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.Written by
Jeanne Baker <email@example.com>
The pie fight scene lasts four minutes and was shot in five days. It is the longest pie fight sequence in movie history. At first, the cast had fun filming the pie fight scene, but eventually the process grew wearisome and dangerous. Natalie Wood choked briefly on a pie which hit her open mouth. Jack Lemmon got knocked out a few times: "a pie hitting you in the face feels like a ton of cement". At the end of shooting the fight, when Blake Edwards called "Cut!" he was barraged with several hundred pies that members of the cast had hidden, waiting for the moment See more »
In the scene on the beach in the tent when Leslie and Maggie DuBois drink champagne, Leslie puts on a phonograph record of "The Desert Song." The film is set in about 1908; "The Desert Song" did not premiere until 1926. See more »
Master of Ceremonies:
[addressing the crowd]
Ladies and gentlemen, you are about to witness the most spectacular feat ever attempted by the greatest daredevil in the world: The Great Leslie!
[the crowd cheers]
Master of Ceremonies:
He will be strapped in a straightjacket before your very eyes and lifted up into the clouds where eagles soar and no sparrow dares to venture!
[the crowd murmurs]
See more »
Jack Lemmon is only credited as Professor Fate and not for his second role as Crown Prince Hapnik. See more »
The Great Race has been re-released in France in 1996. However, after the race starts, all scenes involving people from the newspaper in New York have been cut. The French authorities or distributors took them as a mockery of the French suffragette's, feminist's and women's lib movements. See more »
THE GREAT RACE may not be a masterpiece--but it is a perfect choice for a cold and rainy night: stylish, frothy, and often flatly hilarious, it makes for "comfort viewing" at its best.
One of the movie's several charms is that it draws heavily from Victorian clichés that still linger in the public mind, gives them a gentle comic spin, and then drops them into the tale of an early 1900s auto race from New York to Paris by way of Siberia. Add to this a heap of favorite character actors, a big budget, flamboyant period costumes, and the biggest pie fight ever filmed, and you have a movie where there is always something to enjoy on the screen.
The great thing about THE GREAT RACE are the performances, which are very broad but endowed with a sly humor. The comedy accolades here go to Jack Lemmon and Peter Falk as the notorious Dr. Fate and his bumbling sidekick Max--wonderful bits of acting that will have you hooting with laughter in every scene--and Dorothy Provine scores memorably in a cameo as Lily Olay, the bombshell singer who presides over the most rootin'-tootin' saloon this side of the Pecos.
But every one, from Tony Curtis and the lovely Natalie Wood down to such cameo performers as Vivian Vance, get in plenty of comic chops as the film drifts from one outrageous episode to another: suffragettes crowding a newspaper, the biggest western brawl imaginable, polar bears, explosions, daredevil antics, and a subplot lifted from THE PRISONER OF ZENDA agreeably crowd in upon each other. True, the film does seem over-long and may drag a bit in spots, but it never drags for very long, and it's all in good fun--and the production values and memorable score easily tide over the bare spots. Lots of fun.
Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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