Thursday, January 20, 2011
GENE WILDER: FUNNY AND SAD
GENE WILDER: FUNNY AND SAD. Brian Scott Mednick. BearManor Media; 2010.
Gene Wilder had a small but interesting role in Bonnie and Clyde and really came to prominence when he appeared in the original film version of The Producers. He quickly developed his own quirky appeal that was seen to great advantage in such films as The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes Smarter Brother, Young Frankenstein, The Frisco Kid, and many others. Mednick has written an extremely entertaining and very readable bio of the actor, one which is clearly admiring but not sycophantic. As the author notes, Wilder is a very private man, but Mednick manages to etch a three-dimensional portrait of him in spite of it. We learn about his career highs and lows, his marriages [including a well-known union to Gilda Radnor that was not without its problems], and some of his attitudes towards his films and co-workers. Mednick makes clear that Wilder has had a more interesting and varied career than people may realize.
Verdict: Highly recommended for Wilder fans. ***.