Directed by: Arthur Hiller
Starring: Gene Wilder, Jill Clayburgh, Richard Pryor, Patrick McGoohan, Ray Walston
By the time Silver Streak was made in 1976, train-bound thrillers had all but disappeared from the movie scene (period films like Murder on the Orient Express to one side), so when this clever film came along it offered the illusion of being a bit of a novelty. Notable for teaming Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor, it’s actually a solid comedy-thriller from a well-crafted Colin Higgins (Harold and Maude) screenplay that afforded everyone involved something a little special. The plot revolves around a slightly meek fellow (Wilder) who finds romance (with Jill Clayburgh) and murder (courtesy of über bad guy Patrick McGoohan) on the train from L.A. to Chicago. Hitchcockian in nature, the film goes down very pleasantly with just the right mix of humor and suspense—and a Big Ending that plays quite nicely on the mid-1970s penchant for disaster movies.
Movie critic and historian Peter Loewer will present a series of films exploring the movies’ love affair with trains in Lord Auditorium at Pack Memorial Library. Each film plays at 6 p.m. The Narrow Margin, Monday, Nov. 5; Silver Streak, Tuesday, Nov. 6; The Fugitive, Wednesday, Nov. 7; Polar Express, Thursday, Nov. 8. Admission is free.