Arthur Hiller's comedy-mystery-romance starring Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor puts enough of a twist on Alfred Hitchcock's classic North by Northwest to provide a pleasurable two hours. The melodramatic farce sends businessman Wilder on a cross-country train trip, during which a tryst with Jill Clayburgh draws him into the proverbial web of murder and intrigue surrounding villain Patrick MacGoohan. Before long, Richard Pryor is added to the mix as a thief, and the film really takes off. The various genres are well meshed in this broadly conceived comedy, the best of the Pryor/Wilder collaborations. Two of the most brilliant comic figures in film history, both were at their peak during this period. Probably their most famous scene together, too politically incorrect for the present, is that in which Pryor tries to teach Wilder, the whitest of white men, how to act black. The cast, which also includes such talented veterans as Ned Beatty, Ray Walston, and Clifton James, is almost uniformly excellent, and the sometimes mediocre Hiller gives the film the brisk pace of a classic farce. Silver Streak's enormous success resulted in a re-teaming for Stir Crazy (1980).
by Michael Costello review