Remembering Gene Wilder Blu-ray Review

3.5 Stars Sugar-coated Biography
Remembering Gene Wilder Review

Remembering Gene Wilder is a rather bland and sugar-coated look at the talented actor, writer and director.

Remembering Gene Wilder (2023)
Released: 18 May 2023
Rated: N/A
Runtime: 92 min
Director: Ron Frank
Genre: Biography
Cast: Alan Alda, Mel Brooks, Harry Connick Jr.
Writer(s): Glenn Kirschbaum
Plot: Special Tribute honoring Gene Wilders life and career.
IMDB rating: 8.6
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Kino
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 1 Hr. 32 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Case Type: Blu-ray keepcase
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 06/11/2024
MSRP: $29.95

The Production: 3/5

Most movie fans my age, when you say the name Gene Wilder, many films come to mind – Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Blazing Saddles, Silver Streak, Stir Crazy, The Producers (1967) and most certainly Young Frankenstein. Born as Jerry Silberman in 1933, he took the stage name of Gene Wilder from his love of Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town. He began his career playing small parts in plays in New York, where he played opposite Anne Bancroft in Mother Courage and first met Mel Brooks who was dating Bancroft at the time, which led to his first leading role in Brooks’ directing debut The Producers. Three years later, he would be cast in the title role in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Both films were not huge box office successes, but things really turned around for him when Mel Brooks had to recast the role of the Waco Kid in Blazing Saddles. Wilder came in while the film had already been shooting, and instantly understood and nailed the part of the recovering alcoholic gunslinger who befriends the town’s black sheriff, Bart, played by Cleavon Little. It was during the production of Blazing Saddles that Wilder pitched an idea that had been floating around in his head to Brooks that would become the classic Young Frankenstein. The success of that film allowed Wilder to begin writing and directing his own films, beginning with 1975’s The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother. He would then be cast in Arthur Hiller’s Silver Streak in 1976, his first of four films with co-star Richard Pryor. Wilder retired from acting in 1991, disillusioned by the movie business, and took up painting and writing books, passing away in 2016 from complications associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Ron Frank’s biographical documentary Remembering Gene Wilder touches on many of those topics I listed above through interviews with various friends, associates, and relatives of those he worked with, such as director Mel Brooks, actress Carol Kane, film historian and TCM host Tom Mankiewicz, actor Burton Gilliam, agent and producer Michael Gruskoff, Richard Pryor’s daughter Rain Pryor, writer and producer Alan Zweibel, and “friend” Harry Connick, Jr. I put the word friend in quotes there because, while Connick does tell some wonderful memories of Gene Wilder, he never quite reveals how they became friends (unlike Alan Zweibel who had worked with Wilder’s wife, Gilda Radner, on Saturday Night Live). Frank also uses many excerpts from the audiobook version of Wilder’s autobiography Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art as narration for the film. While the film does take a broad look at Wilder’s career, his heartbreaking relationship with Gilda Radner, his uplifting relationship with his last wife, Karen Boyer, it never mentions his first two marriages, and instead sugarcoats much of his personal life with intercuts of some of the tragedies the actor encountered in his life. Remembering Gene Wilder is a touching tribute to the late actor, but never really delves into any of the more serious issues he faced.

Video: 4/5

3D Rating: NA

Remembering Gene Wilder uses a lot of archival footage from various sources (home movies in various formats, film clips) but intersperses them with newly shot interviews. It is the new interviews and most of the film clips that look best here, with good detail, decent contrast and vivid colors. The rest of the archival footage is what it is, and with documentaries, the viewer has to expect and accept that.

Audio: 3/5

Kino Lorber offers up two audio options for their Blu-ray disc release of Remembering Gene Wilder, 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo, both encoded as DTS-HD MA. The 5.1 track has a bit more surround presence while the stereo has a much stronger presence for dialogue. Regardless of which trach you select, it’s a very front heavy mix (it is mostly just talking heads) and surrounds are used more to wrap the viewer in music and some occasional atmospherics for establishing shots such as light traffic or bird songs. Both tracks do their job of allowing the viewer to hear and understand the person speaking, and that is really all that is required from a sound mix for this type of film.

Special Features: 3/5

Additional Interviews (1080p): Interview footage from many of the participants that was left on the cutting room floor, including Mel Brooks (11:15), Harry Connick, Jr. (4:28), Burton Gilliam (5:15), Caro Kane (2:19), Ben Mankiewicz (5:26), Peter Ostrum (6:24), Karen Wilder (2:18) and Alan Zweibel (4:25).

Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 2:40)

Overall: 3.5/5

Remembering Gene Wilder is a touching tribute, a trip down memory lane for fans of the late actor, but never delves into tougher issues, making this a rather breezy and sugar-coated look at the late actor’s career and life.

Todd Erwin has been a reviewer at Home Theater Forum since 2008. His love of movies began as a young child, first showing Super 8 movies in his backyard during the summer to friends and neighbors at age 10. He also received his first movie camera that year, a hand-crank Wollensak 8mm with three fixed lenses. In 1980, he graduated to "talkies" with his award-winning short The Ape-Man, followed by the cult favorite The Adventures of Terrific Man two years later. Other films include Myth or Fact: The Talbert Terror and Warren's Revenge (which is currently being restored). In addition to movie reviews, Todd has written many articles for Home Theater Forum centering mostly on streaming as well as an occasional hardware review, is the host of his own video podcast Streaming News & Views on YouTube and is a frequent guest on the Home Theater United podcast.

Post Disclaimer

Some of our content may contain marketing links, which means we will receive a commission for purchases made via those links. In our editorial content, these affiliate links appear automatically, and our editorial teams are not influenced by our affiliate partnerships. We work with several providers (currently Skimlinks and Amazon) to manage our affiliate relationships. You can find out more about their services by visiting their sites.

Share this post:

View thread (5 replies)

jim_falconer

Screenwriter
Joined
Nov 11, 2004
Messages
1,156
Is there any mention at all in this, of his incredibly funny role in “Start The Revolution Without Me”? Be a crime for a documentary to overlook one of his greatest comedic roles
 

Todd Erwin

Reviewer
HW Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
10,618
Location
Hawthorne, NV
Real Name
Todd Erwin
Is there any mention at all in this, of his incredibly funny role in “Start The Revolution Without Me”? Be a crime for a documentary to overlook one of his greatest comedic roles
Not mentioned in the film. It is currently running on Netflix.
 

Walter P. Thatcher

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Aug 22, 2022
Messages
227
Real Name
Daniel
There's a very brief snippet of a scene from "Start the Revolution Without Me" toward the beginning of this biography as part of Wilder's career overview montage. The snippet is little more than a glimpse, and STRWM isn't even mentioned. The scene glimpsed IIRC was of Gene Wilder and Donald Sutherland dressed fancily as the DeSisi twins.
 

Angelo Colombus

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2009
Messages
3,463
Location
Chicago Area
Real Name
Angelo Colombus
TCM did broadcast back in 2008 a documentary Role Model: Gene Wilder. I thought the film was well made and did make a copy of it on my dvd recorder.
 

Alan Tully

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2008
Messages
4,715
Location
London
Real Name
Alan
There's a very brief snippet of a scene from "Start the Revolution Without Me" toward the beginning of this biography as part of Wilder's career overview montage. The snippet is little more than a glimpse, and STRWM isn't even mentioned. The scene glimpsed IIRC was of Gene Wilder and Donald Sutherland dressed fancily as the DeSisi twins.
Start The Revolution Without Me is a longtime favourite of mine. Gene Wilder is bonkers in it, but the late Donald Sutherland does the biz & is just as funny. I’ll check Netflix UK & see if it’s running here, I have the Warner DVD original release & it still plays (well it did six months ago).
 
Last edited:
Most Popular
Available for Amazon Prime