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
Jerry Lewis remarked in an interview that although he lost $500 in the crap game, he had a lot of fun. 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 »
[while Benji tries to fly the plane, Ding tries putting head phones on Benji's head]
Hey, get outta here.
Put them on.
I don't wanna.
Benji, I tell you, he said the man who's flying should be talking on this thing.
What, am I supposed to everything? You want me to fly the airplane, you want me to work the radio, what are you gonna... What are you, the hostess?
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When the globe explodes and credits fall everywhere, the credits of the animators who worked on the title sequence can be seen. 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 »
Often accused of being less than the sum of its parts, "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World is one of the most precious gems in filmdom. True, it's far from being the funniest movie ever. Once, when Monty Python was putting a film together, they found that after fifty-odd minutes the audience stopped laughing. Thinking it was the material, they recut it so the latter material came out first. The audience still stopped laughing at fifty-odd minutes, even with what MP assumed the funnier materials backloaded. The fact is, people can only laugh so long.
Even armed with the information that an audience cannot sustain laughter for three hours, "Mad World" is not overwhelmingly funny. Though lots of dialogue is amusing and all the performances are outstanding, but the movie suffers from a common delusion of people outside comedy, as Stanley Kramer was, that the mere vision of cars crashing is somehow funny in itself. One is reminded of the spectacular sequence in "1941" when a ferris wheel breaks loose and rolls off a pier into the ocean. The sequence itself is jaw-dropping and extremely well-done, and not funny for a moment.
The value in "Mad World" is its cast. Most of the big names in comedy in the 1950s and 1960s made it into the cast (Ernie Kovaks, arguably the brightest of the lot, originally cast in the Sid Caesar role, unfortunately died not long before shooting started). The casting of name comics in tiny roles doesn't do them justice: Stan Freberg has nothing to do but watch Andy Devine talk on the telephone; Doodles Weaver is an uncredited "Man Outside Hardware Store"; the Three Stooges merely show up to be recognized; even Jack Benny, in a miniscule role funny merely because he's in it, doesn't have an impact today because too few people remember who he was. Again, some milk their small roles for what they are worth, giving the movie an undercurrent of true humor beyond the principals: Don Knotts, Carl Reiner, Jesse White, Paul Ford, Jim Backus.
"Mad World" is most valuable simply because it is a cross-section of comedy in its day. Although he was talented in many ways, anyone unfamiliar with Phil Silvers will see him in a performance that was the epitome of what he was famous for. Dick Shawn's manic wildness is captured forever in a way that is little seen in his few other films. Terry-Thomas, whose brilliance was too often relegated to obscure British films rarely seen anymore, is a joy to watch and his British tilt provides a variation from Americans who learned their craft in the Catskills and Vaudeville. Jonathan Winters, whom Robin Williams used as a prototype, was the most gifted ad-lib comic of his day and rarely showed up well when he was constrained by a script and a sustained character, but he brings off many of the best laughs in this film, and, with Arnold Stang and Marvin Kaplan the most memorable set piece in the movie. Milton Berle and Micky Rooney both bring lifetimes of stage and screen work to the project, and their input was invaluable.
All the principals (Berle, Caesar, Adams, Rooney, Hackett, Terry-Thomas, Shawn, Silvers, Winters, Anderson, Falk) are good. Even the ones who seem to have been shorted of funny lines, like Edie Adams, and Eddie Anderson, nevertheless come off well. Although they blend well together, there is a subtle fight between them for attention, to steal a scene with a facial expressions (watch Adams' face, for instance, when Caesar drags her away, in front of the "Big W", though you may have to put it on slow-motion) or a bit of business. You can see each of them thinking, at all times. Each gives an intelligent performance, having laboriously hammered out their timing and their business, and they're all thinking, with the clockwork brains the best comedians have. They may not all be funny every minute, but every moment they know what they're doing, crafting better performances than many Oscar-winning serious actors have ever turned in.
Though the movie might be too bloated for the promised three hours' hilarious ride, with too much dependence on, "Hey, there's Edward Everett Horton flicking a switch!" But anyone who loves comedy and its history needs -- deserves -- to see the best in the business of comedy in 1963 interacting with their schtick, especially if they don't mind sitting through -- occasionally mindless -- car chases and crashes.
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