We gave it a B+
”I don’t act in movies much anymore because they don’t make movies like this,” says Gene Wilder in the single most illuminating statement on his commentary tracks for Gene Wilder Classics, a new series from Fox featuring the never-released The World’s Greatest Lover (1977) and The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother (1975). With all due respect to Mr. Wilder, the reason studios might pass on movies like these is because they weren’t very funny to begin with. Packaged with the superior, previously released Silver Streak (1976), Wilder’s first pair of films as writer-director suffer from a glut of setups with very little payoff, and characters who are better in theory than in actuality (Holmes‘ head-slapping sidekick, played by Marty Feldman, or Wilder’s tongue-wagging hero in Lover).
EXTRAS None on Streak (besides, when you have Richard Pryor amping up Wilder’s straight-man bit, what else do you need?); uneven commentaries by Wilder on the other two discs. Amid the inanities (”Gosh, my hair was much redder then” and ”Boy, I had a lot of hair in those days”) is the occasional revelatory nugget, like ”I think I was too interested in being a leading man in those scenes. I shouldn’t have tried so hard.” If only there were more of them. Lover: C+; Holmes: B- Streak: B+