The story begins during a massive traffic jam, caused by reckless driver Smiler Grogan, who, before kicking the bucket, cryptically tells the assembled drivers that he's buried a fortune in stolen loot, under the Big W. All of the motorists set out to find the fortune.Written by
Contrary to popular belief, the car that Jack Benny drives in his cameo is not a Maxwell, the defunct brand of automobile famed as his "jalopy" on his radio show. The car he is driving is a 1931 or 1932 Cadillac. It is either a Series 355-0A (which came with a V-8 engine) or a Series 370-A (which came with a V-12 engine). See more »
While Ding is talking to the control tower, the headphones are hanging behind him, then over his ears, and then back behind him. See more »
Then some hands (presumably the characters themselves) move their credit to the top of the list, causing a squabble and shuffle to occur.
The final order is Silvers, Rooney, Berle, Winters, Merman, Hackett, Terry-Thomas, Caesar, and Shawn. See more »
The original 70mm roadshow version ran 192 minutes (excluding overture and entr'acte music). This 70mm version was then re-edited to 162 minutes, and in the subsequent 35mm general and worldwide release it was cut further to 154 minutes. The original video version was mastered off the 35mm negative and also ran 154 minutes. In the early 1990s, 20 minutes of additional 70mm footage was found in the form of an old theatrical print in an old film warehouse slated for demolition and was transferred to video which was then combined with the 35mm footage video transfer to create the new "video restoration" The original 192-minute, 65mm camera negative print has not been restored and it would appear that the missing original negative segments and the additional scenes, which include a musical dance number, Culpepper and Jimmy's phone conversation, plus a few more scenes involving a TV news anchorman detailing news about the race for the buried money, have been irretrievably lost. The new "video restoration" runs approximately 186 minutes which includes both parts, as well as the overture and entr'acte music, as well as the intermission and closing music. See more »
It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World has to be the funniest film ever made because no one, but Stanley Kramer ever got so many funny people together in one film. With a cast headed by his favorite dramatic player to boot.
Four out of Spencer Tracy's last five films were made for Stanley Kramer. The others, Inherit the Wind, Judgment at Nuremberg, and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner dealt with weighty issues like, free speech, genocide, and interracial marriage. What It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World deals with is greed, simple normal human greed. If something looks too good to be true, chances are it is.
Jimmy Durante an old time crook crashes off a highway and down a steep cliff. He's on the way to digging up the loot from a $350,000.00 robbery from years ago. His dying words tell those people went to aid him where in Santa Rosita Park the loot is buried. Off the group of them go, every man and woman for themselves, with some alliances of family and convenience. A few more treasure seekers get picked up along the way.
That barebones plot description doesn't begin to tell you about some of the funny sequences that follow, Buddy Hackett and Mickey Rooney in a private plane with a drunken pilot Jim Backus passed out, Edie Adams and Sid Caesar trapped in a hardware store desperately trying to get out, Jonathan Winters as the lunkhead truck driver generally running amuck wherever he goes, and Milton Berle the henpecked husband of all time married to the beautiful Dorothy Provine, her braindead brother Dick Shawn and Ethel Merman the mother-in-law from hell. Berle has a package deal and when you watch the film, you'll see what I mean.
Along the way, the treasure hunters pick up Terry-Thomas, Phil Silvers, Peter Falk and Eddie Anderson. And they leave a whole lot of some of the best character actors and comedians who each in their own way contributes a certain specialty they're famous for.
There are two unbilled appearances by Jack Benny and Jerry Lewis each in situations that show off their peculiar style of comedy.
Watching it all is Spencer Tracy as the Captain of Detectives of the Santa Rosita, Police Department both before the camera and between takes. I remember seeing a quotation by Stanley Kramer that with all these comedians on the set, Tracy was like a king with a hundred jesters, each looking to amuse him. Tracy besides keeping track of this freak show has some domestic problems of his own which are told in telephone conversations with the city pension bureau, his wife, and his daughter. Tracy's expressions are priceless.
My favorite in this film has always been Ethel Merman. Mainly because I know someone back in Brooklyn named Gladys who's exactly like Ethel is here right down to the flaming red hair. I haven't lived in Brooklyn for nine years now, but reports I get say she hasn't changed. I can't watch this film and see Merman without thinking of dear Gladys and the schlump that married her.
It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World is about greed, yet greed has never been presented with such rip roaring humor as it is in this film. For those who need a good laugh and who in this world doesn't.
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