We lost Gene Wilder this year, one of the most beloved funnymen on the planet. See three of his best and funniest films on Christmas Day, also the first day of Hanukkah, at this special Gene Wilder Movie Marathon at JCC Manhattan.
Noon – Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory – The last of five coveted “golden tickets” falls into the hands of a sweet but very poor boy. He and his grandpa then get a tour of the strangest chocolate factory in the world. The owner (Gene Wilder) leads five young winners on a thrilling and often dangerous tour of his factory.
2pm – Blazing Saddles – One of the funniest films ever, this satirical take on Westerns written and directed by Mel Brooks, who also plays several bit parts, plus Gene Wilder, Madelaine Kahn, Harvey Korman. The plot – as if you haven’t already seen this brilliant movie at least once: crafty railroad worker Bart (Cleavon Little) becomes the first black sheriff of Rock Ridge, a frontier town about to be destroyed in order to make way for a new railroad. Initially, the people of Rock Ridge harbor a racial bias toward their new leader. However, they warm to him after realizing that Bart and his perpetually drunk gunfighter friend (Gene Wilder) are their only defense against a wave of thugs.
4pm – The Frisco Kid – Harrison Ford and Gene Wilder star as a taciturn gunslinger and a clueless immigrant rabbi traveling across the Wild West. Ranked 87th out of 88 in his rabbinical class, Avram Belinski (Gene Wilder) accepts a posting to Gold Rush-era San Francisco, and sets out from Philadelphia believing he can walk to his destination. Along the way, he befriends bank robber Tommy Lillard (Harrison Ford). As this mismatched pair crosses the frontier, the Old West will never be the same.
Stay for a Hanukkah menorah lighting ceremony at the end of The Frisco Kid, including donuts.
JCC Manhattan is at Amsterdam Ave. and 76th St.