See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

One thumb up, one down.

Tuna's notes

See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989) is an Arthur Hiller comedy starring Richard Pryor as a blind man (Wally), and Gene Wilder as a deaf man (Dave). It is the second film in which Hiller brought the two together. Pryor has nine miles of attitude and is a compulsive gambler who tries to hide the fact that he is blind. Dave, adept at lip reading, tries to convince everyone that he can hear. Dave runs a smoke shop/magazine stand, and Wally goes to him looking for a job.

They become embroiled in a spy/murder case involving a fake gold coin (actually a new room temperature super-conductor). Dave sees the shooter's legs, and Wally smells her perfume. They make their case, but the cops end up arresting them for the murder.  Meanwhile, the baddies figure out that the boys have the coin, and try to get them out of jail. At the same time, the boys stage their own escape, and decide to solve the case themselves.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Not every gag worked, but some of them were laugh-out-loud funny, and I liked both cantankerous characters. In one of my two favorite scenes, Wally is in a bar fight, with Dave helping him avoid punches, and telling him where to punch. In another, a police photographer is driven to distraction having Wally tell Dave to face forward, and not move.



  • Widescreen anamorphic 1.85:1

  • and a full screen version, which contains additional nudity


Joan Severance shows buns in a shower behind a frosted door, and breasts leaning out of the shower to get something out of her bag, which Wilder is trying to steal at the time to get the "coin" back. In the 4/3 version, we also get a long look at her breasts when Dave pretends his erection is a gun, and makes her put her hands up, dropping her towel. The full screen version also has a much clearer picture of Severance in the diaphanous top.

Scoop's notes


Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor did four films together, and the quality just kept deteriorating.

  1. Silver Streak (1976)
  2. Stir Crazy (1980)
  3. See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989)
  4. Another You (1991)

The real difference between the first two and the last two was the physical deterioration of Pryor in the intervening decade. In 1980 Pryor was his feisty old self, but by 1989 he was soon to be debilitated completely from a deadly combination of Multiple Sclerosis and substance abuse. Pryor was already getting feeble in See No Evil, and had lost a lot of his brilliant comic energy. Within two years of making this film Wilder/Pryor flop. After that film, Pryor disappeared completely from the public eye for five years.

Pryor wasn't the only disappointment among the lead performers. Kevin Spacey really should have been better as the baddie. After all, he may be the best bad guy in history. He played Lex Luthor. He was the serial killer John Doe in Se7en, the mysterious Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects, and the insane genius Mel Profitt in "Wiseguy." Great roles all. He brought none of that sinister edge to this movie. He spoke with a lame British accent and wasn't even very creepy. His partner in crime in this film was Joan Severance and it was sort of a big deal at the time that Spacey and Severance were teamed together here, because they were just coming off their groundbreaking performances as the evil, incestuous brother and sister crime bosses on "Wiseguy."  Spacey and Severance had exhibited an offbeat chemistry together in that series, but they really had nothing going in this film at all. If Spacey failed to muster much menace, he seemed like Doctor Doom next to Severance, who seemed almost nice.

Unlike his co-stars, Gene Wilder was still pretty much on top of his game in See No Evil, but he was already old by then, so don't expect to see him doing any Willy Wonka somersaults. Already old? Yes, I know the film was made twenty years ago, but for a lot of reasons, Gene Wilder is probably ten years older than you think.

Don't believe me? Quick, how old is he?

He's nearly 80! (76)

See what I mean?

His five greatest comic roles occurred more than 35 years ago, and he was already in his forties when he played The Waco Kid in Blazing Saddles, even though he seemed ten years younger.

  1. Young Frankenstein (1974)
  2. Blazing Saddles (1974)
  3. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (1972)
  4. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
  5. The Producers (1968)

Bottom line: See No Evil is not an utter failure like Another You, but is not very good at all. The film is filled with "schtick" rather than comedy. The comic timing is poor, every joke is telegraphed, and the scenes keep going on and on, repeating the same joke again and again.

On the plus side, Joan Severance looked about as beautiful in this film as any woman has ever looked. Her face was at its peak, her pale blue eyes were electrifying, her body was just plain spectacular, and she removed her clothing. That part was easy to watch.


The Critics Vote

  • Roger Ebert 1.5/4

The People Vote ...

  • It was a minor hit at the box office, grossing $47 million.


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, Tuna says, "The correct score is probably C- for this slapstick comedy, but I found it great fun." Scoop says, "I agree with the C-. The comedy is so poor that you will see every single gag coming in advance, and when they finally do arrive they just don't know when they have worn out their welcome. If Severance had kept her clothes on, I wouldn't recommend the film at all. But she did strip, and that's reason enough for a guy to watch, because she was absolutely magnificent in her prime."

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