The Prisoner of Second Avenue

Synopsis: The story of Mel and Edna (Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft), a middle-class, middle-aged, middle-happy couple living in a Manhattan high rise apartment building. Mel loses his job, the apartment is robbed, Edna gets a job, Mel loses his mind, Edna loses her job . . . to say nothing of the more minor tribulations of nosy neighbors, helpful relatives and exact bus fares. The couple suffers indignity after indignity (some self-inflicted) and when they seem on the verge of surrender, they thumb their noses defiantly and dig the trenches for battle.
Genre: Comedy
Director(s): Melvin Frank
Production: Warner Home Video
  Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination.
98 min

This is Roger Kelting|with the 9:00 report.

The heat wave rolls on|as the city swelters...

...through its eighth consecutive day|of record temperatures in the upper 90s.

The temperature in Central Park|at 9 a.m... 96 degrees with no relief in sight.

More power blackouts in the city today.

And residents in sections of Queens,|Jackson Heights...

...and the Morrisania section of the Bronx|and Bedford area of Brooklyn...

...have been without any lights|or electricity for 1 8 hours.

Wait a minute. Wait!

-Exact change only.|-Well, l'm sorry.

-l didn't wake up with exact change today.|-Off, mister. Let people through.

-Am l supposed to be born with 35 cents--?|-Off! Off!

Oh, for crying....



Forty-seventh and Madison.

Forty-- Forty-seventh and Madison!

-Got any air conditioning up there?|-What?

-Air conditioning!|-Yeah. lt's on. lsn't it great?

lt's great up there.|Back here it's a coffin.

-Here. Keep 35 cents for yourself.|-Hey, what?

Keep 35 cents for yourself!

-lt's locked.|-What's the matter?

lt's jammed. Open this thing!|l can't breathe--

-Stop kicking. You'll break my cab!|-Well, open--

You're very nervous with the kicking|and banging.

l ain't picking you up again.|l don't like nervous people.

They make me nervous!

-Hey, Mel.|-Hey, Charlie.

-No complaints. How's Edna?|-Who?

-Edna.|-Edna? Oh, fine.

-The girls?|-The girls are fine, l guess.

-They're up at school.|-Are you all right?

You look like you haven't slept|in a week.

-l don't sleep in this weather.|-Hear things are rough in the office.

-Rough. You know, lousy.|-What do you--?

-Excuse me.|-Yeah, it's just the season.

-Things'll get better.|-l hope so.

-Wasn't that your floor?|-No. l'm 1 6.

-That was 1 6.|-Oh, God, l must be dreaming.

l'm lucky l'm in the right building.|l'll get off on this next one. See you.

-What's wrong with the doors?|-We're stuck.

-What?|-lt happened yesterday.

-They overload the power.|-We're trapped?

-They know we're here. They'll get it going.|-We should holler for help.

-Press the alarm button.|-Would you press the alarm button?

-l don't think it's working.|-l told you. We should yell for help. Help!

Help! Damn it! Help!

Help. Help.


See you, Mel.


-There's no water.|-Oh, l'm sorry.

Didn't get to fill it.|l was typing letters for Mr. Brockman.

-What's wrong with his secretary?|-She was laid off yesterday.

l'm doubling between you|and Mr. Brockman. That all right?

-Sure. lf you think you can handle it.|-l can handle it, all right.

There really hasn't been that much to do|here lately, has there?

l put some vouchers on your desk to sign.

-For what?|-Sandwich you sent out for yesterday.

From now on, no food can be charged|to the company.

-lt was an egg salad and Coke, wasn't it?|-Yeah, and a big pickle.

-l put down the pickle.|-Good.

Because l don't want to cause any concern|at the annual stockholders' meeting.

Oh, God.

God, God, God.


-Can't you sleep?|-lf l could sleep...

...would l be here calling God|at 2:00 in the morning?

-What's the matter?|-Nothing. Nothing.

Something's the matter, Mel.

lt's 1 2 degrees in here.|Middle of a goddamn heat wave.

-lt's 1 2 degrees in here.|-Turn the air conditioner off.

Then how do we breathe?|84 degrees outside. lt's 1 2 degrees inside.

-Either way, they're gonna get me.|-Want another blanket?

-l ain't got another.|-l called the superintendent.

He said he'd be up to fix it tomorrow.

Why do they bother printing ''high, medium|and low''? Everything is high.

Low is high, medium is high.

One night they'll put it on high|and need a flamethrower to get us out.

-What do you want me to do?|-Go back to sleep.

-l can't sleep when you're tense like this.|-l'm not tense. l'm frozen stiff.

-Are you sure there's nothing else?|-There's nothing else.

Go to sleep, Edna.

Oh, God.

Do you mind if l tell you something?

You were tense when you walked in|the house. You've been tense for a week.

l've seen you when you get this way.|What is it?

lt's nothing. l'm tired.

-l'm up, Mel. You might as well tell me.|-Well, l'm telling you it's nothing!

l don't know. lt's everything.|lt's this apartment.

This building. lt's this city.

lt's this-- Now, listen.

Come listen to this.|Two in the morning.

One car's driving around|in Jackson Heights. We can hear it.

Fourteen stories up, subway's louder|than in the subway.

We're like some kind of an antenna.|Sounds come up here, then out to the city.

-For six years, it never bothered you.|-lt's worse now. l don't know why.

l'm getting older, more sensitive|to sounds and--

Two in the morning.|You believe it's still going on next door?

-What's going on?|-You trying to be funny?

-You don't hear that? You must be deaf.|-l must be deaf. l don't hear a thing.

''The beat, beat, beat of the tom-tom|as the jungle shadows fall''?

Or, ''the tick-tick-tock of the stately clock|against the wall''?

-You don't hear that?|-Not when you're talking or singing...

-...l don't.|-lt's those two German airline hostesses.

Every night they got somebody else.|Hockey players, basketball--

Whatever team's in town.

Win or lose, nobody loses|when they wind up there.

Every goddamn--|Somewhere there's a 747 flying around.

Everybody's serving themselves.|Those broads never leave the apartment.

Holy-- Come here.|Come here.

-Tell me you can't hear that.|-Yes. Now l hear it.

Rate this script:2.3 / 3 votes

Neil Simon

Marvin Neil Simon (born July 4, 1927) credited as Neil Simon, is an American playwright, screenwriter and author. He wrote more than 30 plays and nearly the same number of movie screenplays, mostly adaptations of his plays. He has received more combined Oscar and Tony nominations than any other writer.Simon grew up in New York City during the Great Depression, with his parents' financial hardships affecting their marriage, giving him a mostly unhappy and unstable childhood. He often took refuge in movie theaters where he enjoyed watching the early comedians like Charlie Chaplin. After a few years in the Army Air Force Reserve, and after graduating from high school, he began writing comedy scripts for radio and some popular early television shows. Among them were Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows from 1950 (where he worked alongside other young writers including Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks and Selma Diamond), and The Phil Silvers Show, which ran from 1955 to 1959. He began writing his own plays beginning with Come Blow Your Horn (1961), which took him three years to complete and ran for 678 performances on Broadway. It was followed by two more successful plays, Barefoot in the Park (1963) and The Odd Couple (1965), for which he won a Tony Award. It made him a national celebrity and "the hottest new playwright on Broadway." During the 1960s to 1980s, he wrote both original screenplays and stage plays, with some films actually based on his plays. His style ranged from romantic comedy to farce to more serious dramatic comedy. Overall, he has garnered 17 Tony nominations and won three. During one season, he had four successful plays running on Broadway at the same time, and in 1983 became the only living playwright to have a New York theatre, the Neil Simon Theatre, named in his honor. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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