It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD (U)
D: Stanley Kramer
United Artists/Casey (Stanley Kramer)
W: William Rose & Tania Rose
DP: Ernest Laszlo
Ed: Frederic Knudtson, Robert C. Jones & Gene Fowler, Jr.
Mus: Ernest Gold
PD: Rudolph Sternad
Cos: Bill Thomas
Spencer Tracy (Capt. C.G. Culpepper), Milton Berle (J. Russell Finch), Sid Caesar (Melville Crump), Buddy Hackett (Benjy Benjamin), Ethel Merman (Mrs. Marcus), Mickey Rooney (Ding Bell), Dick Shawn (Sylvester Marcus), Phil Silvers (Otto Meyer), Terry-Thomas (J. Algernon Hawthorne), Jonathan Winters (Lennie Pike)
It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is a mad, mad, mad, mad movie. Director Stanley Kramer spared no expense bringing this slapstick compendium to the screen, casting a cornucopia of comedy talent and utilising practically every stunt man available in Hollywood in 1963.
The story sees a dying gangster (Jimmy Durante in a brief cameo), admit with his last muster that he buried $350,000 under a "Big W" somewhere in California. Those who bear witness bicker over how the money should be split before they scarper off on their own in a madcap dash to find the loot, pursued every step of the way by shady Police Captain Culpepper, who has his own reasons for wanting to locate the cash.
Though there's a lot of characters thrown into this bag of mixed nuts, the story is simple to keep up with, though it does have a few moments of overkill, especially in the last act.
Still, it's a fine tribute to the comedy art of slapstick, with some fun performances, Ethel Merman in particular, gleefully upstaging everyone.
The $7m price tag in 1963 seems modest nowadays, but it was a hefty one in 1963. But considering Cleopatra was produced the same year, this seems like pocket change to production studio United Artists.
A fun matinee movie for a rainy bank holiday.