6.7/10
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48 user 23 critic

The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975)

PG | | Comedy | 5 May 1975 (Sweden)
A suddenly-unemployed executive suffers a nervous breakdown.

Director:

Melvin Frank

Writers:

Neil Simon (play), Neil Simon (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Lemmon ... Mel Edison
Anne Bancroft ... Edna Edison
Gene Saks ... Harry Edison
Elizabeth Wilson ... Pauline
Florence Stanley ... Pearl
Maxine Stuart ... Belle
Ed Peck ... Man Upstairs
Gene Blakely Gene Blakely ... Charlie
Ivor Francis ... Psychiatrist
Stack Pierce Stack Pierce ... Detective
Patricia Marshall Patricia Marshall ... Woman Upstairs
Dee Carroll Dee Carroll ... Helen
Ketty Lester Ketty Lester ... Unemployment Clerk
M. Emmet Walsh ... Joe - Doorman
F. Murray Abraham ... Taxi Driver
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Storyline

The story of Mel and Edna (Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft), a middle-class, middle-aged, middle-happy couple living in a Manhattan high rise apartment building. Mel loses his job, the apartment is robbed, Edna gets a job, Mel loses his mind, Edna loses her job . . . to say nothing of the more minor tribulations of nosy neighbors, helpful relatives, and exact bus fares. The couple suffers indignity after indignity (some self-inflicted), and when they seem on the verge of surrender, they thumb their noses defiantly and dig the trenches for battle. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

...and you think you've got problems.

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 May 1975 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Nervenbündel See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The story-line of "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" is not dis-similar to the earlier play and movie The Out of Towners (1970) which also starred Jack Lemmon in its film version. See more »

Goofs

The apartment building's supposed address, 385 East 88th Street, is actually nearer to First Avenue than to Second. See more »

Quotes

Edna: Why you havin pain's in your chest?
Mel: Because I don't have a job! Because I don't have a suit to wear. Because I'm having a God-damned nervous breakdown and they didn't even leave me with a decent pair of pajamas.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Harry O: Street Games (1975) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Even lesser Neil Simon is funny...based on his Broadway play...
29 August 2006 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

Worth a chuckle or more, this sometimes hilarious comedy hits a raw nerve with anyone who has lived in an apartment building where you can hear all the noise you never wanted to (at all sorts of hours), in a world that starts with listening to the radio news detail one horror after another.

That's the way the Broadway play started. The lights went out before the curtain opened and all you heard was a radio announcer delivering one crazy incident after another on the local news. That was the prologue to what you knew was about to follow. Then the curtains parted and the play began.

JACK LEMMON and ANNE BANCROFT play off each other brilliantly, but when all is said and done, there's just something missing in this Neil Simon comedy. The payoff that you should feel when the movie ends, just isn't there.

And yet, when you hear some of the news, it's almost quaint. Just think what was supposed to get a laugh: a news flash that a Polish freighter had just run into the Statue of Liberty. How tame!! Imagine what kind of news flash there would have been if this were written after 9/11.

Good supporting roles from Gene Saks, as Lemmon's brother, and Elizabeth Wilson and Florence Stanley as his sisters.

It may be lesser Simon, but it's still worth seeing, especially for New Yorkers.


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