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The Great Race More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great non-stop fun!

Author: Boba_Fett1138 from Groningen, The Netherlands
4 November 2005

I wish I had discovered this movie earlier! I haven't laughed that much during a movie since a long time. The movie was extremely fun and entertaining. The humor is slapstick/cartoon like. It was like watching one of those old Hannah-Barbera cartoons. The comical sequences were constructed extremely well and the timing by director Blake Edwards was brilliant! I laughed and smiled my way through this movie.

The story and the situations in this movie are just crazy! It's typical Blake Edwards like and the humor in it can be compared to his early Pink Panther movies. There are some unforgettable comical moments and situations. The movie features a great stereotypical Western Saloon fight in which everyone fights everyone and it also features a great good old fashioned pie fight. 2 fine examples of some hilarious and memorable comical sequences. The movie is truly supported by the highly fun musical score by Henry Mancini.

The movie has an absolutely amazing cast. Tony Curtis is a perfect leading man and Jack Lemmon is highly entertaining as the stereotypical 'villain'. Lemmon plays a double-role in this movie, besides Professor Fate he also plays Prince Hapnik. I had never seen him playing a character(s) like this in a movie. It is extremely over-the-top of course but it's highly fun to watch and he seemed to had lots of fun playing in this movie. His dumb stereotypical henchman is played by Peter Falk, before he got fame for playing Lt. Columbo. Natalie Wood is also enjoyable in her role.

Only thing that too bad about this movie is that it's too long. The movie is like two and an halve hours long. It's not that the movie ever gets boring or tiresome after a while. It's just that some of the events in the movie feel stretched out and are perhaps a bit overdone. They could and should had reduced the movie to keep it more consistent.

If you like silly cartoon-like humor or are a fan of the Pink Panther movie's, than this is an absolute must see! As a matter fact, everyone should just simply watch this movie! It's highly entertaining and fun!


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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Luminous, Stylish, and Hilarious; Blake Edwards' Masterpiece of Mirth

Author: silverscreen888
6 July 2005

For more than two hours, "The Great Race" parodies the form of race films; it is the longest of all rallies, the most extended of all contests. Its theme is a surprising one for a comedy, the need for realism, regardless of what goals one chooses or the means one adopts to reach them. The storyline tells of a great challenge to early automakers and their intrepid cross-country drivers. Adventurer The Great Leslie proposes the event to a group of men at a motorcar company; and they get a great New York newspaper to sponsor the rally. Of course, the Leslie Special, built to his specifications, is supposed to win, thereby proving the superiority of their product. Many others, including rival daredevil Professor Fate, enter the contest also. It is a road rally, with the contestants starting in New York amidst a tremendous crowd and driving--to Paris, France...There are several kickers in the mix, of course. Maggie Dubois, intrepid and ambitious girl reporter and suffragette gets the editor of the New York Sentinel, the sponsoring paper, to enter her in the race as both reporter and contestant. Professor Fate and his henchman Max plan to sabotage any contestant who threatens their chances. And there are the vicissitudes of the weather, the places they must visit, the need to keep finding gas, Maggie's own underhanded schemes and hidden agenda, the governments of the places they must obtain help from and the vagaries of road, trail and accident, the need for spare parts and the racers' contentious personalities. Major problems develop in Borracho, a western town, the crossing to Asia, Russia, the principality of Pottsdorf and Paris itself. And the ending itself is inconclusive, since Fate wins but only because Leslie, falling in love with Maggie after a film-long battle of the sexes, lets him do so. Fate immediately refuses to accept the winner's prize that way--and loudly and publicly challenges .the couple to another race--Paris--to New York...As the racers depart on the second contest, we are treated by director Blake Edwards to another of Fate's tricks...before our eyes the Eiffel Tower is dynamited and sinks into a heap of rubble; as certain as Fate is untrustworthy, the second race--unfortunately never filmed--promised to be filled with nefarious acts and exciting adventures also. Director Blake Edwards and Arthur A. Ross produced the screenplay, as a tribute to Laurel and Hardy; cinematography was supplied by Russell Harlan. Henry Mancini's music is heard behind costumes by Don Feld, gowns by Edith Head, very fine art direction and production design supplied by Fernando Carrere and George James Hopkins' wonderful set decorations. Everything about this very stylish production is luminous and very well-done; and it is a difficult realization on film because of the indoor, outdoor, foreign, multiplicitous and turn-of-the-century scenes involved. As Leslie, Tony Curtis is professional and likable. Jack Lemmon's Professor Fate is one of his finest screen roles. Others in the cast are also outstanding, included Natalie Wood as Maggie, Arthur O'Connell as the Sentinel's editor, Marvin Kaplan as his assistant, George Macready in Pottsdorf, Hal Smith, Dorothy Provine and Larry Storch in Borracho, Keenan Wynn as Leslie's assistant Hezekiah, and Ross Martin, superb as the villain in Pottsdorf. This is a sunny, enjoyable adventure with an element of farcical fantasy about it that makes it look to me a fable come to life. Only a handful of films have this much style, fun and genial satire in them; and none I find more visually interesting nor beautiful than "The Great Race". It is also a story filled with laughs and interesting dialogue as well.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Oh, to participate in this race!

Author: Lee Eisenberg ( from Portland, Oregon, USA
14 June 2005

Sometimes, it's good to think that certain movies have no purpose except to be funny. "The Great Race" is one such movie. You know how in "Dr. Strangelove", the characters' names describe who they are? Well, in this movie, it's even more exaggerated. Set in 1908, Tony Curtis plays eternally kind stuntman Leslie Gallant III, Jack Lemmon plays the dastardly Professor Fate, Natalie Wood plays photographer Maggie DuBois, Peter Falk plays Fate's assistant Max Meen, and Keenan Wynn plays Gallant's assistant Hezekiah Sturdy.

Think that all sounds crazy? Well, that's just the tip of the iceberg. After Fate and Gallant try to best each other in some stunts (with the latter always doing better, of course), Gallant proposes a New-York-to-Paris race, and so Fate and Maggie enlist. Throughout the race, a series of wacky things happen: a brawl in an old western town, an unwanted trip across the Bering Sea, and a pie fight.

When I first saw "The Great Race" when I was eight, the only cast member whom I recognized was Dorothy Provine, as a singer in the old western town - I had previously seen her in "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"; in the process of watching the movie, I learned the names Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Natalie Wood and Peter Falk (Falk also starred in "IAMMMMW", but he didn't appear until very late in the movie, so I hadn't picked up on it). Now, when I look at "The Great Race" cast, it's almost hard for me to believe that it also stars Ethel Mertz, Artemus Gordon, Gen. Batguano, Col. Agarn (from "F Troop") and Otis (from "The Andy Griffith Show). Whoa...

It's pure hilarity from start (one of Fate's dirty tricks) to finish (the French are probably glad that this isn't a true story).

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Happy 40th Anniversary, Great Leslie & Co!

Author: laura.g from San Clemente, CA
3 June 2005

I agree with whoever said that The Great Race is worthy of a special re-release and restoration! Long over due! I was just watching it (again!) tonight-and I still laughed and cheered just like I did the first time-in the summer of 1965! Yes! This summer marks the 40th anniversary of it's initial U.S. release! Not only has this movie inspired people to go into film (one person I know)-it inspired a cross country antique auto rally called-The Great Race! This year is the 23rd running. Nearly everyone on the race is a fan of the movie-they quote lines to each other from time to time even!A couple of years ago, one of the guys bought the Leslie Special, restored it and showed it along with one of the Hannibal 8s at the finish-Good Grief-that car is gorgeous! You half expected stars to flash from it's head lamps like they did from Tony Curtis's eyes! Everyone-on July first-rent it, buy it, play your copy if you have one-invite friends and give this movie a birthday bash! I know I will!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

One of the best slap stick comedies ever...

Author: Dean from Virginia
13 May 2005

I can always default to The Great Race, and it never disappoints. Well-edited and superbly acted, The Great Race blends three story-lines into a hilarious movie that never has a dull moment. Jack Lemmon is outstanding as Professor Fate---I can't imagine anyone else playing the role. Tony Curtis is perfect, and Natalie Wood has never looked or been better. Supported by Keenan Wynne and Peter Falk as assistants and sidekicks, the movie steadily progresses from the preparations for the race, the race itself, some crazy sidebars, and then the great finale. Wedged in is one of the best pie fights Hollywood has ever produced. Lemmon's character actually has sympathetic elements that he plays on very well, and it all is packaged and delivered nicely with fine cinematography and location shots. Family safe and just the right length, it is an excellent choice.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Still funny after all these years

Author: dafrieze from United States
10 June 2002

I'm old enough to have seen this movie when it first came out, so I'm entitled to be a little curmudgeonly when I watch contemporary "moron" comedies and wonder where Hollywood went wrong. This one has elegance (not merely visual, although this and "The Pink Panther" are probably the two most beautiful slapstick comedies ever made), intelligence, sophistication and lots of laughs. All the performances are first-rate (Lemmon and Falk made a wonderful team), and although the film runs out of steam in the last twenty minutes or so (and it's a LONG movie - I remember it having an intermission, in the days when long movies had intermissions), it's still more authentically funny than more than a handful of comedies that have been made since the end of the '60's.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Good fun: no brains required

Author: Dave Stewart from N. Bend, WA
27 May 2002

I saw this film when it first came out and it made me laugh then. Of course, I'm a bit older now, but still enjoy it now, but for different reasons.

It plain old slapstick comedy with a great cast. It's based on a true story, but is made in comic book format; no-death/blood violence, pie fights, pug dogs, and Otto-Mobiles.

And also watch for the tribute to A Prisoner of Zenda, with a twist.

I guarantee that after you see this you will never meet another person in your life named Max, and not hear Jack Lemon's wailing of Peter Falk's name (Maaaaxxxxxxxxx!)

Turn it on, disengage brain, and have a good time. Let the kids watch too. Mindless fun for ALL ages.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

One of the best of the '60s star-studded caper films.

Author: baranger from Connecticut, USA
7 April 2002

Blake Edwards dedicated The Great Race to Laurel & Hardy, but it's actually kin to films like Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines and It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. It's a sprawling, funny, slapstick film with unusually high production values and very funny performances by Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Peter Falk. Natalie Wood is delicious, as usual. Its epic length (it has an intermission) and sweeping worldwide scope makes it a great babysitter even for young teens. My kids wore out the VHS version twice, and I waited to order it on DVD for several years. There is no better example of 60's caper humor, and even adults will find it to be a great way to spend a few hours with the family. (Bit of trivia: Jack Lemmon's famous cannon-carrying car, The Hannibal 8, still exists at the Petersen auto museum in Los Angeles.)

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

How great movies used to be made. No spoilers.

Author: DB (alembic) from Australia
4 January 2002

When you watch this film and find yourself laughing and marvelling at the beautiful look of it and the sense that the cast themselves are having a great time , it is with a pang of loss that you realise what "modern" films are often missing. How fortunate I now find myself to have been treated to "real" filmmaking over the years before computer graphics ( good as they are today ) took the place of real props and sets. I am fortunate also to have seen this film in it's original release and so can still remember my delight in it as a child. No swearing/cursing no jaded/cynical jokes .. just pure fun.

Hollywood these days seems to long for these types of film as witnessed by the endless 'remakes' of older films but usually the remakes fall short of the original. Perhaps this is because of the heavy reliance these days on 'special effects' or 'blockbuster explosions etc etc' has meant modern filmmakers have lost the focus of what makes good cinema. Of course new rare gems do surface these days occasionaly above the B grade pulp but they are becoming increasingly rare ( not to ignore the fact of course that there were plenty of B grade offerings from the past also ).

Treat yourself and see this film. Unfortunately STILL only available on VHS. Even so the film still looks great with beautiful cinematography and wonderful costumes. The look and feel of the film is perfect thanks to Blake Edwards and his team. A great cast - Jack Lemmon steals the show with two roles ( Professor Fate/Prince Hapnick ) but Tony Curtis gives a fine performance as Leslie in perhaps a slightly more difficult role as part comic/part straight man. Natalie Wood looks beautiful and must have spent most of her time changing the myriad costumes she wears. Peter Faulk as always is terrific - I can't imagine anyone else playing the 'Max' character. Keenan Wynn and a bevy of great character actors fill out the fine ensemble/supporting cast. A big rollercoaster fun ride with perhaps the biggest pie-fight ever filmed.

I wait for wide-screen DVD release - enjoy.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

For Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy

Author: pghmoe from pittsburgh
6 October 2001

Imagine if this film were done today. The effects would all be cg-includeing the stunts. There would most likely be some toilet humor injected into the shenannigans of Professor Fate and instead of period music we would get a rap peice or two.

Blake Edwards wisely dedicated the film to two great comedians and stuck to the period with great flavor. While it is a bit labored in some spots, there is much to reccomenmend: The pie fight, the bar room brawl and the sword fight (with a great payoff for the late Ross Martin)all make nice set peices; Professor Fate's daredevil attempts to one-up The Great Leslie and the wonderfull chemistry between Jack Lemmon and Peter Falk.

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