Has the cold got you feeling down? You could be rolling in the aisles with laughter next week as Zagreb's Kino Kinoteka begins a showcase of Gene Wilder films taking place over two weekends. Gene Wilder was doubtlessly one of the funniest actors of his generation and alongside Richard Pryor, part of the greatest comedy double act to appear in the movies of the '70s and '80s.
Gene Wilder's first major film appearance was as Leopold Bloom in Mel Brooks hilarious 1967 film 'The Producers', a role which earned Wilder an Oscar nomination. It was the first in a series of collaborations with writer and director Mel Brooks, this working relationship almost as key to Wilder's legacy as his unforgettable partnerships with Richard Pryor.
The Kino Kinoteka retrospective begins on Thursday 20 December with the simply unmissable 'See No Evil, Hear No Evil' in which blind man Wally (Richard Pryor) and his deaf employee (Gene Wilder) are initially assumed to be responsible for a murder to which they are the only witnesses.
Mel Brooks parodies the horror genre in his 1974 classic 'Young Frankenstein'. The film, which shows at Kino Kinoteka on Friday 21 December, stars Wilder in the title role and was considered by Brooks to be his finest achievement as a director.
On Saturday 22 December, the 1974 cowboy comedy 'Blazing Saddles' is a knockout attack on racism by Mel Brooks. Apart from being downright hilarious, the film is notable as it was supposed to be the first on-screen partnership between Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder, with Pryor contributing significantly to the writing of the film. However, the financing studio refused to cast Pryor in the role, due to him having a drug conviction, and audiences would have to wait until 1976's 'Silver Streak' to see the duo debuting together.
On Thursday 27 December, Pryor and Wilder return in their second film, 'Stir Crazy'. Regarded by many to be their finest joint appearance, the film sees the hapless duo receive a 125-year prison sentence for a bank robbery they did not commit. Will the experience send the pair mentally over the edge?
On Friday 28 December, the final of the four films Pryor and Wilder jointly appeared in, 'Another You'. In the last film role he undertook before his death, Wilder plays a former mental patient and pathological liar who is deliberately mistaken for a millionaire brewery heir. Luckily, he develops a relationship with a conman played by Richard Pryor. Interestingly, the film was originally due to be directed by Petar Bogdanović who was born in New York the very same year in which his parents emigrated there from Zagreb.
Each of the movies begins at 8pm and has an entry price of 15 kuna.