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>
Towards the end of the movie, when everyone's encamped and cleaning-up from the pie fight, Heziakiah (Keenan Wynn) starts noodling around on his left-handed guitar. When he puts it down, Maggie (Natalie Wood) picks it up and starts playing it right-handed and singing "The Sweetheart Tree". The string order would have been wrong and completely reversed for her to play it. See more »
When Professor Fate is lifted by an airplane flown by Max, the plane resembles a Curtiss Headless Pusher. This plane was not designed and built until 1912, four years after the year in which this movie was set. In July of 1908 Glenn Curtiss flew his June Bug design, which was the first public exhibition of flight in the US (the Wright Brothers had not yet flown publicly). The 1908 June Bug and the 1912 Headless Pusher bear little resemblance to each other. In reality, the June Bug was not as nimble and stable as the Pusher, so it is understandable why the 1912 design was used in the movie. 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 »
I cannot believe that "The Great Race" did not make it on AFI's 100 Funniest Movies list (well, actually I CAN believe it, since those lists seem very messed up to me). In fact, it has not gotten nearly as much recognition as it deserves.
It is simply one of the funniest movies I have ever seen! The whole cast shines (especially Lemmon, who should have won an Oscar for Best Scene Stealer). Besides the great slapstick, there are a million subtle details that you don't notice unless you are really paying attention. This is why the movie is still great after several viewings: each time you watch it, you are bound to catch some little joke you didn't see before.
Everything about this movie cracks me up. The contrast in character between Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon is just great, the chemistry between the different characters is great, the movie parodies are great, the sets are great, the slapstick is great, and the dialogue is great. Even the MUSIC is funny... every time that goofy theme music for Professor Fate starts playing, I start laughing.
If you haven't seen this, I highly suggest you rent it. Yes, it is long, but it is one of the few comedies I have seen that keeps up the laughs consistently... it never sags or has dull moments. It is downright hilarious from start to finish.
And to top it all off, it has some very cool cars.
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