My favorite part of this documentary is Buddy Hackett's impersonation of Peter Falk and Eddie Anderson and how they interacted off-camera. Hilarious AND insightful.
Equally insightful and humorous are stunt director Carey Loftin's tales of his on-the-set clashes with Stanley Kramer. Not once does he come right out and say that they didn't like each other, but you get the impression from his interviews (interspersed throughout the documentary) that their personalities (message man vs. stuntman) did not mix well while making this film. Yet, Loftin is a gentleman and even enjoys a laugh at his own expense when recalling a trick Kramer played on him.
Sid Caesar and Edie Adams deliver some lively anecdotes about the stuntwork and about Milton Berle's legendary camera-hogging.
Berle and Jerry Lewis both adopt their "wise old man of comedy" personas for their interviews and subsequently fail to deliver any significant insights into the making of the film. Berle throws around some flattering generalizations about his co-stars (too rambling to repeat here), but ultimately fails to tell us WHY they were/are so great. Even so, I think Berle's interviews are tolerable (both because of his importance to the original film and because some of his jokes in the interview are actually funny).
Jerry Lewis on the other hand....
He tells one good story about making $500 for his "Mad World" cameo and then turning right around and losing it all to Phil Silvers in an on-the-set crap game. The rest of his comments are 100% phony-baloney showbiz-lovefest garbage! Examples:
"Milton Berle is a teacher..." "Mickey Rooney was the first genius..." About Spencer Tracy: "I wish he was MY father..."
Mickey Rooney's contributions to this documentary, while not as morose as Jer's, are even less insightful and should have been axed from the final product altogether. He obviously refused to be interviewed and instead consented to present two short speeches---one lauding Kramer and the other praising the film in general. His first appearance occurs near the end of the documentary. He says absolutely nothing of value or importance. They shouldn't have bothered turning on the camera if he wasn't willing to really talk about making the movie.
The one surviving cast member that I sorely missed in this tribute was Dorothy Provine. I know she retired from show business, but it would make so many people happy to see her again (not just in this documentary, but ANYtime!) What happened to Dorothy? And don't tell me she joined a convent!
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