the always superb Patrick McGoohan and you have some great moments. This movie functions equally as well as part adventure/drama and part romance with LOADS of comedy interspersed among them both.

Even the bit parts are played by total pros including Richard Kiel and J.W. Pepper himself, Clifton James. The music by the great Henry Mancini perfectly fits the action and mood onscreen. Everything from Art Direction to Focus Pulling is done well and director Arthur Hiller takes a great script and runs with it all the way into film history. Yep, I like it a LOT!!

With that said, this review is going to focus on the video and audio quality of this Blu ray presentation and not the film itself.

The four BEST things I can say about this transfer are:

1- NO visible Noise Reduction was used

2- This movie was photographed well with good focus pulling

3- You get the Original Aspect Ratio which in this case leaves small black bars at the top and bottom of your screen, should you be using your TV's version of"Just Scan" mode w/ 1:1 pixel mapping ..

4- The color timing looks right and shines thru a slightly dull and faded print..

The Video just doesn't impress me here, but it is not really that bad. You do get a LOT of mosquito noise on large portions of blue sky or light colors, but not all the time. Blacks get crushed along with detail in darker scenes. There is print damage which shows itself as white speckles and vertical lines (scratches on the print) .. I would give it a score of 3 ¾ out of 5 stars. Occasionally the image WILL impress you, but then revert back to a lesser looking resolution.

I was watching with a critical eye and once I relaxed to enjoy the film I almost didn't notice most of the deficiencies in this transfer. I am quite sure the transfer itself was done properly, but the source had not been prepared or restored in any way so you are basically getting a nice rendering of a worn print.

Honestly, unless you are really picky you will probably find the picture quality very acceptable. It is along the lines of the BD release of Sixteen Candles for image clarity.

How about the audio? You get one option, a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix. Honestly most everything is centered but it is nice to have increased fidelity. At times you may think your audio is out of sync, but that is only due to many scenes that were "looped" after the fact and the actors didn't perfectly match their mouths when rerecording the dialogue. You can hear dialogue fine and the music is ok too. It is nothing to write home about, but it isn't offensive in any way.

There are no extras to review here. You don't even get a disc menu or chapter list. You can skip chapters but that's about it. The movie will continue to play in a loop if you do not stop it when you are done watching. It is notable to say there is NO FBI warning of any kind when the disc loads and NO JAVA programming so your disc resume feature will function!

If you love this film or are fans of the stars, this purchase is really a no brainer. This is the best Silver Streak has ever looked on home video or likely to unless a new scan is done. I enjoyed it and have zero buyers remorse.

Highly Recommended by me, Marty G!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 20, 2005
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Richard Pryor, along with George Carlin, undeniably one of the greatest standup comedians of all time, had a much more spotty film career. Pryor was wasted in garbage like The Toy, Brewster's Millions and Superman III -- films that wasted his complex personality. In his best work, Pryor could somehow be edgy, profane, angry, sympathetic and sweet at the same time. Eddie Murphy crafted a much more successful film career overall, but he has never been able to project the combination of attitude and vulnerability Pryor was able to embody.

Silver Steak definitely is one of his best films -- his first and most successful pairing with Gene Wilder. Wilder plays a book editor who is falsely accused of murder onboard the Silver Streak, a luxury train traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago. The first half of the film is a Hitchcockian mystery with Wilder romancing Jill Clayburgh, tangling with villainous art dealer Patrick McGoohan and being chased by the law.

Suddenly, Pryor enters the film as a fugitive thief and the film immediately becomes a great buddy movie. Instead of the nebbish whimp Pryor was forced to play in too many of his films, Director Arthur Hiller trusts Pryor enough to let him project his own personality -- smart, sharp, funny, clever and, best of all, nobody's fool. But unlike Eddie Murphy, who always has to have the screen to himself, Pryor works with Wilder instead of trying to shove him into the background. The movie immediately becomes ten times as funny as the two interact as well as some of the great comedy teams of the past. In one hilarious scence, Pryor must try to teach Wilder to "be black" in order to slip past a police checkpoint. It's no wonder the duo were paired three more times after this.

However, my favorite moment in the film comes at a more quiet moment. After jumping from the Silver Streak, Wilder and Pryor manage to convince the law that Wilder is innocent of murder. Pryor stays behind while the FBI and Wilder go after McGoohan and his henchman on the Silver Streak. As Wilder leaves, Pryor, displaying obvious affection and friendship for Wilder, very softly tells him to take care of himself and "stay loose." There is a gentleness to Pryor's delivery of these lines that gives added depth to his character. Instead of a one-dimensional, fast-talking crook, Pryor has created a flesh and blood character with whom the audience identifies and sympathizes with. It's too bad more writers and directors didn't let Pryor be himself.

Richard Pryor was a groundbreaking, revolutionary comedian whose potential on screen was never fully realized. Silver Streak is one of a handful of films that show the depth of acting talent Pryor possessed. It encapsulates all that was best about Richard Pryor and all that we'll miss now that he is gone.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Watching the 1976 comedy/action/mystery "Silver Streak" today will undoubtedly remind viewers of numerous other films. A big box office hit, this was one of the first films to mix multiple packaged elements for mass consumption. The blockbuster mentality, which began with the huge 1975 success of "Jaws" and dominates Hollywood to this day, was still in its early stages. In many ways, "Silver Streak" was a forerunner to this trend.
Screenplay writer Colin Higgins (who would write/direct the similar "Foul Play" the following year) has done an expert job in blending comedy, Hitchcock-like suspense, romance and action into a smooth package. If the concluding action is a bit unbelieveable (FBI agents and Gene Wilder are firing guns haphazardly in an effort to kill the villain, leaving quite a few innocent people dead or wounded), the story leading up to the final conflict is so good as to overcome it.
Gene Wilder, one of the great comedic actors in screen history, is in top form as a recently divorced man who takes the train for a few days of rest and relaxation. In the span of one evening, he makes a friend, meets the love of his life and becomes embroiled in a mystery involving art scams and murder. Oh yes, along the way he gets thrown off the Silver Streak a few times, eventually recruiting a street-wise ally played by Richard Pryor.
It's a great non-stop train ride that doesn't let up until the final moments. "Silver Streak" is such a notable film for several reasons. It was the first (and best) teaming of Wilder and Pryor and, most importantly, it was the film that made Pryor a star. In a supporting role, Pryor practically steals the show. I love the memorable scene in the bathroom when Pryor tries to teach Wilder how to be a black man. Ironically, Pryor is the straight man during this legendary moment, but his reactions are hilarious.
"Silver Streak" is also boosted by the terrific chemistry between Wilder and Jill Clayburgh. Their romance/seduction scenes early in this film are very sexy. They make an appealing couple as they dine on exquisite cuisine and sip champagne, the beautiful scenery of the countryside passing by their window.
Watching "Silver Streak" today, one can't help but feel sad twinges of nostalgia. Wilder has rarely worked since the death of his wife Gilda Radner. Pryor, due to health reasons, is also retired. And so in many ways, we are left with this enjoyable film that showcases two brilliant comedic talents at the height of their form. "Silver Streak" brings a smile to my face everytime I watch it. I thank Wilder and Pryor for that.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2006
Format: DVD
Talk about a winning combination of humour & romance spiced up with a pinch of violence and derring-do. Gene Wilder gets lucky ridin' the Silver Streak train (with the rather charming Jill Clayburgh [what happened to her?? woulda liked to see her in some other films... ]). Enter Richard Pryor, stage [back seat]. Wilder as 'Mr Normal' and Pryor, a thief of dubious reliability make for a truly amusin' comic duo. One really funny 'leitmotif' throughout the film is how George Caldwell (Mr. Wilder's character) keeps gettin' tossed off the train... and everytime he does, he's astonished and damned pissed off (usually shouting, "Son of a bitch!").

Have to mention the delicious soundtrack by Mr. Henry Mancini (the Master, himself) - there's the theme, a broad, sweeping all-violins melodic arc (first played as the train pulls out of L.A. at the beginning of the movie) - AND... watch for the scene in George's and Hilly's [Ms. Clayburgh's character] suite when they first get together - the slow track playing 'on the radio' is pure 70's romance - subtle, easy-listening like and (I feel) kinda makes ya wanna shed a tear - such vulnerable music.

If you haven't seen it, do so.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2004
Format: DVD
Silver Streak is the greatest comedy ever. Gene Wilder is George. George is on his way to Chicago by train from L.A. On his way he falls in love with Hilly played by the beautiful Jill Clayburgh. While on the train George witnesses a murder which leads to trouble for George who is thrown of the train by the actual murderurs. While George is off the train he meets Grover played by the comic genuis Richard Pryor. This is when the movie realy gets good. I will stop there not to give to much away. I have waited a long time for Silver Streak to be released on DVD. I hope you will enjoy the movie as much as I have.
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