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"The death of Gene Wilder last week at 83 has led to the publication of many fond encomia to a performer who had ceased being of much interest 40 years ago, precisely at the moment when he became a movie star. It was the release of a romantic chase comedy called Silver Streak in 1976 that made Wilder a bankable Hollywood commodity in his own right and not just as Mel Brooks’s secret comic weapon in The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein (which Wilder conceived and cowrote). It also sealed his doom as a creative talent. Brooks had seen some gleam of madness in the very earnest young Broadway actor with whom his wife Anne Bancroft had appeared in a 1963 production of Bertolt Brecht's intolerable Mother Courage and Her Children. And he went to town. In Brooks's hands, Wilder's sweet face and offhandedly humble manner were revealed as the thin mask hiding his true face—the face of a demented neurotic lunatic. The scene in The Producers when", www.weeklystandard.com
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