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Netflix Pick: Riding the Rails in ‘Silver Streak’ (1976)

Today's pick is an outstanding comedy/adventure starring Gene Wilder.

Silver Streak is a 1976 comedy/drama about a man on a long distance trip who finds romance but also himself in danger of being killed, or at least pushed off the train.

Today’s Netflix Pick is an especially fun action adventure story that takes place on a train, an admittedly not so original setting, but one done with great effect. Starring Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor, the movie is a fast-paced comedy that has plenty of romance and thrills as well, making this a great time at the movies. It’s Silver Streak and it’s what you’re watching tonight. Here’s why.

Silver Streak
Silver Streak, 1976 © Frank Yablans Presentations

THE STORY: Directed by Arthur Hiller, the film follows George Caldwell (Wilder), a book editor traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago to attend his sister’s wedding, booked on the Silver Streak, a sleeper train where he is hoping to do some work. His cabin has an adjoining room he discovers when he inadvertently opens the jammed door and walks in on a woman undressing. Her name is Hilly Burns (Jill Clayburgh), and the two are instantly attracted. The two meet up later in the diner car, and he learns that she works for art an historian on a tour to promote his latest book about famed painter Rembrandt. But there’s something fishy going on with him and soon enough, George is wrapped up in some trouble and gets tossed off the moving train by some baddies. He soon hooks up with a thief named Grover (Pryor) and the two team up to save the save the day. Or at least try.

Silver Streak
Silver Streak, 1976 © Frank Yablans Presentations

WHY YOU NEED TO WATCH: Silver Streak is one of those classic movies you can just turn on and watch over and over and always feel good about it. The dynamic between Pryor and Wilder, a team that worked often together, is so sharp and funny, it’s nearly impossible not to watch them, and while this film, their first together, is less a comedy than it is a drama, they have plenty of good moments. And it’s the drama that is really the key here as the film ramps up the tension with some high-energy action in the second half. If you’re looking for a fun classic that holds up as one of the best train movies ever made, this is the one. It’s streaming on Netflix right now.

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