Movie. It’s a mad mad mad mad world, 1963.

Posted by T on October 07, 2006
By Title, Movies

This seems to have been made for the specific purpose of show-casing as many comedians in funny roles as possible. Usually, the comedians are shown in small groups acting out situations that are subplots of the main arc, which is the mad dash cross-California to retrieve a large hidden stash of money that they find out about at the beginning from something Jimmy Durante tells them just before (literally) kicking the bucket.

I found the movie even funnier on the second viewing, which is a good sign. But I hold with my original complaint as well, which is that it is about 20% too long. Indeed, even the title is about 20% too long! Some of the subplots are simply drawn out too long; I want to say, “Okay, I got it, next!”

An exception is the thread assigned to Sid Caesar and Edie Adams. Their situations are simply perfect, from the WWI-vintage airplane ride to trying to break out of the hardware store basement. Edie Adams deserves a lot of credit as the “straight girl” to set up Caesar’s facial expressions and antics.

On the other hand, they lay it on a bit too thick for my taste with Ethel Merman ‘s loud-mouthing as Milton Berle’s shrewish mother-in-law.

Nonetheless, of an evening with a beer and nothing to do, it won’t really seem too long.

Watch for minor roles of Don Knotts (future Barney Fife of Mayberry), Peter Falk (future Columbo) and Jim Backus (future Thurston Howell on Gilligan’s Island).



5 Comments to Movie. It’s a mad mad mad mad world, 1963.

  • Our family loves to save movies like “Mad World” (You’re right the title is too long!) for those special times when we are too tired to concentrate and too dumb to go to bed, like after a day on the ski slopes. Ever see “Surf Ninjas’?!

  • This is slap stick comedy at its best. We took my father-in-law to see this at the Dome in Hollywood when it first came out. I never saw him laugh so hard, and so much. There was so much laughter in theater it was hard to hear a lot of the lines. This one is more for the older generation. Corny but a lot of old time heavy weights in this movie. Good review.

  • This is what I hate about those list shows on E! or VH1. They say they are going to give us the 101 Funniest Comedies of all time then the top 20 or so consists of the moronic fare spewed out in the last 10 years or so.

    It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is simply the greatest comedy ever made. Period.

  • A day skiing followed by Mad World sounds pretty wonderful to me. So does seeing it at the Dome in Hollywood. Marline– I’ll check out Surf Ninjas.

  • I have watched It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World probably more than thirty times. It is the greatest motion picture ever made.

    Ed Z.

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