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Hanky Panky (1982) Online

Hanky Panky (1982) Online
Original Title :
Hanky Panky
Genre :
Movie / Action / Comedy / Crime / Mystery / Thriller
Year :
Directror :
Sidney Poitier
Cast :
Gene Wilder,Gilda Radner,Kathleen Quinlan
Writer :
Henry Rosenbaum,David Taylor
Type :
Time :
1h 50min
Rating :
Hanky Panky (1982) Online

Michael Jordon, a Chicago architect, is New York on business. A beautiful stranger identifying herself as Janet Dunn, runs into the taxi cab he's using. He volunteers to put a package into the mailbox for her after she hastily addresses the envelope. Infatuated with her goes to see her at her hotel. She brushes him off and closes the door in his face. He is about to leave when he hears a shot. Janet opens the door and falls into his arms dead. Now everyone believes that he's the killer. A mysterious group that's after the package is now after him. His only ally is Kate Hellman, who has secrets of her own. To clear his name they have to find out what was in the package, who wants it and why.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Gene Wilder Gene Wilder - Michael Jordon
Gilda Radner Gilda Radner - Kate Hellman
Kathleen Quinlan Kathleen Quinlan - Janet Dunn
Richard Widmark Richard Widmark - Ransom
Robert Prosky Robert Prosky - Hiram Calder
Josef Sommer Josef Sommer - Adrian Pruitt
Johnny Sekka Johnny Sekka - Lacey
Jay O. Sanders Jay O. Sanders - Katz
Sam Gray Sam Gray - Dr. John Wolff
Larry Bryggman Larry Bryggman - Stacy
Pat Corley Pat Corley - Pilot
Johnny Brown Johnny Brown - Bus Driver
Bill Beutel Bill Beutel - Anchorman
Nat Habib Nat Habib - Cab Driver
James Tolkan James Tolkan - Conferee

According to Gene Wilder's autobiography "Kiss Me Like A Stranger" (2005), this was the picture in which he and Gilda Radner (who was married to G.E. Smith at the time) met. The two, who would later marry, quickly became friends.

The characters Kate Hellman and Michael Jordon in this movie were played by Gilda Radner and Gene Wilder respectively. In real life, Radner, who was already married, and Wilder fell in love, and later Radner divorced her husband and married Wilder.

This was to be another Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor star teaming, but according to dvdverdict.com, for some reason, Pryor backed out, and his part was re-written to be a female, and it went to Gilda Radner.

Some "hanky panky" occurred during the creation of this picture's marketing materials. On an alternate movie poster, Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner are seen flying a helicopter in a chase sequence involving another copter. No such scene exists in the movie. A helicopter and the Grand Canyon are seen in the movie, but Wilder and Radner fly through the Grand Canyon in a light aircraft flown by a pilot, but there is no helicopter chase sequence. As such, the tagline shown on this poster, "something funny's going on here" rings true for this poster's truth-in-advertising.

A financial disaster at the box-office, Gene Wilder said it was one of the worst movies, in which he had ever starred.

One of five movies in which Gene Wilder played a man wrongly accused of committing a crime. The others being Silver Streak (1976), The Frisco Kid (1979), Stir Crazy (1980), and Ei kuule, ei näe (1989).

First of three cinema movie collaborations between husband-and-wife comedy team Gilda Radner and Gene Wilder, though they were not married when making this movie. Their two subsequent films together were The Woman in Red (1984) and Haunted Honeymoon (1986).

This movie re-teamed Gene Wilder with Director Sidney Poitier for their final collaboration. The two had previously made Stir Crazy (1980) together with Richard Pryor, who was originally going to co-star in this film.

The "f" word is used at least once in this film, which was significant at the time, as the movie was rated PG in some territories such as the U.S. and Australia, and a 12 rating in West Germany, and something which was starting to set a precedent around this time. Territories which censorship classified the movie with a "14", "15", or "16" rating included Canada, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and the United Kingdom, where this film received an "AA" (or "15") rating. The picture was originally rated R by the MPAA (the Motion Picture Association of America) in the U.S. but upon appeal to the Classification and Rating Appeals Board by Columbia Pictures, the movie was re-rated and re-classified "PG".

Director Sidney Poitier, a stickler for realism, said of this movie's location shooting: "We had to film on-location. There is only one New York and one Boston. Each city has a character of its own which was essential to the film. You just can't fake it."

Final cinema movie collaboration of Sidney Poitier and Richard Widmark. Of this quartet of films, this was the only one where Poitier directed Widmark, the pair having co-starred in the first three films: No Way Out (1950), The Long Ships (1964), and The Bedford Incident (1965).

This movie's MacGuffin were top-secret computer tapes.

Some scenes were shot in the exclusive Knickerbocker Club in New York City, which was originally chartered in 1871. This was the first time a film had been granted permission to shoot there.

In New Salem, New York, a fully restored farmhouse built in 1798 was used as a filming location.

The picture was filmed across three American states: Arizona, New York, and Massachusetts.

The October 28, 1981 edition of "Daily Variety" reported that Gilda Radner had turned down opportunities to work with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, which was likely for a part in Neighbors (1981), in order to do Hanky Panky (1982).

Around three hundred Massachusettes locals including post office workers and fishing boat crew, according to the September 16, 1981 edition of "Variety", worked as extras for filming in the cities of Boston and Cambridge from August 24, 1981 to August 29, 1981.

The Massachusetts Film Bureau reported on June 9, 1982, that scenes filmed at the Central Wharf waterfront and New England Aquarium in Boston utilized live sharks and tons of fish.

Principal photography ran for about seventy-five days.

In Arizona, desert sites were chosen in and around Tucson, with key action shots taking place at various points along the Grand Canyon.

Many movie posters for the film featured a long blurb that read: "When you're wanted for a murder you didn't commit, Chased for secrets you didn't steal, And running from people who want to kill you, The worst mistake you can make is falling in love...Meet Michael Jordon. And his mistake. HANKY PANKY. Something funny's going on here."

The characters of Robert Hellman and hypnotherapist Dr. Peter Nowak were not billed in the movie's credits at all. The name of Gilda Radner's character is Kate Hellman, and the name of the film's Art Director was Christopher Nowak.

Final cinema movie collaboration of Gene Wilder and Producer Martin Ransohoff, who had previously collaborated on Silver Streak (1976).

The movie appears to have been first announced around the time of the July 31, 1979 edition of "The Hollywood Reporter" which reported Producer Martin Ransohoff had started pre-production on this movie, which was then known at that time by the working title of "Traces".

The movie was originally rated R by the MPAA (the Motion Picture Association of America) in the U.S., but upon appeal to the Classification and Rating Appeals Board by Columbia Pictures, the movie was re-rated and re-classified "PG".

According to the February 17, 1981 edition of "The Hollywood Reporter", Richard Pryor, who had co-starred with Gene Wilder in Silver Streak (1976) and Stir Crazy (1980) had "not been asked to join" the production of this movie, which was at the time still known under its working title of "Traces".

The movie's current title was announced by "The Hollywood Reporter" in their October 5, 1981 edition. The picture had been previously known by its working title of "Traces".

The movie was described as the sequel to Stir Crazy (1980) in the February 24, 1981 edition of "The Hollywood Reporter".

The February 24, 1981 edition of "The Hollywood Reporter" stated that Larry Cohen was re-writing the screenplay, but Cohen received no billing in the final film's credits.

The December 16, 1980 edition of "The Hollywood Reporter" announced that this movie would reunite Gene Wilder and Producer Martin Ransohoff, who had collaborated on Silver Streak (1976).

The December 22, 1980 edition of "Daily Variety" reported that this movie would, following the box-office success of Stir Crazy (1980), re-team Gene Wilder and Sidney Poitier, with an anticipated production start date of Spring 1981. In the end, principal photography started earlier, on July 24, 1981 prior to its last scheduled commencement time of August 1981.

The nickname of Dr. John Wolff (Sam Gray) was "Jake".

The names of intelligence agencies featured in the film included the C.I.A. and the U.S. National Security Directory.

The person, to whom Janet Dunn (Kathleen Quinlan) addressed the package, in the taxi cab, was "Terrance Martin".

Richard Widmark and Kathleen Quinlan appeared in Blackout (1985).

Debut produced screenplay for a cinema movie of television Writer David Taylor, who co-wrote the script with Henry Rosenbaum.

This movie's promotional material, such as movie posters formed the bottom torso of a man and woman out of its title logo. A man's legs and trousers were formed out of the capital "H" in the word "Hanky", and a skirt and pair of ladies' legs were formed out of the bottom part of the letter "K" in the word "Panky".

Debut theatrical feature film of Beau Starr.

The film's closing credits thank the U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Park Service for "making possible the aerial photography in Grand Canyon National Park." Also, thanks also went to the Motion Picture Development Office of the State of Arizona and the Tucson Film Commission for their assistance and co-operation during the movie's location filming in Tucson, Arizona.

Gene Wilder's character Michael Jordon had the same name as famous basketballer Michael Jordan, but spelled slightly different, though some media ironically have erroneously spelled Wilder's character's last name as "Jordan".

User reviews



Gene Wilder plays the amusingly named Michael Jordon, an architect from Chicago, in this comedy / thriller. Jordon is an innocent guy who gets swept into big time trouble after sharing a cab with an operative named Janet Dunn (Kathleen Quinlan), who's being pursued by traitorous American thugs. They desperately want their hands on a valuable computer tape, and will do anything to get it. Wilder's real-life love Gilda Radner plays the young woman eager to help him out, and she has her own reason for doing so, although he won't be aware of this for a while. Not only are these spies out to get him, but the cops in NYC assume him to be a killer. (When WILL innocent movie characters learn not to pick up murder weapons?) Knowing that "Hanky Panky" was originally intended as a reunion of director Sidney Poitier and actors Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor (after "Stir Crazy") makes one wonder what could have been, as the comedy fireworks would certainly have been even greater. As it is, Wilder and Radner (who's cute and adorable) do have an energetic chemistry. The movie itself is pretty entertaining and energetic itself, moving along very well and offering up some good action sequences; Poitier does a nice job with the material. The movie actually takes itself rather seriously much of the time, but there are still some good comedy moments, especially when Michael steals a tuxedo and, while aboard a bus, realizes it belonged to a magician, and the sequence with a sickly airplane pilot where Michael has to take the controls. Suffice it to say, there aren't many people who can freak out as well as Gene Wilder. "Hanky Panky" finds him in fine form, and the supporting cast features a slew of recognizable and reliable actors. Richard Widmark, as the chief heavy, shows that he still had great villainous presence on screen, well into his 60s. Also appearing are Robert Prosky, Josef Sommer, Johnny Sekka, Jay O. Sanders, and character actors Pat Corley, James Tolkan, Beau Starr, Frankie Faison, Larry Pine, William Sadler, and Victor Argo in small roles. This is of course no "North by Northwest", but it's not bad at all, either, remaining agreeable entertainment for a lively 108 minutes. At the least, it's worth noting that this is where Wilder and Radner met. Seven out of 10.


The typical mistaken identity thing here as a man named Michael Jordon (go figure that one) played by Gene Wilder gets caught in a web of bad guys. He is being chased for a murder he did not commit and it is also believed that some classified military secrets were stolen as well. Naturally Wilder falls in love with Gilda Radner in the process and constantly tries to elude Richard Widmark. Sidney Poitier actually directed this dud that just never does really come together. The routine is nothing new and it ends up being just like a Road-Runner/Wile E. Coyote cartoon that has silly episodic situations coming at you over and over again. Not a total waste, but still not really interesting enough to make itself any different from dozens of the kind. 2.5 out of 5.


I didn't think this film was as bad as I had heard people say it was when they saw it. I love Gene Wilder and it was nice to see him working with Gilda Radner. The film isn't very well done but it has a very watchable attraction and that is watching the leads do their thing. Watch it on a rainy day and enjoy the performances of Wilder And Radner.


This is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner are unique. I really enjoyed the movie and recommend it to everyone. If, after watching Hanky Panky, you think it was worth it, please don't forget to watch See No Evil Hear No Evil and Silver Streak, which are two other wonderful movies with Gene Wilder.


Imagine Sidney Poitier doing a North by Northwest type movie. That is pretty much what Hanky Panky is. Sidney Poitier is no Alfred Hitchcock, though. Gene Wilder (alias Michael Jordan) saves this movie from being very mediocre. One has to go back to 1982 (the movie is actually situated in 1981) where things like national security and cold war had other dimensions than today. So take a little bit of murder mystery, a little bit of spy movie, add a neurotic character (Wilder) and his big-staring-eyes sidekick (Gilda Radner), take a few villains (a not quite convincing Richard Widmark), smashing bottles, men in dresses (yes, Wilder, too), stupid policemen, grim-looking NSA people and presto, racing here, racing there, driving, flying, smashing, that's the movie. Oh, did I forget to mention the really beautiful scenery of the Grand Canyon when flying within the Canyon was still allowed? This flight is really a wild ride and there are some low-level laughs in the cabin: how much intestinal gas can a fat pilot stand before he suddenly dies (of what?) in mid-air? If you're in for computer history, observe the excessive use of data tape and the by then state-of-the-art 3D-graphics. Actually, this movie has its very funny moments, but by today's standards its pace is slow, despite the fact that Wilder/Jordan is frantically running away from someone, something or else all the time. And the DVD is too expensive for not featuring any special features except of a full screen trailer. But if you own the DVD, watch that trailer, but don't fall asleep: would one advertise a screwball comedy like this in such a lame way, today?


I like this movie - based on the 2 stars in it - Gene Wilder & Gilda Radner. They make this flick watchable. They are a sweet and funny comedic duo. I know this movie is billed as a comedy and I feel that the reason for that is - basically because Gene and Gilda are / were COMEDIANS... It's a little funny - It's more like a mystery. Which actually makes for the reason this film is so misunderstood. To put two well-known comedians , head - to - head , in a mystery - wanna - B - comedy ... Well , it speaks for itself. But I like it. It's cute and Gene and Gilda are cute in it. It's not as good as the other films they are in together , but then again - the movie wasn't writtenfor them - and the other movies the two appear in together ARE , most definately COMEDIES.


I can be short about this movie: Hilarious. It made me laugh so much that I almost ran out of oxygen.

Of course the story line is thin, and the musical score is just horrible.... but it is about the slapstick, the over the top panicking and the making fun of and the trying to escape from the otherwise in real life quite scary and threatening situations.

Of course the airplane scene is the most funniest scene I have ever seen in a movie. It appeals on everyone's fears that when in an airplane you could crash and that the pilot is just a person of flesh and blood who could become ill or whatever. I am sure that every airplane passenger with a little bit of fear of flying has thought about this.

And the airplane scene is not funny because the pilot is belching, like I read in a review. That would mean this film would be on the level of the Naked Gun series. The belching is just the introduction to this scene, the warming up. You think that this must be the funny part, and you start to laugh a little bit while thinking: "Is this supposed to be funny?". But when you know Gene Wilder's humour you know it can not stop there.

No, the comedy starts after this, when the pilot dies. When Gene Wilder just does not want to know the truth and just does not want to face reality and chooses to deny reality, to which audiences can relate: everyone at least at one point in their lives chooses to put their head in the sand. But when Gene Wilder does it, he does it in such a hilariously, hysterical funny way.

This film always stayed with me, over the years. And I just saw it again and it made me laugh just as hard as it did before, when I was in my teens.

So go along with the make believe, do not demand a solid script and just go with the slapstick and the hysteria. And laugh!


'HANKY PANKY' Directed by Sidney Poitier,(To Sir With Love ) Is an only so-so comic outing with Gene Wilder, Minus 'Richard Pryor,RIP:( Instead wilder is cast with his real life wife, Gilda Radner,(Rip) Wilder plays innocent bystander, Micheal Jordon, who whilst in a taxi cab unwittingly becomes involved with a hysterical women, played by Kathleen Quinlan, Quinlan hand's some Government documents on to wilder who then becomes the target of Richard Widmark, in another trademark villainous role, as a shady government agent, Wilder And Radner, are hilariously pitted together with supreme comic situations, that culminates in a deadly showdown, with the villains,


Hanky Panky is our first look at Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner on the big screen together. The story goes as such: Michael Jordan (Wilder) is new in town, meets a woman with whom he tries to get a date. Nothing wrong with that right? Well he is chased by bad guys for having any contact with this woman and when she ends up dead he is sought for her murder. In comes Kate (Radner) who tries to help Michael find out why these guys are after him. Well he gets the girl in the end and everything turns out for the best, with a few laughs along the way. The pairing of these two comedians shows us why they have been loved by many for so many years. If you like romantic comedies then you will enjoy Hanky Panky.


Every time I decide to watch this little gem, I'm reminded of how well it was made and how much I like it! Richard Widmark is one of my favorite actors, and he really adds a nice touch of malicious villainy as he pursues Wilder.

I agree that the scene in the airplane is one of the funniest.

This film could have been directed by Mel Brooks.

I remember Gene Wilder from many other wonderful films: Young Frankenstein, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Silver Streak, The Adventure of Sherlock Holme's Smarter Brother, Blazing Saddles, The Producers, and Everything You've Always Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask.

It's very hard to find a copy of "Smarter Brother..." but it's well worth the search.

You'll enjoy it very much. You've probably seen the others.


Although the title is Hanky Panky we get very little of that during the course of this movie. Kind of like Cary Grant in North By Northwest Gene Wilder gets caught up accidentally in a web of espionage and treason.

Watching Hanky Panky I couldn't help think of the Alfred Hitchcock classic and how the unflappable and witty Cary Grant is chased from New York City to Rapid City, South Dakota with that climax on Mount Rushmore. What worked well for Grant and Hitchcock did not work well for the hysterical Gene Wilder who does that best on screen as he has since The Producers. Of course Gilda Radner is no Eva Marie Saint, in fact Gilda is surprisingly subdued in Hanky Panky.

Gene is an innocent schnook who is subletting an apartment from a man who gets killed. Wilder is from Chicago and by being there gets himself involved with the poisoning of National Security chief Robert Prosky and the shooting of Kathleen Quinlan and has the cops and everyone else chasing him.

The Hitchcockian McGuffin is a computer tape with all kinds of secret codes that can't be copied except it has. Richard Widmark who has reverted here to one of those villainous types from his early days in film is working for a high level traitor who we only learn the identity of in the last minutes of the film.

Wilder's hysterical style was a bit over the top. Works much better with Cary Grant's charm and unflappability.


Gene Wilder, Gilda Radner, Kathleen Quinlan and Richard Widmark star in this 1982 comedy-thriller. Wilder (Stir Crazy) plays Michael Jordon, no not the basketball player, but a New York architect who gets caught up in a web of intrigue when he's mistaken for killing a woman, Janet Dunn (Quinlan). He meets female reporter, Kate Hellman (Radner) who helps him clear his name and he helps her in return by finding her brother's killers. Michael and Kate are chased by Janet's killer, Ransom (Widmark) and his men while they try to find the clues. I've always liked this film and think it's underrated. Gene and Gilda were great together and Richard was a good villain. I recommend this good comedy-thriller.


A mildly engrossing, tepid suspenser that apparently bombed in theaters and drew the ire and castigation of moviegoers - an overreaction if ever there were one. Granted, it will never be taken for a masterpiece - the comic elements of the film consistently fall flat, and the plot is a fourth-rate knockoff of Hitchcock - but it isn't a complete dud either. At least 'Hanky Panky' manages to be consistently engaging as an actioner/thriller (as far as I'm concerned) and it is fun to see Gene Wilder and Richard Widmark sharing screen credit. And it boasts a fun supporting cast: Robert Prosky, James Tolkan, Kathleen Quinlan, the wonderful Josef Sommer (of Lydie Breeze fame), and even a young Larry Pine pop up and keep things hopping. Overall, a passable movie experience - it works as a time-filler if nothing else - but some of the attempts at comedy are pretty pathetic. If the scriptwriters had spiced up the scenario with a bit of wild physical comedy and more amusing situations, they probably could have saved the picture. No, Mr. Poitier - sorry to disappoint you, but watching a helicopter pilot belch for two minutes does not, by any stretch of the imagination, qualify as intrinsically funny.


Don't know why so many other people gave the move such bad ratings.

I think it was pretty good.

Clever, mysterious, suspenseful, a dash of romance! Gene Wilder as "Michael Jordan" in 1982!!! That's just awesome right there! The scene in the bus when Gene & Kate do their "magic act"! And so many good quotes, like the helicopter scene when the pilot can't stop burping, then all of a sudden he has a stroke and 'Michael Jordan' goes, "I'm gonna die! yie-yee-aye-eeeee!!!" and Kate keeps on saying how the pilot's dead and Gene goes, "Nooo!!! Don't tell me that! He's not dead, he's not dead!!!" And the whole tape thing with binary numbers and the octal numbering system.

Come on, even the hackers portrayed in movies these days don't have this kind of stuff in it.

And not to mention all the cameos!! Shoot, I don't know the actors' names, but I know I've seen many of them in movies in the past decade! This movie has great stuff in it. Indeed.

Definitely anyone who is a Gene Wilder fan.

And directed by Sidney Portier of all people? Yowza!!!


In 1982, Gene Wilder took a break from writing and the director's chair to solely serve as the star of Sidney Poitier's 1982 film Hanky Panky. Pairing with him as a female lead was Gilda Radner. The two first met on the set and love quickly blossomed culminating in a marriage a few years later. It all began on Hanky Panky where the two principles become two people, one wrongly accused of a crime, running from the law together to protect their names and solve a mystery while they're at it.

Michael Jordon (Gene Wilder) is an architect visiting New York on business when he jumps into a cab with a distressed woman, Janet Dunn (Kathleen Quinlan). Through flirting and trying to get Janet to have a drink with him, she tells him she is on the run and asks him to put an envelope into a mailbox for him. Michael obliges and unwittingly puts himself in harms way delivering this package. to try to clear things up, Michael travels back to the hotel she was staying in, only to find her in a scuffle with another man. Being filmed on camera at the scuffle with a gun in his hand, he is believed to be the nefarious character she was fighting with. With everyone chasing him despite his innocence, Michael tries to evade, seeking refuge in the apartment he was staying in while in New York. As he is packing his suitcase in the apartment, a woman Kate Hellman (Gilda Radner) comes in, and believing she is a burglar, Michael fights her until the lights are turned on and the two realize neither is a danger. When the police show up at the apartment, Michael has to leave immediately, and Kate decides to come with him to both aid in clearing his name and investigate her brother's death personally. Neither can expect just what they will have to do to get these goals accomplished, but are in it together, as long as it takes.

It is almost magical to see a real life romance blossom on-screen. Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner's incredible chemistry is apparent, even if one is only half watching the film. The chemistry is sensational; you can really tell the two are falling in love, and makes Hanky Panky all the more fun to watch. There were also a number of great comedic gags in the film. The scene in which Michael takes over flying a plane is almost as hilarious as the scene in which Michael needs a change of clothes and takes a magic suit and can't find his change on a bus. The comedy was not without its flaws, however. For instance, there is so much going on in the film that not everything gets fleshed out by the film's end. The entire mystery is never solved, or revealed to the audience, so it is a little hard to become too invested in the film. That being so, Hanky Panky is a good Saturday night comedy that you won't regret watching, even if it's only to see Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner fall in love.
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This will not be numbered among the better films made by Sidney Poitier(director), Gene Wilder (star) nor Richard Widmark (supporting actor), all of whom have been involved with superior films, but will provide a solid base for an evenings entertainment. The plot is of the genre in which Bob Hope, Danny Kaye, Red Skelton, Gene Wilder, himself, and many others before and since, have made excellent use for laughs, the spy thriller comedy. I don't know that I would call them a spoof on the serious film since,often, they do have their own brand of suspense and "thrills"; but they can be very funny indeed. In this case, the writers have relied far too much on some of Wilder's trademarked vocal emissions and far too little on his ability to deliver comedy lines and gestures. In fact, it is as difficult to find a funny line in the film as it is to find a novel plot device. Wilder does as well as could be expected under the circumstances, which, for me, was the major source of fun though not laughs. Gilda Radner was completely wasted, given no opportunity to do more than any third rate actress could have equaled. Richard Widmark is menacing early on, but becomes wooden as the dialogue and action descend to Perils of Pauline levels. There are a number of other highly capable actors who sink under the weight of the script. This is also a wonderful movie where you can see the comedic chemistry between Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner.

Overall rating: 7 out of 10.


This Hitchcockian comedy-thriller misfire re-united star Gene Wilder with actor-turned-director Poitier after the box-office success of STIR CRAZY (1980; which I should be getting to presently), but it was also the fourth and last collaboration between Poitier and Richard Widmark – the others being NO WAY OUT (1950; Poitier's debut), the similarly maligned THE LONG SHIPS (1963) and the superb THE BEDFORD INCIDENT (1965; produced by Widmark). Incidentally, HANKY PANKY was intended as a follow-up to SILVER STREAK (1976) and STIR CRAZY itself as yet another teaming of Wilder with Richard Pryor – but the latter's role eventually got turned into a female character and played by Gilda Radner (from TV's "Saturday Night Live"). The two stars would then fall in love and marry but, alas, the relationship was not long-lasting as Radner would die within 5 years! Anyway, while HANKY PANKY is hardly terrible, it is far from a classic either: the thrills are largely mechanical (leading predictably to violence, a case of mistaken identity for the bewildered hero, and elaborate action for the denouement) and the laughs – the genuine ones, that is – too few (mostly, it is Wilder doing his idiosyncratic hysterical shtick). Radner herself, to say nothing of Widmark (albeit still effortlessly intimidating at 68), is somewhat underused; notable supporting roles, then, are played by Kathleen Quinlan and Robert Prosky as Intelligence operatives – respectively pursued by and pursuing Widmark and his henchmen.


Kind of a remake of North by Northwest.. it's a bit long, at an hour and 50 minutes. Innocent bystander Michael Jordon (really!) played by Gene Wilder, gets caught up in a caper that takes him all over the country, including national parks. sound familiar? Future real-life wife Gilda Radner gets caught up in the chase, and the whole time, he doesn't really know if he can trust her... still sound familiar? Tapes, murders, car chases. Jordon is finally caught by the local police, who release him over to the now-friendly feds. still sound familiar ? It's pretty good! I'm surprised at the low ratings on imdb. It's a good mix of spy thrilla and a fair amount of humor. Sure, the bad guys are pretty cheesy, but its all in good fun. Richard Widmark, from the early days of black and white film, is in here as one of the bad guys. It's one of only nine films directed by Sidney Poitier; he had also directed Stir Crazy with Wilder and Pryor. Gilda went SO early, way before her time. Check this one out if you're a fan of Wilder and Radner.


"Hanky Panky" was a big box-office failure, perhaps because it was mismarketed (and mistitled) as a comedy. There are sporadic comedic moments, but the balance is tipped heavily in favor of the thriller aspect (in fact, there is a disturbingly violent fight scene between Richard Widmark and Kathleen Quinlan, in which he punches her brutally in the face). The material is pretty stale, but the film is crisply and skillfully directed by Sidney Poitier, who takes several pages out of the Alfred Hitchcock guidebook (the opening sequence, the chases in public places, the apartment gas murder, etc.), and is helped along by on-location shooting and a choice cast. The film should have been shorter, though. **1/2 out of 4.


The movie, Hanky Panky, is probably best enjoyed by those who are 30 and older and are a fan of Gene Wilder. I normally do enjoy seeing Gene Wilder, but this movie is not the typical Gene Wilder type movie. I expected this movie to have more comedic moments especially with a co-star like Gilda Radner. Although the movie does have its comedic moments, it is a bit too serious for a Gene Wilder flick. I was surprised to see Richard Widmark in such a movie. There is a bit of over-dramatized acting. The musical background is a bit over the top and could have been toned down. This is a good afternoon or late night movie. The pace of the movie is a bit slow at times. I should have rated the movie down a notch or two, but it does have Gene Wilder and Richard Widmark in it. Enjoy with popcorn or a sandwich.


Strained comedy/ thriller with Wilder and Radner trying too hard to inject energy into a lifeless script. Few laughs surface and that is a shame on the part of Wilder and Radner. Poitier directed.


No, I'm not referring to Gene Wilder (extravagantly OTT) and Gilda Radner (in her tentative big screen debut) but to Richard Widmark, whose dour villain Ransom is a long, long way from his laughing killer Tommy Uddo way back in 1947, and director Poitier who played the noble victim of rat-like racist Widmark in Joseph L Mankiewicz's 'No Way Out' in 1950. Widmark was, it is said, troubled by the ferocity of his role but Poitier took it in good part and they acted together again in the daft but entertaining 'The Long Ships' in 1963, and, more rewardingly, in 'The Bedford Incident' in 1965. So, was Poitier doing veteran Widmark a favour by casting him in this so-so comedy, or was Widmark playing a (frankly unworthy) role for old time's sake? Anyway, seeing the film again 26 years on, in the wake of Widmark's death last month, I found myself laughing more than I'd expected (as well as lamenting the early demise of the gorgeous Kathleen Quinlan!).


Upon its 1982 release, "Hanky Panky" was universally panned by critics and shunned by moviegoers. But the first film to team Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner -- a pairing that resulted in two more movies and an offscreen marriage -- is a very funny, wildly entertaining film in the Hitchcock tradition. Originally intended as another Gene Wilder-Richard Pryor vehicle, the Pryor role was rewritten for a girl and Radner was cast. "Hanky Panky" is reminiscent of Wilder's 1976 "Silver Streak;" as in that film, he again plays a nice guy in over his head, being trailed by both cops and killers. Radner plays the girl who believes he is innocent, and inevitably the two fall in love. The film gives both Wilder and Radner a chance to display their unique brands of comedy, especially in the film's funniest scene in which Wilder refuses to accept that the pilot of the plane they are flying in has died. A must for devoted Wilder and Radner fans!


A similar set-up of a film made after this one shows that even an apparent rip-off can be funny, although I can tell honestly that the 1987 Bette Midler/Shelley Long comedy was not ripping this off. It's a shame because I had high hopes for the first pairing of Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner, and they end up with a humorless thriller that wastes their talents. If I had wanted a spy thriller, I would have gotten a James Bond film, not Willy Wonka meets Emily Latella.

Wilder is in the wrong place at the wrong time, ending up accused of killing Kathleen Quinlan and on the run with Radner, going from New York to Boston to the grand canyon while being chased by Richard Widmark and his thugs for a convoluted old computer tape. It is a mess of a plot with familiar character players popping up in minute long cameos. It took a while for this to get off the ground, and I breathed a sigh of relief when Gilda showed up. Unfortunately, there aren't really any major laughs, and far too many plot twists, none of which are thick enough to fill up the holes. Gene and Gilda deserved a lot better than this, especially in a film directed by Sidney Poitier.


It's summer of 1981 NYC. Janet Dunn (Kathleen Quinlan) steals secrets and gets into a cab with another passenger Michael Jordon (Gene Wilder). She's in the middle of a vast conspiracy. He's kidnapped by mysterious goons. He manages to escape but the police doesn't believe him. Janet Dunn is killed and Jordon becomes the main suspect. With the world searching for him, he is joined by Kate Hellman (Gilda Radner) who is looking for her brother's killer on a cross-country pursuit to uncover the secret conspiracy.

The plot has a good slice of Hitchcock's "North by Northwest". It's a bit convoluted. Apparently Sidney Poitier wanted to make another Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder buddy movie before Pryor's death. Gilda Radner comes in to replace him. She shows that she's no shrinking violet and gives Gene Wilder a good partner (on film and in real life). They have a couple of good fun moments. There are far too few of them. This is a manic mess which could have been better if the script and Poitier allow the pair to shine with better material.