A matchmaker named Dolly Levi takes a trip to Yonkers, New York to see the "well-known unmarried half-a-millionaire," Horace Vandergelder. While there, she convinces him, his two stock ... See full summary »
Professional daredevil and white-suited hero, The Great Leslie, convinces turn-of-the-century auto makers that a race from New York to Paris (westward across America, the Bering Straight and Russia) will help to promote automobile sales. Leslie's arch-rival, the mustached and black-attired Professor Fate vows to beat Leslie to the finish line in a car of Fate's own invention. The Blake Edwards style of slapstick and song originated with this movie. A dedication to Laurel and Hardy appears at the beginning of the film. Edwards' tribute to Stan and Ollie can be seen most clearly in the interaction between Professor Fate and his cohort Max, as well as in the operatic Pottsdorf pie fight. Written by
Jeanne Baker <email@example.com>
The ice floe sequence was shot on what is now known as Warner Bros. Sound Stage 16, the biggest and tallest sound stage on the Warner Bros. studio lot. Originally, in the early days of the studio, it was known as Stage 7. If you look closely at the water that surrounds the actors and the automobiles on the slab of ice, you can see a multitude of reflections from the lights on the stage's catwalks. Stage 16 was originally a standard-sized sound stage, but when the studio needed room to film tall-masted ships in its earlier years, the entire stage was jacked up while steel and concrete pilasters were built underneath the structure for added support, doubling the stage's height after the new foundation was poured. Its floor is retractable to reveal a deep flotation tank as well as windowed camera cabins for underwater filming. In "The Great Race," a portion of the gradually "melting ice floe" was attached to cables that kept the slab of "ice" in position and the portion which gradually gave way underneath Professor Fate was pulled down by an underwater diver in the tank. See more »
The American flag displayed near the beginning of the race has 48 stars. In 1908, when this movie supposedly takes place, there were only 46 states (New Mexico and Arizona were admitted in 1912, and Alaska and Hawaii were admitted in 1959). See more »
Starts with the dedication "For Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy". Opening credits are in the form of a turn of the century slide show, beginning with "Ladies kindly remove your hats". The WB logo is drawn on the hood of a car. When the main characters are introduced, Jack Lemmon is jeered (and sticks out his tongue in reply), Tony Curtis cheered and Natalie Wood gets dog whistles. There are various hiccups along the way: a fly is shooed off by a stick, the lights go out and a (real) hand with a match comes on. Other slides have to be adjusted by hand. When one of them starts to burn, "One moment please" is interjected. The producers' credit is upside down. The last slide turns into the opening shot of the movie. See more »
Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, memorably paired in "Some Like It Hot", tried it again in "The Great Race". Natalie Wood was a reluctant addition, with a new biography of this actress repeating her displeasure with the film and its director. Peter Falk, not yet Columbo, rounded out a globetrotting quartet chasing first prize in the 1908 New York to Paris automobile race.
Much has been made of how the script's "Prisoner of Zenda" subplot slows the action. Yet these scenes shot in Salzburg have contributed several zingers to the stock of movie quotes floating around in general circulation. Someone must have liked the "Potzdorf" episode, as "More brandy!" and "Drat!
I never mix my pies!" remain among Jack Lemmon's most cited lines.
Surviving participants in the real-life 1908 competition did not care for this trashing of their personal history. I loved it on its first release way back when, and it remains a pleasant (if long) watch on cable TV and home video.
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