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A fast paced, inventively realized film. Wilder and Mostel portray true feeling for each other better than any comedy team I've ever seen.
--David Rosenbaum, Boston Phoenix
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Rhinoceros


Part of our Culture Vulture series. For more screenings and information, visit: www.laemmle.com/culturevulture.

Reunited for the only time after their triumph in Mel Brooks' The Producers, Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel catapult their shared genius for elegant slapstick, manic wit, and sly satire to a level of fearless absurdity that virtually no other comedy team would dare approach. Director Tom O'Horgan, originator of the Broadway smash hit Hair, transforms playwright Eugene Ionesco's "Theater of the Absurd" curio Rhinoceros into a fluid, character-rich screen comedy that The Hollywood Reporter dubbed, "an excellent film."

In the face of a modern urban life devoid of anything but an uninterrupted parade of dehumanizing compromise and disappointment, Stanley (Wilder) tenuously guards his fragile individuality in between gulps of booze. The only solace he enjoys is commiseration with his self-consciously sophisticated neighbor John (Mostel), and his unspoken adoration of a warmly sympathetic co-worker Daisy (70s cult object Karen Black). But as a surreal comic apocalypse begins to transform, one by one, everyone into a rhinoceros, the non-conformism that seemed like Stanley's downfall may be his only salvation.

Re-creating the role he originated on stage, Mostel delivers the most jaw-droppingly bravura performance of his career, playing off both Wilder's and his own incredulous terror as the fussy, prissy John metamorphoses (entirely without make-up or camera tricks) into a bellowing rhinoceros. Mostel, Wilder, and Black's generous characterizations and pitch-perfect comic timing streamline
Rhinoceros's convulsive outrageousness into an ardent valentine to both knockabout screen comedy and Ionesco's experimental and timely satire.

Part of the
Screen Play: The American Film Theatre series:

In 1973, print ads and direct-mail solicitations invited the public to become full-season top-tier theatre subscribers—at a movie theater near them. Producer and theatre champion Ely Landau’s brainstorm aimed to bring together the best of both worlds. He and his wife Edie recruited a world class company of movie and/or stage talent both in front of and behind the camera with the intent of presenting intact the texts of 14 plays, all newly conceived for the cinema. At each screening programs would be handed out, with intermissions for the longer works and limited runs and showtimes for each title. This was the American Film Theatre, which graced movie houses for two seasons, closing in 1975—but not before preserving a wealth of superb performances and in many instances providing the only filmed adaptations of great plays.

Played at

Royal, 1.08.18 - 1.09.18
Playhouse 7, 1.08.18 - 1.09.18
Town Center 5, 1.08.18 - 1.09.18
Claremont 5, 1.08.18 - 1.09.18
Rated PG
Runtime: 104 min
Language: English

Director: Tom O’Horgan
Producer(s): Ely Landau
Writer(s): Eugene Ionesco
Cast: Gene Wilder, Karen Black, Zero Mostel