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The convincted odd couple

Retrospettiva: Black Light - Stir Crazy

The convincted odd couple

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© 1980 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.

It's time to make a definitive statement: Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor were one of the best comic duos ever. And they both were two of the greatest comedians ever to grace screen. Sidney Poitier's Stir Crazy was their second movie together (the first one was Silver Streak, a mystery comedy set on a train) and by far the best, and not only because of the incredibly funny comic sketches and the perfect alchemy between them. Stir Crazy is a subversive and political movie, and this is the very essence of comedy, facing reality with irreverence and disrespect. A buddy and prison movie, Poitier's joint is a bittersweet (more bitter than sweet) critic to the American penitentiary system. Robert Aldrich did the same a few years earlier with The Longest Yard and Stir Crazy has quite the same narrative structure, loaded with the incredible genius of these two crackerjacks. It's not by chance that both artists endured great sufferance during their lives. Pryor's mother was a prostitute and he was raised in the brothel where she used to work. He became drug addicted very early in his career and he consumed more cocaine than Tony Montana during the shooting of Stir Crazy. Wilder suffered a great loss years later when Gilda Radner, another great comedian and the love of his life, died of cancer. But Richard and Gene proved stronger, they both had the most powerful weapon: the ability to make people laugh. Stir Crazy is the very essence of this beautiful art.

Alessandro De Simone
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