See No Evil, Hear No Evil
VIDEO of See No Evil Hear No Evil – Richard Pryor & Gene Wilder
|See No Evil, Hear No Evil|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Arthur Hiller|
|Produced by||Marvin Worth|
|Written by||Earl Barret
|Music by||Stewart Copeland|
|Cinematography||Victor J. Kemper|
|Edited by||Robert C. Jones|
|Distributed by||TriStar Pictures|
|Box office||$46.9 million (USA)|
See No Evil, Hear No Evil is a 1989 American comedy film directed by Arthur Hiller and produced by Marvin Worth for TriStar Pictures. It stars Richard Pryor as a blind man and Gene Wilder as a deaf man who work together to thwart a trio of murderous thieves. This is the third film reuniting Wilder and Pryor who had appeared previously in Silver Streak (1976) and Stir Crazy (1980).
A blind man named Wally Karew (Richard Pryor) and a deaf man named Dave Lyons (Gene Wilder) meet when Wally applies for a job in Dave’s New York City concession shop. After a brief period of confusion and antagonism, Wally and Dave become close friends. Dave reads lips and guides Wally when they travel, and Wally tells Dave about invisible sounds and what people say behind his back. At a local bar, Wally defeats an aggressive bully in a fistfight with assistance from Dave, who uses clock-face directions to tell Wally where his opponent is. Dave hires Wally.
One morning, as Wally waits outside for the day’s newspapers, a man walks into Dave’s shop. When the man is approached by a beautiful woman named Eve (Joan Severance), he quickly removes a gold coin from a suitcase and places it in a box of coins sitting on the counter. The woman takes the suitcase and shoots the man in the stomach as Dave – whose back is turned – reads the information on a box of antacid pills. Dave neither sees nor hears the shooting, but he notices Eve’s legs as she leaves the shop. Wally, who heard the gunshot, walks into the shop and trips over the man’s dead body. Dave then rushes to help Wally and picks up the gun, which Eve left at the scene. When the police arrive, they find Dave and Wally standing over the body with Dave holding the gun. Before they are arrested, Dave tells Wally to collect the coins from the box.
At the police station, Dave and Wally are interrogated by Captain Braddock (Alan North), a talented but merciless detective who immediately hates them and makes them his prime suspects. When Eve and her accomplice Kirgo (Kevin Spacey) – hoping to recover the coin – arrive to bail them out by posing as attorneys, Wally recognizes Eve’s perfume and Dave recognizes her legs, but Braddock ignores them when they insist that she is the killer. Wishing to avoid Eve and Kirgo when they are released, Dave and Wally escape from the police station, but the criminals soon find them. Eve takes the coin from Wally’s pocket and telephones her boss Mr. Sutherland (Anthony Zerbe) for instructions, allowing Dave to learn the criminals’ plans by reading her lips. When Kirgo tries to kill Dave and Wally, they use the fistfighting method they learned in the bar to knock him unconscious. They then steal an unattended police car, and drive away with Eve, Kirgo and Braddock chasing them. Working together to guide the patrol car, Dave and Wally evade both the police and the criminals, but they accidentally launch the car onto a waterborne garbage barge.
After hiding the police car, the two men walk to a motel and telephone Wally’s sister Adele (Childs) for help. The police follow Adele and search her motel room, but she, Wally, and Dave avoid detection, and they drive away after the police have left. Having incorrectly read Eve’s lips, Dave believes they need to find a woman named “Grace George”, but Adele realizes that Eve must have been referring to a resort called “Great Gorge”. At the resort, Wally impersonates a visiting professorwhile Dave steals the coin from Eve. Meanwhile, Adele distracts Kirgo by crashing her car into his. However, Kirgo and Eve kidnap Adele and take her to Sutherland’s estate.
After a tragic mishap with the car, Dave and Wally put their rescue plan into action, with the result that Adele escapes but the two men are captured. In his study, Sutherland reveals that the coin is a room-temperature superconductor, which is extremely valuable. Kirgo and Sutherland are killed during an argument over sharing the profits from the coin’s theft, after which Dave and Wally escape the study and have a violent altercation with Eve and her helicopter pilot. When the police arrive, the remaining criminals are arrested, and Wally and Dave are released having been cleared of the charges. Shortly thereafter, the two men go to a local park and reprise a scene from the beginning of the film by dumping ice-cream cones on each other’s head; enjoying each other’s company.
- Richard Pryor – Wallace “Wally” Karew
- Gene Wilder – Dave Lyons
- Joan Severance – Eve
- Kevin Spacey – Kirgo
- Alan North – Braddock
- Anthony Zerbe – Sutherland
- Louis Giambalvo – Gatlin
- Kirsten Childs – Adele
TriStar Pictures was looking to produce another film starring Wilder and Pryor, and Wilder agreed to do See No Evil, Hear No Evil only if he was allowed to re-write the script. The studio agreed and See No Evil, Hear No Evil premiered on May 1989 to mostly negative reviews. Many critics praised Wilder’s and Pryor’s, and Kevin Spacey‘s performances, but they mostly agreed that the script was terrible. Roger Ebert called it “a real dud“, the Deseret Morning News described the film as “stupid”, with an “idiotic script” that had a “contrived story” and too many “juvenile gags.”On the other hand Vincent Canby called it “by far the most successful co-starring vehicle for Mr. Pryor and Mr. Wilder”, while also acknowledging that “this is not elegant movie making, and not all of the gags are equally clever.”
The film holds 18% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite the negative reviews, the film was a box office success for its time, able to stay at number one for two weeks.
- Ebert, Roger. “See No Evil, Hear No Evil.” RogerEbert.com. May 12, 1989. Retrieved on March 16, 2008.
- Hicks, Chris. “See No Evil, Hear No Evil.” The Deseret Morning News. May 18, 1989. Retrieved on March 16, 2008.
- Canby, Vincent. “Review/Film; Pryor and Wilder Pool Handicaps in ‘See No Evil’.” The New York Times. (May 12, 1989). Retrieved on March 16, 2008.
- “Swayze Flexes Box-Office Muscle”. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
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