© 1984 Orion Pictures Corporation

The Woman in Red (1984)

This Gene Wilder-directed film was made at a time when romantic comedies could still actually be good, albeit at the very end of that era, just before the whole genre became completely formulaic. The film opens with shots of the San Francisco skyline that eventually pan over to a shot of Gene Wilder standing on the window ledge of a penthouse in a luxury apartment building (where Madeline lived in Hitchcock’s Vertigo), wondering how he got there. The story rewinds four weeks, to the day this advertising executive first spotted the titular character. Although Wilder casts himself, pal Charles Grodin and wife Gilda Radner,this is by no means a mere vanity project. Wilder crafts an engaging study of a mid-life crisis with characters the audience can care about. Wilder’s character deliberates over plunging into an affair with the woman in red while his two best friends go through marital strife and his own wife reveals her high-strung jealous side, making one of the better films ever on the mid-life crisis.

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