Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria will pay tribute to Gene Wilder with screenings

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

The death of beloved actor Gene Wilder in August inspired many tributes – from the fake tumble on Saturday Night Live to Mel Brooks’ plan to stream “Young Frankenstein” across 500 theaters in October.

Now, Queens will contribute with screenings at the Museum of Moving Image. Starting on Oct. 9, the Astoria museum will screen “Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein” and “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” until Nov. 27.


The screenings will take place at the museum’s Redstone Theater on Oct.9, Oct. 10 and Nov. 25 through Nov. 27.

“He was a unique comic talent,” said Chief Curator David Schwartz. “The response to his death showed that many people felt a strong connection to him, and his work. We chose his three most timeless films for the tribute, ending with the most beloved family film since The Wizard of Oz.”

Blazing Saddles,” which was released in 1974, is a Western spoof that follows State Attorney General Hedley Lamarr’s plan to kick out the residents of Rock Ridge and build a railroad. Bart, a black railroad worker, is appointed as new sheriff to protect residents from Lamarr’s henchman and he, along with Wilder’s character, Jim (a.k.a. The Waco Kid), work together to try to thwart Lamarr’s plan.

In “Young Frankenstein,” which was co-written by Wilder and released in 1974, Wilder plays Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (pronounced Fronk-un-steen), the descendant of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein. He inherits his grandfather’s property in Transylvania and discovers his private journals, which inspire him to re-create experiments to hilarious results.

Perhaps Wilder’s most beloved movie, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” written by Roald Dahl and released in 1971, will be the only movie screened in November. Wilder plays the title character, leading a group of children on tour of his factory, which turns out to be “a world of pure imagination.”

For screening times and more information, visit the museum’s website.

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