December 05, 2002
It's a Mad^4 World
Mark Evanier, probably the world's biggest fan of the classic comedy It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, recently attended a screening of the movie that commemorated its 39th anniversary. Several stars, stunt people, and the widow of the director were all there. Go read his report about the evening.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 05, 2002 to TV and movies
It sounds like a lovely and warm evening for the surviving stars and fans. Haunted only by the fact that, for millions of people, that movie is nearly unwatchable.
Great (though long-in-the-tooth) talent, but overblown production (Cinerama, no less), a mediocre script and hovering above it all, the unfunny figure of Stanley Kramer.
I feel like seeing it again, just to remind myself how awful it was.
To each his own. I'm quite fond of Mad^4 World. I can picture the scene with Phil Silvers and Don Knotts that Evanier talks about, and sure enough, it makes me smile.
I grant it's a long movie, and maybe some extra editing might help. But I think it's funny. De gustibus non disputandem est and all that.
I haven't seen it in about 35 years, so I may be remembering it harshly. But I remember it pretty well, too.
There were better, smaller comedies that year. "Irma La Douce" was a stitch, "The Great Escape" was pretty much the same thing but with Terry-Thomas's teeth. "Tom Jones" was a comedy of sorts. As was "8 1/2" -- wonderful! "Wives & Lovers" and "Toys in the Attic" were pretty good, but modest compared to Kramer pie de resistance.
I liked when Jimmy Durante kicked the bucket.
Also, I have always disliked Kramer. "Bless the Beasts and Children" is on my worst 5 all-time list, and it irritates me that "Judgment at Nuremberg" with all its potential, is such a clinker.