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Silver Streak Blu-ray Edition/Rated PG for violence, rude humor and seduction.

Many people face the experience of leaving one decade and entering another by celebrating. My 30th birthday has long come and gone, but what I did on my 30th, which was a Friday night, was attend a movie. Surprise, surprise.

Silver Streak premiered in December of 1976. I highly recommend that if you are turning 30 this film can make your birthday a memorable event. It is a comedy, action and suspense thriller about a simple guy played by Gene Wilder who is boarding a train from Los Angeles to Chicago. The trip is anything but simple. He meets up with all kinds of oddball characters including a beautiful and seductive “Hilly” played by the late Jill Clayburgh. GW also encounters an insidious bad guy in actor Patrick McGoohan, and a group of henchmen led by 7’2” Richard Kiel. During this era RK gained fame as “Jaws,” the giant baddie facing off against James Bond (then played by Roger Moore) in a couple of the JB films.

Along the way, there are all kinds of twists, turns and roller-coaster-train-ride fun. Adding to the fun, Richard Pryor joins the cast at just past the one-hour mark. It would be the first of four comedy team ups of Wilder and Pryor. Besides the comedy, there is also Alfred Hitchcock-like suspense as this film bears a great resemblance to the AH masterpiece North by Northwest (1959).


Arthur Hiller directs and Henry Mancini provides a score that has a typical 70s Mancini sound. It’s filled with a great train movement main theme and beautifully romantic music for the GW and JC characters.

Originally they planned to film the movie on a cross-country Amtrak train, but were turned down because Amtrak thought the film would provide negative publicity for the railroad. Most of the cross-country exteriors were shot in Canada. It looked a lot like the U.S. to me, not that I had seen that much of it at 30.

The Blu-ray limited edition restores the theatrical look for the first time ever. This is a fun ride to take, even if you are not turning 30.

Note: At just past the 26-minute mark, Wilder, in one of his many great comedic moments, is physically thrown off the moving train. I hate to be a spoiler, but I have to tell you that there are two more just like it. Both are as funny as the first. All aboard. Or, all un-aboard.

Rated 3.9 out of 4.0 reasons not to miss the train. Oh, and if the time is right Happy 30th Birthday.


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