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It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

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It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#1
Posted: 11/23/07 at 6:25pm
I should not love this movie so much. I really shouldn't.

It's BIG and DUMB. Not only is it DUMB but it's STUPID. Not only is it STUPID, but it's DUMB. I mean really.

But every time I watch it, I'm tickled like a kid at Christmas. I love everyone in this movie, and pretty much everyone IS in this movie:

Edie Adams as Monica Crump, wife of Melville Crump
Milton Berle as edible seaweed company owner J. Russell Finch
Sid Caesar as dentist Melville Crump (a role originally meant for Ernie Kovacs before his death in a car accident)
Buddy Hackett as comedy writer Benjy Benjamin
Ethel Merman as Mrs. Marcus, mother-in-law of J. Russell Finch and a very cranky woman
Dorothy Provine as Emeline Marcus-Finch, wife of J. Russell Finch
Mickey Rooney as comedy writer Dingy 'Ding' Bell
Dick Shawn as Sylvester Marcus, Mrs. Marcus' son and Emeline's brother
Phil Silvers as the out-of-work piano player Otto Meyer
Terry-Thomas as Lt. Col. J. Algernon Hawthorne
Spencer Tracy as Captain C.G. Culpepper
Jonathan Winters as truck driver Lennie Pike
Secondary characters:

Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson as a cab driver
William Demarest as Santa Rosita's chief of police (Aloysius)
Jimmy Durante as Smiler Grogan
Peter Falk as a cab driver
Paul Ford as Col. Wilberforce
Cameo appearances by:

Jim Backus as boozy airplane owner Tyler Fitzgerald
Jack Benny as a man who drives by in a Maxwell, offering to help
Paul Birch as a policeman
Ben Blue as the biplane pilot
Joe E. Brown as the union official
Alan Carney as a police sergeant
Chick Chandler as detective outside of Chinese laundry
Barrie Chase as Sylvester's love interest
John Clarke as helicopter pilot
Stanley Clements as squad room detective
Lloyd Corrigan as the mayor of Santa Rosita
Howard Da Silva as airport official
Andy Devine as the sheriff
Selma Diamond (voice only) as Ginger Culpepper
Minta Durfee as a crowd extra
Roy Engel as patrolman
Norman Fell as a detective
James Flavin as patrolman
Stan Freberg as a deputy sheriff
Nicholas Georgiade as detective
Louise Glenn (voice only) as Billie Sue Culpepper
Leo Gorcey as a cab driver
Don C. Harvey as policeman
Sterling Holloway as the fire chief
Edward Everett Horton as Mr. Dinckler
Allen Jenkins as police officer
Marvin Kaplan as garage man Irwin
Robert Karnes as Officer Simmy
Buster Keaton as Jimmy the Crook (boatman)
Tom Kennedy as the traffic cop
Don Knotts as the nervous motorist
Charles Lane as the airport manager
Harry Lauter as police dispatcher
Ben Lessy as George the steward
Bobo Lewis as pilot's wife
Jerry Lewis as the man who runs over Culpepper's hat
Mike Mazurki as the miner bringing medicine to his wife
Charles McGraw as Lt. Matthews
Cliff Norton as a reporter
Barbara Pepper as a crowd extra
ZaSu Pitts as the switchboard operator
Carl Reiner as the tower controller
Madlyn Rhue as Secretary Schwartz
Roy Roberts as a policeman
Eddie Ryder as air traffic control tower staffer
Arnold Stang as garage man Ray
Nick Stewart as migrant truck driver
The Three Stooges as airport firemen
Sammee Tong as a laundryman
Doodles Weaver as a hardware store employee
Jesse White as an air traffic controller

It's hard to say who's my favorite. Today, it's Ethel Merman as the quintessential mother-in-law from Hell. I can't stop laughing at everything she does and says. I feel like I'm watching it today for the first time... on a wide screen TV, and BOY does it make a difference!

This is such a guilty pleasure movie. Who else wants to "confess?"
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#2
Posted: 11/23/07 at 6:32pm
re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
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Updated On: 11/23/07 at 06:32 PM
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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#2
Posted: 11/23/07 at 6:36pm
I enjoyed the film up until the ending, then it went down hill. But way too long.
"Love the Art in Yourself. Not Yourself in the Art." -- Stanislavski
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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#3
Posted: 11/23/07 at 6:37pm
When I was a kid, this was my FAVORITE movie.

My favorite part of the movie is Sylvester's dancing girlfriend. She cracks me up every time.
I starred in a short film called Magnetic Personality. Check it out!
Updated On: 11/23/07 at 06:37 PM
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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#4
Posted: 11/23/07 at 6:44pm
all my life i've wondered exactly how they decided just how many MADs to put in the title. (i think i would have included six.)
RIP glebby <3
Updated On: 11/23/07 at 06:44 PM
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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#5
Posted: 11/23/07 at 6:45pm
I recall seeing the film in Cinerama at the Warner Cinerama theater in NYC - now gone

They redid the theater for Cinerama as it was the Mark Strand before. I enjoyed it but it was cut over the years & finally is now in its almost complete form. The opening discussion of how they divide up the loot is now much better with the cut stuff put back in. The main problem I had than & more now is the atrocious process photography & the fact that you can clearly see the stuntmen being used.
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Updated On: 11/23/07 at 06:45 PM
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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#6
Posted: 11/23/07 at 6:46pm
I must confess to not having seen this film.
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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#7
Posted: 11/23/07 at 6:48pm
I love this movie. Everytime I'm in an area with palm trees, I look for some that make a W.
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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#8
Posted: 11/23/07 at 7:47pm
It's one of my favorite films, and my favorite Spencer Tracy performance. As for Cinerama, it's not. It was billed as "single camera" Cinerama, or Super-Cinerama (which is how I saw it, at our Cinerama Theater, The Boyd) but that doesn't really make any sense. It was Super Panavision 70. It didn't hold a candle to true three camera, three projector Cinerama (i.e., How The West Was Won).
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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#9
Posted: 11/23/07 at 10:11pm
They billed it as Cinerama so what can I say

They did this as it was much easier filming it & exhibiting it than the 3 panel job.
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Updated On: 11/24/07 at 10:11 PM
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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#10
Posted: 11/23/07 at 10:42pm
This movie opened the "Cineramadome" in Hollywood in 1963 on Sunset Blvd. That's where the premiere was held. It was the first movie to use the single-camera Cinerama technique.

It's now part of the Archlight theatres.

Only two full-length feature films were made using the original 3-camera, 26 frames-per-second "Cinerama" technique: The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm and How the West Was Won. The name "Cinerama" was adopted by the single camera 65mm process that evolved out of it, when the 3-camera technique proved to be too costly and impractical. (Eventually it turned into Ultra Panavision 70 and Super Panavision 70mm)

Good ol' Wikipedia has an excellent entry on the subject. It talks about all of the above and more.

So in a way, you're both right! re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinerama
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#11
Posted: 11/23/07 at 10:50pm
Haven't seen this in eons, but Terry Thomas always makes me laugh. The film that gives me the giggles is The Court Jester.
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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#12
Posted: 11/23/07 at 10:55pm
The Court Jester = Genius! I feel no guilt about that pleasure.
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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#13
Posted: 11/23/07 at 10:58pm
Speaking of the 3 panel jobs, the buffalo stampede in HTWWW , especially if you were sitting dead center, blew you away

A bit of trivia: This Is Cinerama premiered at the Broadway theater. The Broadway also had the first appearance of Steamboat Willie a/k/a Mickey Mouse.
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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#14
Posted: 11/23/07 at 11:01pm
mad, mad, mad, mad world is soo good!! and so is the Court Jester. Danny Kaye's best film.

Rat Race has nothing compared to MMMMW. I mean, it did have john cleese and Rowan Atkinson, but still nothing compared to the stars in MMMMW.
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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#15
Posted: 11/23/07 at 11:09pm
If you've ever seen the DVD of How the West Was Won, it's pretty awful on quality. The three panels of 35mm Cinerama film didn't age at the same rate, and you can see a distinct division in color and brightness between each "third" of the screen. It's very distracting if you try to watch it.

I wish I'd had the opportunity to see a 3-strip Cinerama movie in its (short) heyday, but I can see why it was abandoned, if only due to the technical issues.

A bit of trivia (which is touched upon in that Wikipedia entry)...

The first Best Picture Oscar-winner "Wings" had its extended aerial battle scenes shot in 3-strip wide screen. Yep, a silent film from 1927! Unfortunately, the left and right strips aren't known to exist anymore, which is a shame. I would love to see it on a DVD. The movie would start as a full-frame (1.33:1) movie, and then "expand" during the battles to an ultra wide screen silent film. Pretty cool! But unless a print can be found (and so far, no luck), we can only imagine what that experience must have been like.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#16
Posted: 11/23/07 at 11:10pm
I own it on DVD. A former roommate of I and I used to have frequent debates on whether Rat Race or IAMMMMW was a superior movie. He had not SEEN IAMMMMW, so I think that automatically invalidates any points he was trying to make. Rat Race is fine, but the original is FAR superior.

I just remember the bit where the old man kicked the bucket. Oh, God, I love that part.
I starred in a short film called Magnetic Personality. Check it out!
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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#17
Posted: 11/23/07 at 11:27pm
As far as I know, they are restoring How The West Was Won, for a future DVD release.
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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#18
Posted: 11/24/07 at 1:03am
this is debatably my favorite movie...

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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#19
Posted: 11/24/07 at 1:25am
A guilty pleasure. Many laughs and MANY great stars. Nice post because this movie should be remembered.
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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#20
Posted: 11/24/07 at 2:31am
LOVE this movie and coincidentally just bought the DVD a few weeks ago. My partner thinks it's stupid, but I have a great deal of affection for it. One of my favorite lines occurs when Milton Berle says, "These things happen," and Ethel M. responds with, "What kind of an attitude is that, 'These things happen'? They only happen because the world is full of people who, when these things happen, they just say, 'These things happen,' and THAT'S WHY THEY HAPPEN." I don't know why, but it cracks me up every time.
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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#21
Posted: 11/24/07 at 7:37am
The DVD is the cut version

The version shown on TV is 3 Hours & 3 minutes. It is still missing about 5 minutes which is mainly a scene between Buster Keaton & Tracy

When you see it on TV, put it on DVD.
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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#22
Posted: 11/24/07 at 8:41am
I still have it on laserdisc, wich is the more "complete" version. I have a few laserdiscs that are more complete than the DVD (Mad World, 1776, Hawaii).
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re: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World#23
Posted: 11/24/07 at 9:13am
it's just big and stupid and funny...like ethel